Saturday – June 12th, 2010
South Korea vs. Greece review
There are three things that can get me up at 7 AM on the weekends: french fries, Disney and the World Cup. And this match may not have had the star appeal as the other two, but it was no less entertaining. Greece started out the game by having a magnificent chance with Torosidis, off the corner kick, in the 3rd minute. But it was South Korea, in a similar play, four minutes later who scored with a beautiful first touch by Jungsoo. After that, South Korea was superior, breaking down Greece’s defense with speed, first touches and quick passes. Greece, meanwhile, seemed slow and lacked creativity. Towards the end of the half, Korea slowed down a bit and Greece got a better handle of the match, creating chances off crosses. At this point I was still not convinced with South Korea’s defense and one play could’ve tied it up. At the start of the second half, the Greek still came back a bit lethargic, and it cost them; A defensive turnover at the 52nd minute was stolen by Korea’s Jisung, he then passed two defenders and scored. After a couple of substitutions, Greece created more scoring chances, but the score didn’t change. I predicted South Korea to finish second, yet predicted a tie here, for some reason. I don’t know why I do the things I do. Score: 2-0
Argentina vs. Nigeria review
The game started as I had hoped: fast and fun. Argentina started putting pressure and on the 6th minute scored a goal; a superb header by Heinze off a corner kick. After a while, the game settled down a bit, with good chances by both sides, though mostly by Argentina. Nigeria’s goalkeeper Enyeama had to make some great saves to keep the score 1-0; and on Argentina’s side, Messi was spectacular with brilliant touches and shots. The second half started much the same way it ended, Nigeria stuck to a 4-4-2 formation, which limited Argentina’s spaces but also limited Nigeria’s chances to go after the tying goal. Near the end, Nigeria did try to put some pressure, and it did open the game up a bit more, however most shots were low quality. Enyeama made some more saves. Messi took more shots. In the end though, the score stayed the same. Score: 1-0.
England vs USA review
I don’t want to talk about this match, I’m too anxious. My bowels have been loose ever since I woke up. But alas, I shall. If you’re reading this and you didn’t watch the game, I pity your existance. And with the game barely started (4th minute), the American defense was caught sleeping, and off England’s Heskey’s touch, Garrard slipped through the defense, received the ball and scored to the left of Howard. It was a shock to me and to the US team, and they seemed dazed a bit for a few minutes, providing more chances for the English. Slowly though, they started controlling the ball better, having longer possessions and even striking at goal, though not with too much danger. And back and forth it went for the better part of the half. At the 40th minute mark, in a semi-counter attack, Clint Dempsey received the ball in front of the area, turned right, turned left and let a weak shot straight to Green, the English keeper and that basically was the half….wait. What? What happened? Did? What the ****?! Did that ball? Did it go in? Really? How? Did Green just…? Can you say “choked”? And so, at the end of the half, it was tied. At the start of the second half it seemed it was England that was the dazed one and USA had good possessions including Altidore’s shot hitting the post after the keeper deflected it at the 65th minute. After a while though, England started comitting more offense and had some good and dangerous chances, especially with Rooney, USA’s defense was much more focused however and held it to a tie. Props to Tim Howard who had some outstanding saves and a great overall result for American soccer. Score: 1-1.
Sunday – June 13th, 2010 – Preview
Algeria vs. Slovenia (7:30 AM EST.)
I know these aren’t soccer powerhouses. I know there are no familiar names. I know the time doesn’t help either. But don’t think this will be a boring match, quite the contrary. First, this game has major implications for USA, especially if the Americans lost their game against England. Second, this is the first round, everyone starts fresh, everyone will give it their all. The are no boring games in the first round. Prediction: Slovenia win.
Serbia vs Ghana (10 AM EST)
This is a huge game for Group D. With Germany expected to take the top spot, the winner of this match goes along way into securing second place. I believe at first I went with Ghana, but I don’t know, I’m wavering, Serbia is a talented team. Prediction: Serbia win.
Germany vs Australia (2:30 PM EST)
Germany should have this group, even without Ballack, though it won’t be easy. Serbia will give them trouble, even Ghana, but don’t overlook Australia. They gave a lot of teams headaches in 2006 with their physical style and tactics and that should continue. I think Germany will win this match, but Australia will not go down easily. Prediction: Germany win.