Monday – June 14th, 2010
Netherlands vs. Denmark review
Denmark is not a bad team, they’re pretty good, however whatever they can do, the Dutch can do better. But they were just good enough to disrupt the Dutch’s offensive schemes (They are missing Robben on the attack) and vice-versa. So for most of the first half, you had a sort of stalemate situation where neither side could get something dangerous going. Still, the Netherlands were in control of the match with 60% ball possession, it was Denmark though who had the best chances to score: Bendter’s header just wide at the 28th minute and Rommedhal’s shot at the 36th. With the second half just underway, Denmark commited an unfortunate mistake: Off a Netherlands cross, Denmark’s Poulsen headed the ball into another defender’s back and the ball went the wrong way into the net. With the own goal scored, Denmark seemed deflated after having a good first half, they had to open up though to go after the tie and that opened the game up a bit. The Dutch started to go after their second goal with Van Der Vaart’s beautiful first touch lob at the 60th minute and a Bommel shot into the side netting at the 75th. It wasn’t until the 85th minute that they were able to put an end to this game; Elia hit the post, Kuyt got the rebound and scored…and that’s when the Danish Kuyt (Get it?…Sigh). Score: 2-0.
Japan vs. Cameroon review
An interesting match for me personally, since I love it when the World Cup provides a match with two completely different nations, in culture and in style. The match started lukewarm, with neither side really threatening and playing a cautious game. You could see though that Cameroon was bigger and they, in the good words of Emmit Smith, “out-physicaled” Japan, however the Japanese defense was disciplined enough that it never amounted to anything. From the 20th minute on, Japan started handling the ball more with better touches and were getting close to Cameroon’s area, though not with any danger. Eventually, if you keep at it, you’ll get a shot, and Japan did at the 39th minute. Off a cross by Matsui, which somehow found Honda on the back post all alone; he dominated and kicked to the left corner to give Japan the lead. I must say it was a very weak first half for Cameroon where they did absolutely nothing. Cameroon returned awake though for the second half and attempted to pressure Japan’s defense still without much quality; Japan on the other hand did very little, with just 5 total shots on goal for the game. As time went by, Cameroon started to attack more while Japan put more men on defense, but still; low quality shots/ chances by Cameroon and a bunch of misjudged passes. It was not until the 86th minute, that Cameroon had a great chance with Mbia hitting the crossbar, but Japan held their lead and won the game. Horrible game for Cameroon and I may have overrated them. Score: 1-0.
Italy vs. Paraguay review
It was a cold and rainy night and I was afraid that it would hold down the game into a crawl, considering Italy is not a fast team, but thankfully it was still a good game. It was a careful start to the game, with more fouls than scoring chances, and the only highlight was the wave. By the 20th minute on,we started seeing Italy dominating a bit more, but Paraguay was defending itself well. At the 28th minute, Italy had a good chance of opening the scoreboard off Marchisio’s cross, but to no avail. But out of nowhere, at the 39th minute, on a free kick, Paraguay’s Alcaraz outjumped Cannavaro with a good header that Buffon couldn’t stop and at the end of the half, the rain continued to fall and Italy was trailing. As expected, Italy came more offensive in the second half and excluding a near miss by Paraguay’s Vera at the 52nd minute, the rest were the Italians creating scoring chances. On the 63rd minute, their persistance paid off, with De Rossi conecting on Pepe’s corner kick. Still, after tying the game, it was Italy who was closer to getting their second, with heavy involvement of Pepe and Di Natale almost scoring at the 89th minute, but it wasn’t meant to be. Score 1-1.
Tuesday – June 15th, 2010 Preview
New Zealand vs. Slovakia (7:30 AM EST.)
Slovakia is a pretty good team. New Zealand is a pretty bad team. Prediction: Slovakia win.
Ivory Coast vs Portugal (10 AM EST.)
Much better match! This should be a good one to watch. Even though Ivory Coast will be without Drogba, they still are no pushover and have talent in all sectors, so don’t count them out! However, I think Portugal will show up for this one, and hopefully it’ll be an entertaining, goal-filled match. Prediction: Portugal win.
Brazil vs. North Korea (2:30 PM EST.)
If you want to watch a massacre, tune in. If you’ve been yearning for a blowout, this is it. The only question here is over/under on 4 goals? Prediction: Brazil win.