Thoughts on Day 5 will follow, but first my pick to win the World Cup is Spain. Why Spain?
- Heaps of world-class players including their keeper Casillas, defensive stalwart Puyol, playmaking wizzes Alonso, Xavi, and Fabregas, dangerous wing-players in Garcia and Reyes and finishers in Torres and (hopefully) Raul.
- This is not your perennial underachieving soft Spanish side. This generation of players is much harder, willing to play physically and even dirty.
- Expectations are lower than normal so this team not under as intense public pressure
- They should get out of their group of Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia with no problem and gain some confidence
- I want to root for them and that is what sports is all about. As I typed that Alonso just scored on a header from a corner Spain 1 Ukraine 0.
Why not Spain? (who just scored again on a deflected free kick 2-0!)
- Racism; their coach has been fined by Fifa for some dubious statements and Spanish fans have made monkey gestures and thrown bananas at black players in several high-profile incidents the past few years. Kinda makes you hope Spain gets knocked out by an African team.
- Perennial underachievers in major tournaments who love to snatch defeat from victory. Often play with 2 left feet in big games.
Here are some thoughts on Day 5.
Feel the passion: The collective gasp of S. Korean fans whenever their team threatens to score. Sounds exactly like the buzz around Wrigley Field when Cubs hitter flies out to deep center.
Feel the passion II: Croatian fans lighting off flares (how did they get those in?!?) and making deafening noise to support their team during last 15 minutes of game.
Feel the passion III: Samba party in the street at halftime in Brussels of Brazil game.
Poor, poor Togo: After the most shambolic build-up to any major tournament in recent memory, Togoans forced to listen to S. Korean anthem twice before theirs.
Allez le bleu?!?: France endures 3rd straight draw with mighty Swiss (teams drew twice in qualifying). Le Bleu extend WC scoreless streak to 4 games; or since 1998; or haven't scored a WC goal on non-French soil since 1986. Somehow they are still a WC favorite.
Kaka, caka: Kaka gives Brazil win with wonderful goal. Credit to Croatia who made Brazil look very ordinary. Kaka is also my pick to be Most Outstanding Player. Rumor has it Real Madrid is preparing record transfer fee (60 million Euros?) to pry him away from AC Milan.
I'm probably not going to do many recaps throughout the tournament, but this is the best site I've seen for quick (1 sentenceish) recaps.
Enjoy the games today. Germany-Poland could be a goalfest or set the record for most cards issued in history.