I've recovered from my WC hangover. The USA game was so exciting and emotionally draining that it clouded my enjoyment of the latest games. Also, the server crashed and I lost my entire post, so that was why there was no update yesterday.
We are officially halfway there (to Berlin) as 32 matches have now been played in the WC. So, it is time to reminiscence and glimpse into the future. To deal with your short attention spans I've compiled everything into tidy little Top 3 packages. Pretend a glib Sportscenter Anchor is reading the comments and enjoy.
- Argentina — busting through this tournament like Chuck Norris through a Vietnamese disco
- Espana — looking strong, confident and dangerous. Midfield duo of Xavi and Xabi continue to impress.
- Brazil–not exactly playing beautiful game, but hampered by only playing with 10 men. It is a sad sight watching Ronaldo drag himself around the field.
- Saudi Arabia — Blamed wet conditions for 4-0 loss to Ukraine. On the other had, each player received 100,00 riyals for draw against Tunisia.
- S&M– Played well against Dutch. Then got spanked, whipped and generally manhandled in 6-0 drubbing against Argentina.
- France— Wake up. Sacre bleu. In 180 minutes of soccer this team has played with passion for about 10.
- Argentina's 2nd vs S&M. 24 passes before scoring. Probably can't be duplicated on Playstation 2.
- Spain's 4th vs Ukraine. Sublime skills from Puyol sets-up sweet finish from Torres.
- Germany's 4th vs Costa Rica. In a tournament full of great long shots, I still think Fring's goal is the best.
View all these goals here. I particularly enjoy the Spanish announcers on the Spain goal and the clairvoyant announcer on the Argentina goal. http://www.youtube.com/my_favorites
- Riquelme– Argentinian midfield maestro's passing and game management is superb. Let the Maradona comparisons start or actually re-start.
- Robben– Dutch winger has been Man of the Match in both of Clockwork Oranje's wins. Only detriment to his game is his annoying tendency to dive but is good bet to score from a stretcher in next game.
- Essien — Everything Ghana does is controlled by this midfielder. Organizes defense, sparks the offense, never stops running or competing. Hoping for an off-day from him vs USA.
- Ghana-Czech Republic. Thrilling action as each team created heaps of chances. Should have finished 7-5.
- Italy-USA. Indoor soccer anyone? USA plays 9 against 10 and manages to draw 1-1 against Italy in a fierce, emotional game.
- Argentina–Ivory Coast Best team of the tournament in Argentina taken to the limit by hard-luck Ivory Coast. IC has played some great football but 2-1 losses to Argentina and Netherlands knocks them out of WC.
Thanks for coming out: Paraguay, Ivory Coast, Poland, S&M, Ivory Coast, Iran, Togo and Saudi Arabia have been eliminated already.
Today starts the 4 games a day blitz as teams jockey for position in the last 16 (knockout stages). Depending on how results go, there is some mouthwatering match-ups out there. England-Germany, Spain-France, Portugal-Netherlands and Italy-Brazil (hopefully not) are all real possibilities. In other words, starting Saturday the WC steps up in passion, intensity and suspense as OT and/or penalty kicks can occur in any game.
Feel free to rant, rave, insult or compliment via the comments page. Enjoy the games.