Germany vs Costa Rica
Got up early to watch Germany trounce Costa Rica. This years Host Nation trounced Costa Rica 4-2, coming out slow but finishing with a flair befitting of one of the most orginized and aggressive teams. The amazing part is that they did it withoug any yellow card penalties. If this was any indication of the rest of the games, then we're in for an excellent World Cup.
Poland vs Ecuador
Poor Poland. As hard as they tried they stank it up against Ecuador. This match vindicates the validity of American Futbol. As hard as the Polish team struggled they could not hold off Ecuadors coordinated offense and flawless defense. My notes of the game are fuzzy but I think it's because I spilled beer on them.
England vs Paraguay
The highlight of this match, of course, was the fans. England has a long and loud tradition of enjoying soccer and their fans are as much a part of it as is the state of David Beckhams hair. Although, their only goal was an accidental one tossed in my a Paraguayan player, no one seemed to care as the crowd chanted and danced around in the streets afterward.
Trinidad & Tobago vs Sweden
The highlight of day one. Although Trin=Bago could hardly have hoped for a strong showing against higher ranked Sweden, their excellent defense kept Sweden back for a 0-0 final. The fans, however, celebrated as though it was a win, because, at this round, a tie is better than a loss.
Argentina vs Ivory Coast
As much as I wanted the Ivory Coast to win this one, it was a far fetched and outlandish dream from the start. I was moved by that commercial that told how their 3 year civil war was called off, that the rebels and the president called a cease fire, and the whole war torn nation was cheering their team because they'd qualified for the World Cup. Unfortunately, they were paired against one of the strongest teams in the world. Still, there were no tears. All that really mattered was that they'd made it to the World Cup...and they scored against Argentina.
Serbia & Montenegro vs Netherlands
This was one of those no-brainers. Netherlands are a better team, with excellent tactics and even better coaches. Serbia Montenegro tried their hardest but could never manage a score on the Netherlands.
Mexico vs Iran
My most awaited game. With the death of Mexican goalie Oswaldo Sanchez's father, and the strong leadership of Iran’s Ali Daei t his was a passionate game from start to finish. Iran showed dignity and grace with the presentation of condolences and flowers to Sanchez before the game, and in defeat showed dignity and class. For Mexico the celebration was well deserved. I don't know if they come much more intense than this game. With Mexico’s final scores as regulation time ran out, all one had to know was that Esto arroz ya se cucio....This rice is cooked.
Angola vs Portugal
This was another one of those clashes which dragged on from side to side as each teams unique characteristics seemed to counteract the others. In the end, the Angolan teams eagerness to score left themselves wide open for a Portugese strike that won the game.
Italy vs Ghana
I have heard it said that Italy is the best team in the world. I'm not sure about that but I am certain that they are one of the best teams in Europe. With this game, however, they showed that they are probably the best team outside of the Americans. While Ghana was just happy to be there, they held Italy to 2 points, and walked away with the right to say they played them in the World Cup.
United States vs Czech Republic
As much as I feel I should be loyal to my countries team this was a truly painful match to watch. The Czech Republic scored on us 3 times without an answer. Even the Coach was embarrassed by the teams performance out there. The team looked like a bunch of dogs trying to open a doorknob with their teeth. The fans looked depressed but with any hope there will be a loophole in the rest of the matches and and leave the team a way into Round 2. One cannot blame the fans, though, because Sam's Army (as they're called) made a tremendous showing, no matter that the rest of the Nation doesn't pay any attention to the game.
Brazil vs Croatia
For being the defending World Cup Champions, Brazil looked like they never got it out of first gear. Croatia held them down to only 1 point but that was all it took for the party to start up in Rio.
Australia vs Japan
This was another one of those early morning games that I had a hard time paying much attention to. I never really pay much attention to those until the first goal is scored. In this case, Japan pulled off an early one and the rest of the game looked grim for the Socceroos. Then, when the Koala fat was in the fire, they crushed Japan by pulling off 3 beautiful shots to finish the game.
France vs Switzerland
Here was one of those games that was like watching paint dry. With France a strong team and Switzerland evenly matched the game flowed back and forth like soft, metled cheese. In the next round of games both of these teams are the ones to keep an eye on because they're going to want to prove themselves.
South Korea vs Togo
This match moved at a swift and wickid pace, with both teams looking to put on a show. In the end South Korea had better timing and coordination, leaving the tiny African nation to figure out how to tighten their game. Again, one of the African examples of keen soccer skill, but not enough to match the expirience of South Korea. Expect them to come out strong in their next game with better ball handling, with luck, more a more aggressive game.
Spain vs Ukraine
Spain has always had a good showing with Soccer. They are a leaner team this time, with good defense and even better offense. There was little chance that Ukraine could deliver against such a sharp team. While the Ukraine showed excellent defense of their own, they seemed to always be on the brink of collapse. In the end, Spain game out on top 4-0 and looks to be a strong contender for the Second Round.
Tunisia vs Saudi Arabia
Here was an excellent game today. 1-0 tunisia for most of the way then Saudia made 2 putting their north african brothers down and everything looked good until the last minute of stoppage time when tunisia scored another Praise Allah goal to tie it up without much time for the Saudi team to do much more than kiss it massalaama.
So, the front runners now seem to be Spain, The Czech Republic, and Italy. Angola, Mexico, Brazil are also some teams to keep an eye on, but don't rule anyone out yet because there's more action yet to come this week. With Poland’s loss to Germany today in the first of the second round robin games, the United States only has to score on Italy to stay in it. That would but them in an excellent position to score on Ghana and make it into the next round.
I've been keeping strange hours while watching these games and, since they go on until July 9th, there's no telling how weird this is going to get. Well, at least there's always beer.
Until next time, my Freaky Darlings, I'll keep watching. It's only once every 4 years, anyway, and it's well worth it.