Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cup Day Three: results, Germany's youth and the reffing so far

Asamoah Gyan scores the pivotal penalty against Serbia

Day Three Results

Slovenia 1-0 Algeria
me: Slovenia 2-0 Algeria. Right result, half-wrong score. I have no idea how this game went and I don't know any of the players on either team*, just had a hunch. Puts Slovenia in good stead and puts some pressure on the US to beat them.

Serbia 0-1 Ghana
me: Serbia 1-0 Ghana. Wrong result, wrong score. This is the first game I've got totally wrong. Ghana showed more organization at the back and invention going forward than I thought. Serbia had a great chance to make it 1-0, and then Ghana were correctly awarded a penalty that they buried. This throws my group predictions for a loop, as I had Serbia going through. Now they have to get a win against Australia and a result against Germany and hope things go their way.

Germany 4-0 Australia
me: Germany 2-1 Australia. Right result, wrong score. Our first blow-out of WC2010. Germany dominated start to finish all over the pitch. They passed the ball well, used space intelligently, took their chances, and look to be a force this tournament. Nice to see Podolski and Klose score; both players have struggled this year for their clubs. Other than one or two players, Australia just don't have the quality. With Cahill getting the red card (horrible call, by the way), Australia's chances of progressing have taken a nose dive.

Also, what's scary about Germany is that they've got such young talent. Muller (who I had no time for in the Champions League final but who just scored a nice goal) is only 20, and kept Klose and Luca Toni out of the Bayern squad. Ozil (see below) is 21, their starting keeper Neuer is 24, captain Philip Lahm is, amazingly, only 26, Mertesacker in defence is 25, Gomez is 24, Khedira 23, Schweinsteiger is 25. If they do well here one can only imagine how long this core group can play together.

Young player of the tournament

Early days, but Mezut Ozil of Germany looks the business. He could have scored twice in the first half, and looks like a creative force. The bigger European clubs will be knocking on Werder Bremen's door this summer if they aren't already.

Reffing so far

So the straight red against Everton's Tim Cahill gave us the first reffing controversy of the tournament. It was a foul, maybe a yellow, but certainly not a red. Australia have every right to feel aggrieved; after the dubious penalty given against them in 2006 to give the Italians a late, late victory, they might start to feel like someone is working against them.

Other than that, I think the reffing has been very good. The other red cards have been for two yellows, and both that I saw looked deserved.

Blown coverage

And if you were wondering why there aren't ads during the games, see this shit coverage by Britain's ITV: missed Gerrard goal.

* After checking the squad lists, I do know a couple of Algerian players: Belhadj had a good year for Portsmouth; Bougherra plays for the Rangers in Scotland but I think I've only heard of him through playing Football Manager.

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