Saturday, July 10, 2010

World Cup Semifinal Recap

One thing we've seen in this tournament, especially in the later rounds, is a huuuuge amount of goals being scored from long distance, outside the penalty box, 3 pointers if you will. I don't know if it's the Jabulani or the high level of skill you see at these late rounds of the tournament, but it's really been cool to watch and provides an anything can happen at any moment feel to these matches. In this one, you first had Giovanni Van Bronckhorst hitting paydirt from long distance to put the Dutch up 1-0, then Diego Forlan, who had as good a tournament as anybody, answered with a similar goal in the 41st minute.

The Dutch were able to break open this hotly contested match once it hit the seventy minute mark. First Wesley Sneijder snaked a shot thru a veritable obstacle course of Uruguayan defenders, his teammate Robin Van Persie, and Uruguay's keeper, somehow finding the net and making it 2-1 Holland. Minutes later Dirk Kuyt (who Dook!e and I argued for some time over whether he looks more like Tommy from Trainspotting or Sick Boy from Trainspotting, I say Tommy, who of course died of toxoplasmosis, that shit is everywhere, you probably have it and don't even know it), crossed one to Arjen Robben to make it 3-1 and ice it for the Oranje.

Uruguay got a late goal but it was too little too late. The Netherlands has a chance to win its first World Cup, and Uruguay will not win its 3rd sixty years after it won its second and eighty years after its first.

What was I saying earlier this week about this German team maybe being the Best Team Ever? Sheesh. That looks pretty dumb now. But then again they didn't look anything like the team that completely tore apart England and then Argentina in this tournament, I mean nothing like that. They beat those teams 8-1 combined and those are very good teams. So, then, that must really say something about the Spanish. The 2008 Euro Champs are doing the same thing they did in that tournament, which is to play keepaway most of the game, dominate the scoring chances, and advance thru with 1-0 wins that are not really that close.

This match followed that exact script, with Barca defender Carles Puyol heading in a corner in the 73rd minute for the biggest goal in the history of Spanish football. Spain advances to the Final for the first time in its history, its long and disappointing legacy of being chokers (which seemed to be in good standing when it dropped its opening match 1-0 to Switzerland), is now behind it.

Germany v. Uruguay-
Third Place? I don't know about the rest of the World, but in America, we don't care who finishes second, much less who finishes third. I guess the result of this match all depends on how much it means to Germany, if they feel like playing hard, they should easily handle Uruguay, but that's not a guarantee. I think though, that they will want to put up a good showing, because their archrival Holland is in the Championship game and that might motivate them. I say 3-1 Germany.

Spain v. Netherlands-
I surrender. Spain is just too damn good. They'll win this one the same way they win most of their matches, 1-0 and holding the ball 60% of the match, and not giving up hardly any real scoring chances.