Friday, June 23, 2006

Day 15 Wrap Up--End of the First Round

Togo 0, France 2. So France found its form, kind of, against Togo. That doesn't mean much. The fact that Trezeguet couldn't finish a sandwich, as my compatriot miwacar put it, means little I suppose for now. But France needs to show it can play with real teams, and I'm not sure it can do that. We will see. I still have them pegged, along with Mexico, as the early #1 seed exits.

Switzerland 2, South Korea 0 Hey, one of my very early predictions came true. I said Switzerland would finish ahead of France, and they did. They've been even more workmanlike and opportunistic than I was expecting. South Korea is clearly part of the new soccer--Asia and Africa are beginning to show signs of seriously competing with Europe and South America. South Korea, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Japan are all part of the coming movement in soccer. I'll deal with predictions when it is time, but as an aside, Switzerland plays the exact kind of soccer that could frustrate and stymie a much more talented side.

Ukraine 1, Tunisia 0. Ukraine may have the least impressive entrance into the round of 16. They got spanked by Spain, spanked Iran, and used a dive in the box to get by Tunisia. Not impressive, and this team is supposed to be fucking good, or at least talented with a guy named Shevchenko. Tunisia had many chances to tie this game, but not too many to win it, which is was they needed. Still, Tunisian soccer is on the rise. And that's a sentence I would have never imagined typing.

Spain 1, Saudi Arabia 0. Spain didn't really need to do anything in this game, and it showed. Lovely set piece goal, and then they took their siesta on the pitch. It was by design, and it worked fine for them, and they will be well-rested and full strength when they suddenly crap out for no good reason. I kid, I kid. This edition of Spain can't possibly fail! (I've now doomed them to failure).

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