Saturday, June 24, 2006

Review of Round of 16, Day 1

Germany 2, Sweden 0

I don't want to toot my own horn, as I believe it may be illegal in my state, but I did get the Germany Sweden tilt exactly right, aside from Klose scoring. He seemed happy to draw in four defenders and then pick up an assist instead. It is very tempting to say that Germany is far better than anyone predicted them to be, and that might be the case. I'd also say they haven't been truly tested much yet, either. In terms of teams who have looked against other teams, Ecuador has been their greatest challenge. Sweden was one of the weaker sides to get out of Group Play, and Zlatan was still clearly hampered by his pulled groin (which is not as fun as it sounds. Trust me). So Germany is looking good against sketchy competition. But I have to say, I'm impressed with the way Klinsmann has this team playing. I may need to rethink my opposition to him being a potential US coach. Though I'd say it's a bit easier to win with 2 strikers in their prime compared to too old McBride and too young Eddie Johnson.

Argentina 2, Mexico 1 (overtime)

This game was much closer than I had thought it would be. Surely any team that the US dominated in the past 4 years can't be much of a match for Argentina? Of course, this game could have easily been 3-1 Argentina, in regulation if that linesman got the memo that even with the defender is no longer offsides. Argentina was robbed of at least 1 goal, and maybe 2 with bad offsides calls. But I'm glad it didn't end in regulation. We would have been robbed of one of the goals of the tournament. Argentina's second goal was a masterpiece of control and power from Maxi Rodriguez. Taking a cross off his chest from the top of the 18, and then ripping it with his left foot out of the air into the opposite upper far post, it was a thing of beauty. Hopefully soccer neophytes saw that goal, and went, "Ah, now I get why dorks like that Big Blue Monkey love this game so much." Also, it should be noted that Argentina seems to be getting away from the "Art of the Flop". While Mexico was falling all over the place, at the slightest touch, Argentina didn't do that too much. And Lionel Messi should have defenders shitting their underwear all around world. 19 years old yesterday, and poised and speedy on the ball. He's something to behold.

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