Tuesday, June 20, 2006

World Cup Day 13: Previews and a little Analysis

Some great teams playing in what could be very important games today. I'm a tingle. How about you? Tingly is could, unless it is just in your left arm. Then you may be having a heart attack.

Game 37: Portugal vs. Mexico So far, we've seen these two teams struggle a bit more than they should against the bottom of the group. Portugal only beat Angola by one goal, and Mexico (he he!) only tied them. Which leaves in an interesting spot. I don't know if there's any team to avoid in the next match up (Argentina? Netherlands? Both awfully tough) so I don't know how important it will be very any team to come in first in this group. But Mexico has to play to stay in second. And I totally expect Portugal to come loaded--they need to show some dominance against a decent team. Again, an early goal will change everything. Mexico just needs a tie to stay in 2nd, so at some point, they will shut down their offense, unless they are losing. My heart says that Portugal must pound Mexico into the motherfucking ground. My head says "I'm with the heart. Fuck them!"

Prediction: Portugal 3, Mexico 0.

Game 38: Iran vs. Angola. If mother of miracles, Portugal does beat Mexico 3-nil, then Angola would need to simply beat Iran to advance. That's it. 1-0 would do the trick. They would become the single unlikiest team into the round of 16, and I would have to find some interesting facts about Angola, which I would relish doing. Again, head and heart are in complete agreement

Prediction: Iran 0, Angola 1

Game 39: Netherlands vs. Argentina At the beginning of the tournament, this was the game everybody has circled. Justifiably so. Of course, both teams have done so well to this point, that they will both advance no matter what the outcome here. Which might lessen the drama somewhat. But these teams are still pissed about the last world cup, and will want to be hitting on all cylinders. They also don't like each other much, and will probably take a few knocks (careful guys with one yellow card!) at each other. I still think it will be a class game. There are times when both of these teams look effortless in their control of the game. But I think Argentina is playing a better overall team game right now, and will bring the pressure. Look for Robben to break out a couple of times at least though. Van der Saar will have a couple of big saves. Deservedly, the game will be close. In fact:

Prediction: Netherlands 2, Argentina 2 (my head says Argentina will win, my heart Netherlands. and my testicles refuse to cast a tie-breaker. If they do tie, Argentina is the #1 team out of the group based on goal differential).

Game 40: Ivory Coast vs. Serbia Ivory Coast will be without star striker Didier Drogba, but they have shown themselves quite capable of danger without him. Serbia hasn't proven to be dangerous to anybody in this tournament--yet to score a goal, they will certainly try to notch one goal, even if it means giving up a couple. I'm not sure they will succeed. Shame Ivory Coast isn't playing for a chance to advance--they were great fun to watch.

Prediction: Ivory Coast 2, Serbia 1

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