Tuesday, June 27, 2006

World Cup Germany Update 5

Ok so we came to the pre-quaterfinal stage with not too many surprises except for the emergence of Ghana as a force to reckon with and the disspointing performance of the Czech Republic. A personal low for me was the pathetic play of Japan and sadness for Croatia who did not lose a match but still could not make it through to the final 16. Anyways, the round of 16 started with Germany comfortably beating the Swedes 2-0, where Henrik Larsson missed out a couple of chances to have the Swedes level. In a more closely contested match, Argentina beat out Latin-American hopefuls Mexico 2-1. The Mexican team have always entertained with their brand of exciting & attacking football and I was sad to see them go home.

The surprising Australians were up next with European giants Italy. The Italians were nursing a bruised ego having had to settle for a draw against the USA. They just about managed to squeak through against the Aussies, with a last minute penalty scored by Totti. The Aussies can go home with their heads held high after a good show in their first world cup in 30 years. One-man team Ukraine beat the Swiss team, who were surprising in reaching thr round of 16, 3-0 and really no one was expecting the Swiss to do much in that game.

Ah, next comes the English team. They were able to beat lowly thought Ecuador by just one goal - but what a goal it was. Captain David Beckham scored a beauty throught a free kick. Next, later that night, a hotly contested match betwen Portugal and Holland saw 4 red cards and a host of yellow. Each team wanted to kill the other it seemed and what was at stake there that night seemed to be forgotten. Oh and Portugal won 1-0.

African debutants Ghana faced a mighty Brazil and were beaten 3-0. The Brazilians seemed to hit their stride in this game. Ghana were reduced to 10 men in the second half but they still tried to attack. And attack they did, only to fizzle out on the final shots at goal. The last match saw 1998 champions France finally seem to hit their form and re-discover what it meant to score goals. Facing a very inspired Spain, who until then were seen as the team with the strongest form so far, the French scored 3 goals to 1 to progress to the quaterfinals and put to rest the ghost that haunted them for 4 years. That ghost was ofcourse, the pathetic display in the 2002 World Cup, not scoring a single goal and losing in the first round itself.

Song for the day - "Nothing But A Good Time" - POISON