Sunday, June 20, 2010

And on the 10th Day

We have the first victims of the World Cup. Cameroon have a game to play but for nothing except pride. They played well, created through the middle, kept the ball well and used width. Well balanced going forward. However, they only got to grips with Denmarks diagonal balls a bit too late and then the defensive cover let Denmark in with the simplest of goals. Guess they will rue their game with Japan the most.

Slovakia weren't great against New Zealand earlier in the week. Weiss was about the only bright player they had and they will face similar determination against Paraguay. However, the South Americans will be more clinical and precise in their movement, control and passing than New Zealand were. Slovakia need to up the ante and Paraguay need the points too. I'm expecting cagey over flamboyance.

Paraguay are a defensive team but it looks as though the Slovaks will add another defensive midfielder to their equation and try and hit on the break today. They seem to know how to play one way. Novy Cas is described as gutter press in Slovakia - so its a bit like The Sun in the UK then. Anyway, their insight says the Slovakia will line up 4 4 2....

Much of this tournament has been beset by nervousness on the players and that usually derives from excess discipline. Too much accountability. England suffered from it. One commenter on a popular website said that they played like they were at the office. Yes, an English office. When you don't have the freedom to enjoy your work you become pent up and there was an anguish in the way many of the players at this tournament have played.

Saying that other nations have played with a freedom and enjoyment of the game that has been clear for all to see. Chile are the prime example.

Paraguayan La Nacion calls for goals and a celebration today - especially because it is Father's Day...apparently. The newspaper expects Roque Santa Cruz to come in as part of a front three - similar to Uruguay and that there will be more attacking intent. Paraguay might well be the favourites but it has to translate onto the pitch, says La Nacion...

Nations really do expect. You forget once you're bedded into any one culture that a country in a place you might not know anything about has as much expectation as you. Especially, in a globalised world, I don't think people get to respect other people's feelings. Fascinating that football actually bridges divides that many people don't want to cross. Wow, that was deep.

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