Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tie Me Socceroo Down Sport

So Ghana are the first African team to win a game in this World Cup. Turned my prediction defunct but quite happily so. Only a goal in it and they were more deserved of it over the 90 minutes. Lacked penetration down the middle and thats the Essien - Muntari factor I suppose. But they had more of a hunger to break down a solid Serbia.

Jovanovic was bright but Kevin Prince Boateng was the brightest on show this afternoon.

Most of my predictions have been pretty tight scores and only one game has seen a team score more than once. South Korea's win just about produced a clear winner despite their overall dominance over Greece.

Much of the comment has been about the ball affecting the scoreline.

I'm not so sure. There aren't any really bad teams in this tournament. There are weaker teams but no bad teams. Even Algeria were organised. And that is the biggest factor. Most of the teams in this World Cup have players in big leagues in Europe or South America and that level of organisation stifles a rip roaring, end to end game.

England and the US was the most flowing game out of the 7 played so far and that is a testament to the athleticism and skill of those two teams. England played the football that you see in the Premier League and they haven't done that before. That's why I think yesterday's result wasn't bad. If they play like that and make the right changes (No Green, no Milner and play Cole) I think they will go very far.

But tonight's showpiece is about a Ballack-less German side taking on one of the most under-rated teams in this tournament. While Kevin Prince Boateng makes the most of his father's country of origin, his mother's native country will be without the man he turned into a limping piece of meat. Germany won't forgive him but without Ballack, Germany are still one of the second favourites for the World Cup.

Franz Beckenbauer said before the tournament kicked off that Germany is a team not of individuals and despite being a loss, Ballack's absence will others more motivation.

I think that is correct. Germany may not be the force of the 80's and the 90's but they have consistently performed at major tournaments. Second place at Euro 2008, semis in Germany 2006, finalists in 2002. That's not bad for a team without major stars.

Saying that Schweinsteiger, Mueller, Lahm and the other Boateng brother are all part of this team with Podolski and Klose giving the Germans a familiar presence in terms of solidity.

But Australia have quietly gone about their business. Preparations weren't ideal and they've been in South Africa the longest. They lost to the US but on their day they will be difficult to beat. They suffer from the same sporting addiction as the Americans and they go whole-heartedly. This is the real group of death for me. Serbia narrowly lost and Australia won't roll-over. Ghana top the group at this point and a draw will not be ideal for either Germany or Australia but thats how I think this one will pan out.

There are no superstars in this Socceroo team either. Kewell is lacking match practice (surprise surprise) but Cahill will have an impression on this game. The polynesian, Samoan part of his DNA puts him up there in regards to fight and he consistently scores with his head. I think he will nick one tonight but the Germans will score too.

We will also get to see the brand new Durban Stadium tonight. I used to live there and this looks a far sight better than the ABSA stadium where England have played (remember Beckham in corn-rows anyone?)

In fact it is one of the real epic stadiums with Soccer City and Green Point in Cape Town being the other two in this World Cup.

Should be good. Australia 1 - 1 Germany. Cahill and Klose will score. I'll probably be wrong. 2 out of 7 isn't great is it.

Just a point on television rights. The World Cup by law in Europe is on free-to-air. This is the people's game. There is enough capitalism in this tournament to keep the suits happy so why is this not the case in the Middle East? Why do they need to make more money out of a game driven by the populus? Additionally, the signal is poor and its more accessible at cinemas. That used to happen in England in the 60's. Capitalism; you live by the sword you die by the sword.

Finally, my comments in my first post about Brian Glanville - scratch them. He is the bitter old man of football. He has beef about the tournament including 32 teams. He was happy with 16. Ummm that would leave so many out in the cold and no, Brian, just because not every team is great doesn't mean they don't add something. Go back to deckchair and handkerchief, your old and noone knows you exist anymore.

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