World Cup Underway
With the group stage just underway there have been a few surprises thus far (as expected, I mean this is the World Cup). On the opening day France, last World Cup’s runner-up tied Uruguay at 0. The following day South Korea looked extremely impressive in their 2-0 thrashing of a Greek team in which many experts were high on coming into this year’s World Cup. Argentina narrowly escaped a shocker, beating Nigeria 1-0 and giving crazy head coach Diego Maradona his first World Cup victory. And of course the last game on Saturday was the BIG one, USA vs. England, the ultimate rivalry in every way imaginable. England controlled much of the first half and even took an early 1-0 lead in just the third minute on a goal from their captain Steven Gerrard, but and this is a big but Clint Dempsey tied the game in the 39th minute on a straight-forward shot that was mishandled to say the least by the young, inexperienced Robert Green aka the British Bill Buckner (sorry Sox fans). In the end, the confident United States team came away with a very important point in the standings. On the third day Germany stole the show with their absolute dismantling of a veteran Australian team, coming away with a more than convincing 4-0 win and taking a strangle-hold on Group D. The fifth day of the World Cup was entertaining to say the least. The day started off with the Netherlands coasting past Denmark, 2-0. The next game provided a stunning outcome as Japan beat Samuel Eto’o and the favored “Indomitable Lions” (Cameroon) 1-0 to earn their first ever World Cup victory away from Asian soil. The day finished with a result that nobody saw coming. Italy, the defending World Cup champions, tied the inspired Paraguay squad 1-1 and were lucky to even get that result as the “Azzuri” looked less than stellar. As the group stage moves on I am looking forward to Tuesday June 15 (sixth day) as all 4 teams in Group G, or should I call it the “Group of Death” face off in two crucial games. In the first game of the group a talented Ivory Coast team goes up against the veteran laden, star-studded Portugal team led by Cristiano Ronaldo. This game becomes even more important as heavily favored Brazil takes on North Korea in the second game of the group. Although it’s almost a certainty that Brazil will win, it is extremely important for the Brazilians to win in a blowout as every goal will be extremely important down the road in case goal differential is needed for a tie-break. As for my extremely premature World Cup winner prediction, I’ll go with the very talented and extremely poised Dutch squad. Well that’s my take on the early days of the World Cup, it’s going to be an exciting and eventful tournament. Enjoy!