Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Group A decided:

So Germany finish first and play Sweden, Ecuador finish second and will face England! A couple of interesting clashes, but that's for the future, let us consider the immediate past!

Germany 3-0 Ecuador.

Almost a training ground run for the Germans who were worthy 3-0 victors.

Germany: were up for the game right from the start. They created many opportunities, and as you can see scored 3 of them. Goal 1: A looping cross from Mertesacker was expertly kept in and cut back from Schweinsteiger, leaving Klose to expertly fire home from close range. Goal 2: Ballack picked out Klose with a sumptuous through ball; he still had a lot to do to win hold of the ball, put himself in the shooting position and finish. But this Klose did with skill, picking up a brace that puts him top of the 2006 world cup scoring charts...for now at least. Goal 3: Podolski got the goal he needed to restore his confidence after a disappointing tournament thus far. A lovely cross from Schneider was given the finish it merited. Germany could have easily scored more, and probably should have with the likes of Ballack, Klose and Podolski all having shots that disappointingly were off target. Germany were comfortable and purposeful in the middle of the park, menacing going forward and virtually untroubled in defence. After having shone in the first couple of matches Lahm however demonstrated some of his fallibilities at the back as he was beaten/dispossessed on a couple of occasions. For some strange reason Germany were glad to avoid England, obviously they were feeling in a benevolent mood, not wanting to inflict yet more penalty misery on the ever suffering English fans!

Ecuador: Whilst disappointing certain factors must be noted. The most important of which was their starting lineup. 5 quality regulars in Delgado, Carlos Tenorio (both having scored two goals at the world cup), Hurtado (who has been brilliant at centre back, Castillo and Reasco (who have both impressed): All rested either because of minor knocks or suspension worries with both Castillo and Hurtado sitting on one yellow card. Or maybe just to keep them fresh. This 5 is pretty much the backbone of the team, and so to have them missing put them at a huge disadvantage in this game. At least they should be able to play the 5 against England, but will the loss have knocked their confidence too much? Managing is a fine balancing act, so hard to get right. Ecuador were also unworried about who they faced in the second round. They were happy to get this far and felt that should Sweden and England qualify, both are quality European teams who can score goals, what difference will it make?

In terms of the game Ecuador lost possession regularly in the midfield, and apart from a couple of half chances were limited to shots from distance which Lehmann was able to cope comfortably with. They were not too flash hot in defence either. But was it just the missing tight five so to speak? Surely the other factor was that they were playing a fired up quality German side instead of the not so flash Poles and Costa Ricans??? A pity that the choice of starting lineup meant we were unable to see how their top team really could cope with the hosts. There also appeared to be a demonstrable lack of passion. But through to the second round for the first time ever, who knows how far they can go!!??

Poland 2-1 Costa Rica

A dead rubber maybe but a bit of pleasure for the Poles and especially manager Janas Pawel who was surely worried (and probably still is) about the possibility of being sacked. Gomez scored the opening goal for Los Ticos, Gomez's free kick squirming past Boruc, but Poland fought back from an unlikely goal source, Bosacki grabbing 2 never having scored for his country before.

Poland came to the tournament with high hopes, but as in 02 two early defeats sent them packing. Most people's pick to progress they were disappointing. Maybe next time eh?

As for Costa Rica this was their worst showing in 3 world cups. Wanchope at least had a 2 goal return to prove that his excellent goals to games ratio was no fluke, and they contributed to a very entertaining opening game, but Guimaraes must be bitterly unhappy after what has transpired.


Michael said...

Are you playing TVNZ virtual football?
Portugal all the way!

William Fussey said...

Nah I'm not. I signed up but decided not to predict any games.