Friday, June 18, 2010

Group E opening games

Netherlands 2-0 Denmark

The Netherlands have some of the best attackers in the world eg van Persie, van der Waart, Sneijder etc. They are usually fluid and exciting as well. In this game however they were not so fluent or fluid and instead it was a workmanlike Dutch performance. The Danes were even less threatening on attack. Having said that there were still opportunities for both sides and the Dutch showed occasional flashes of why we rate them so highly. The first goal came from an own goal. Poulsen headed it into his own goal from a van Persie cross (brushing the back of Agger). The second goal was a lovely move with a simple finish for Kuyt. Even the 18 year old Erikksen for Denmark couldn't quite light up proceedings for them. A bit of talent and quality experience from them from time to time but a largely forgettable performance by them.

Japan 1-0 Cameroon

The big talking points for me were 1) Samuel Eto'o being deployed on the right wing and 2) Alex Song not in the starting eleven (or even coming on as a sub). Eto'o couldn't get into the game often enough from right wing and lacked goalscoring opportunities from there. He still played well in that position, and I remember one instant when he eluded two defenders to make a good cross, but I hardly believe it is the best way to utilise the skills of their star man. I'm sure Le Guen has his reasons for not picking Alex Song but for me it was a shame as whenever I have seen him play he usually impresses me. It is telling that the closest Cameroon came to a goal was when right-back Mbia hit the crossbar.

Japan were nothing flash although they played a decent game. Their goal came out of nowhere and was a nice simple finish for Honda (after some shocking marking from Cameroon). Honda played well in midfield for Japan.

In truth it was a fairly pedestrian and weak game.

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