Archive for the ‘World Cup '10’ Category

Quarterfinal – Argentina versus Germany

Muller already scored the first goal in three minutes

PEEEEEEP PEEEEP PEEP. Game over. The streets of Buenos Aires are safe from short naked men and Germany were rampant. Can they be beat?

89:00 – GOOOOOOAAAALLL - Klose scores his second. Germany pick them apart for the upteenth time. Cross comes in and Klose takes his time and taps it in. He becomes the second most prolific goal scorer in world cup history, right behind the fat one. Germany 4 – Argentina 0

87:00 - Messi has a shot on goal but it is at Neuer. Not going his way as we all thought might happen.

85:00 - Low looks like he should be in art gallery reviewing the latest work from some post bauhaus hipster.

83:00 – Argentina keep trying but the uphill climb is too steep.

77:00 – Merkel is overjoyed. Love it. Heads of state rooting on their players!

74:00 – GOOOOOOOAAAALLL. Friedrich bundles the ball over as Schweinstieger does all the work ad he dribbles through people and around the Pillars of cement that are masking as Argentine defenders and then lays it off to the defender for his first ever international goal. Germany 3 – Argentina 0

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Quarterfinals – Brazil versus Holland

Not only is he wearing his shirt on backwards but he looks like one of those "girls" men buy. Thanks Kickette!

PEEEEP PEEEP PEEP. Well that’s quite an upset. How many pools are ruined? Brazil’s cockiness were their undoing as the Dutch put in a workmanlike effort mixed in with some great skill and are deserved semi-finalists. Sneijder will challenge Messi as the best player in the world. Maicon who?

3 minutes of extra time

89:00 - Dani Alves calls upon all of creation to supplement him with power but his free kick hits the wall.

88:00 – Kuyt showing that he does possess fine ball skills as he waltzes through the Brazilian defense. A slight hesitation is his undoing as he is finally tackled at the edge of the box.

85:00 – RVP off Huntelaar on

84:00 - A lovely bit of passing and skill from RVP and Sneijder almost makes it 3-1 but Julio Cesar does well to save.

82:00 - Corners from Brazil are giving them opportunities. Some go agonizingly wide.

80:00 - Jubalani 3 – RVP 0

77:00 – Nilmar on, Fabiano off. This is shaping up to be an exciting 13 minutes… SECOND BLOODY MARY DOWN AND DUSTED

76:00 - AWESOME. Ref accidentally pulled out the wrong card but caught himself and apologized. Yellow card to a dutch defender. Should have eaten proper food today.

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Quick Thoughts: NED vs. BRA

San Francisco resident and Dutch national Ben Oude Kamphuis with "Ol Nellie" has a nail-biter tomorrow. (Yes, he knows, Hulk Hogan, no relation)

TSG is fired up for this game.

TSG’s got Hollish friends and we’ve got Brazilian friends.

Going into this tournament, the one team I thought might give Brazil a run for the money before the ultimate match would be the Netherlands. Beyond Spain and Argentina, who were destined to only walk the tunnel with Dunga’s squad in the finale, Netherlands possess just enough toughness through Van Bommel and cheap shot artist Nigel DeJong to accompany firepower to rival Brazil and, perhaps, threaten what has become some serious lockdown defense by Brazil.

Further, the mix of the Netherlands attacking arsenal which hasn’t really gotten their full swerve on, looked diverse enough to find the right recipe of aerial, speed and link play to create some worthy chances.

Will Lucio crush the Oranje's World Cup Finals dream?

In Robin Van Persie, the Dutch have a striker just physical enough, just headcase enough, and just aloof enough to not be thrown of his game by Lucio (and Juan).

In Arjen Robben, the Oranje have a winger who lives for the big game, the dagger play. In Elerjo Elia, a precocious flanker with the confidence of Allen Iverson in his heyday to attack Bastos or Maicon if called for.

And finally, the Dutch have a little bit of lunchpail in Dirk Kuyt–the key Liverpool man is always depositing loose change back in the net, doesn’t get phased by the magnitude of the situation–and in a nod to his responsibilities tomorrow–smart enough to know how to “move” against Maicon and choose his runs.

Sure I’ve got Brazil winning it, but frankly, before the Final, this is Brazil’s biggest test.

Here are some things TSG is looking for:

• Can Bastos defend?

Just like the United States–until the revelation that is Jonathan Bornstein, kidding, was inserted–Brazil have long had trouble filling their leftback occupancy.

Dunga was smart and, in a move that smacked of Florent Malouda’s similar chores at Chelsea, choose to employ Lyon left winger Michel Bastos there, betting that speed, guile, and the threat of the counter would deter teams from continually asking the question of that flank.

Bastos has collected plaudits this World Cup and many have championed his abilities at left back however, if you’ve watched the games, you know Bastos going forward has been his primary defense, not shutdown adhesion-type stuff.

On the day, the Lyon man will need to contend with Arjen Robben who seems to find a way off the right flank with his left foot. He’s like the Latrell Sprewell of the World Cup using his left whether going left or right.

Robben must force Bastos to show his technical ability or expose his lack thereof for Holland to be successful. If Robben is succesful Felipe Melo will need to provide cover for Bastos and the Dutch will get a little morsel of space to work the midfield and maybe some valuable time on the ball.

The Dutch hope Wesley can navigate the Pit of Despair in the midfield...

• Wesley Sneijder goes 1-on-2

No doubt that Sneijder–a TSG fave–has a critical role here in this one, certainly more than any game thus far.

Van Bommel and DeJong are going to play their customary CDM roles in the Oranje’s 4-2-3-1 system. They are going to rip up the foundation, jackhammer a hole and plant themselves in front of the Dutch backline. Both will come out to challenge Kaka at the top of the offensive third or Robinho floating in. However, even if they come forward in defense, they’ll be retarded in their ability to get forward on the attack.

Wesley Sneijder alone will be the Dutch conduit through the midfield.

It will be up to Sniejder to choose the tempo of the game when the Dutch earn possession, maintain possession in the face of challenges from Gilberto and Melo (like Elano, Melo is much better for the national team) and create opportunities in front of him.

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World Cup Chatting At The Shin Guardian

Thirsty, very....

TSG is pleased to announce a World Cup chat sponsored by Jarritos.

If you’ve been to any taqueria in the Western Hemisphere, you’ve likely guzzled one of their drinks.

Just click the link here and the chat will pop-up live. You may need to disable a pop-up blocker.

We’ll be live in just about 15 minutes here at 2pm EDT, 11am PDT. CHAT LINK HERE

If you’re so inclined our sponsor Jarritos is also offering some giveaway prizes:

Prizes

10 Jarritos t-shirts
10 Jarritos flavor “samplers” (11 bottles of Jarritos + a t-shirt
1 x $250 gift card to ticketmaster.com

How To Play

·        Use a Twitter tracking service like www.tweetgrid.com, with the #JarritosNation tag, which will help you follow the giveaway in real time

·        Join the giveaway with the hashtag #JarritosNation

·        Follow host @shinguardian and @JarritosNation for discussion questions and a chance to win prizes!

TSG Reconvenes With ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle

Carlisle for ESPN...

TSG’s Brian Mechanick spoke with Jeff Carlisle as the ESPN reporter was about to hop a plan for South Africa.

Mechanick follows up today with a debrief from Carlisle with a little more than a week left at World Cup 2010.

To Brian & Jeff…..

Q: How do you rate the U.S.’s performance in this World Cup?

The exceeded expectations slightly. The fact that they won their group for the first time in 80 years, I don’t think anyone was expecting that. A lot of people say the group was weak, but anytime you can draw with England and take care of business in the other two games, that’s a solid accomplishment. On the other hand they went out in the second round, which a lot of people expected, so you can make the argument that they met expectations, but I would kick it up a few notches higher than that.

Q: How do you evaluate Bob Bradley’s performance as a manager in this World Cup?

On the whole I think he did pretty well. It’s easy to look at back on the game in hindsight and say, “Clearly he shouldn’t have started Ricardo Clark and Robbie Findley”, but I think if you pick a part that decision you have to put yourself in his shoes at the time he made the decision. The fact is the U.S. was coming off of two very intense, exhausting games against Slovenia and Algeria, and I think the logic of putting someone in the midfield who was a little bit fresher, that makes sense to me.

In terms of Findley, the U.S. offense was predicated on having Donovan and Dempsey pinch in and tuck into the middle and have the fullbacks overlap, but if you’re going to do that you need a guy who is going to stretch the defense vertically, so from that standpoint, putting Findley back into the line-up makes sense as well. Clearly, it didn’t work out as Bradley planned, but I think you need to give Bradley credit that he didn’t wait around until halftime and make changes then. He knew that the American’s tournament was on the line, he made changes, and I think they worked pretty well.

One thing a lot of people forget is when extra-time started Bradley had the right guys on the field, and they still coughed up a goal that was very preventable. That to me comes down to the players, not the coach.

Q: Has the American’s talent been overrated, or has the team underperformed to their ability?

I don’t think we’ve been overrating the U.S.’s talent. Coming into the tournament most people expected the team to make the second round and they did that. Could they have gone further? I think they could have. It wasn’t like they were dominated versus Ghana. Yes the first thirty minutes were looking pretty grim, but the U.S. as they so often do gathered themselves, rallied, made a game of it and took the match into extra time.

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TSG’s Refined World Cup Picks

Now that the brackets are reset, the TSG writers make their picks and commentary on how the rest of the tournament goes down.

"Yeah, we didn't change a thing from our originals...."

And some commentary:

(Brian) I called that Paraguay and Uruguay would reach the quarters, and I’m sticking to my pick that CONMEBOL reps hard, as we have three South American teams in the semis and an all CONMEBOL final.

(Shaun) Ghana vs. Uruguay – This will be a close game. Ghana are a well-disciplined side and will be buoyed by being the only African team left. I actually think that they didn’t play all that well against the US (compared to their games against Serbia and Germany). They will be missing a couple of starters due to FIFA’s stupid card policy which will hurt them. Ghana wins.

(Matthew) I think Ghana played their best game versus the States. They’ll be in, but they won’t be able to solve Uruguay’s defense. Suarez scores.

(Matthew) I’ve got Brazil running it, but if Holland….oh Holland you deserve more time…end up pulling the upset it will because of the mastery of Wesley Sneijder–who is on the top of his game right now–pulling the strings.

Elano, an unsung here on the national side...

(Tuesday) Holland vs. Brazil – Just when you thought the Dutch landscape couldn’t get any flatter, look who shows up in your quarter. This Brazil team is a steamroller but they won’t be running up the score when missing the under-rated Elano against a solid Dutch defense. Okay, so I thought one of Brazil and Spain might head to an early grave when colliding in a second round match, but really they’re on a collision course for the dream final instead.

(Tuesday) Germany vs. Argentina – It’s all happy party times for Go, Diego, Go in South Africa. With his side brandishing their leader’s attacking flash, Diego is like the World Cup’s very own Jolly St. Nick. Unfortunately his unique gifts for management will run out in this quarterfinal against an expansive German attack featuring more speed on the flanks than a pile of blow on the touchlines. I thought an inexperienced German side might be out by now, but these new-fangled Deutschlanders have been a delight to watch and will hang around for the semi-finals in style, just like and unlike in the past.

(Tuesday) Ghana vs. Brazil –  With the Ivory Coast out, I’m still backing an African team to get into the semis. The vanquishers of the USA become the first African semi-finalist but the Black Star’s yellow-brick road into the reaches an abrupt end here. You could see this going the way of last summer’s Confederation’s Cup Final with Brazil going down a goal but in the end, Ghana gonna get Maiconned.

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Best Of Those Left: Public Is On Target

Suarez was having a mundane Cup until he expected last match...

Largely, I think ESPN–with the exception of little bit of challenges in pairing broadcasters and FIFA’s way too much use of the super zoomed-in slow motion shot (who’s producing, Jerry Bruckheimer?)–has done a really good job of presenting the World Cup in the United States. Well done, Mickey Mouse Sports!

Even online in many cases. Jeff Carlisle–who TSG writer Brian Mechanick spoke with on the phone over the weekend–is doing just a bang-up job.

Now ESPN revises their “Best Players” Flash Do-Hickey and asks “Who is the best player left at the World Cup?”

Surprisingly, with the exceptions of low ranking for defenders Maicon and Lahm way too low, I think the public did a great job.

Have some fun here.

Here below is TSG’s quick reaction list when we asked the question, “On current form, who are the most critical players left in World Cup 2010.”

Frankly, TSG would have backtracked and selected Lionel Messi, *if he had put away a chance and Carlos Tevez wasn’t in supreme form. If Messi plays the #10 role to perfection against a team–like Germany–that has the defensive abilities to potentially limit him, I may, highlight may, eat my words on Maicon over Messi.

But not yet!

Will Wesley lead the Netherlands to that elusive land?

1. Maicon
2. Lionel Messi
3. David Villa
4. Mesut Özil
5. Wesley Sneijder
6. Carlos Tevez
7. Kaka
8. Luis Fabiano
9. Xavi
10. Luis Suarez
11. Robin van Persie
12. Arjen Robben
13. Diego Forlan
14. Philipp Lahm

You don't want to "f" with Lucio....really...

15. Lucio
16. Iker Casillas
17. Gonzalo Higuain
18. Julio Cesar
19. Miroslav Klose
20. Robinho
21. Thomas Müller
22. Asamoah Gyan
23. Andres Iniesta
24. Cristian Riveros
25. Fernando Torres

Gonzalo Higuain, who Shaun think is merely “Pippo Inzaghi +” and I contend is much more much be recognized with his official TSG video.

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