Report Card for FIFA World Cup 2010: Last 16

Ok Ok. The World Cup has improved drastically in both quality and entertainment value in the past one week in strong contrast to what we had witnessed in the Group Phases. There has been some free flowing football, some close finishes, some good scorelines, entertaining football, and of course then there are the Dutch. But more about them later. First up, lets get fully judgmental and talk about the matches that took place.

URUGUAY 2:1 KOREA: Ah well, though I didn’t expect too much of quality in this, I have to say, just watching Luis Suarez play around with the ball and especially with that sweet sweet finish that was the second goal, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he makes a move to a UCL playing team in the transfer window. Having said that, failure to utilize clear cut chances (including a couple of one on ones) on part of Korea just made them to deserve the result.

USA 1:2 GHANA: Ah! How I was rooting for Ghana in this match! This was one captivating game with either side playing some free flowing attacking football! Oh wait sorry! The USA ended up playing Soccer in a Football World Cup! No wonder they lost! Also, Ghana’s Goalie- the Kingson dude- was very easily the most awesome guy in the entire stadium that day. Save after save after save was the only reason why Ghana still remains in the World Cup. He was such an awesome keeper that the fact that he is also the 4th choice goalie for Wigan Athletic doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

GERMANY 4:1 ENGLAND: Most entertaining game of the Knock out phase and The less said about this the better. So many things have been said about goal line technology and how that goal could have prevented the German counter attack etc etc. But none of that is going to change the fact that England played crappy football all through the World Cup and simply deserved to go home. Having said that, I shall, without any hesitation, concede that Miroslav Klose was simply a different footballer that day and made some really useful plays (in contrast to my earlier opinion on how badly he played in the Group Stage).

ARGENTINA 3:1 MEXICO: Argentina again show why they are the team to beat and still continuing to prove why they are the most entertaining team to watch. I have nothing new to add here except that I had wished to see more of Kun Aguero that day.

PARAGUAY 5:3 JAPAN: Boring game with some pathetic finishing and settled fast with penalties. Wish I could have just seen the penalties and saved myself some quality time.

SPAIN 1:0 PORTUGAL: That is what you get for just relying on counter attack and let the Spanish pass the ball to death. There is  bound to be a goal somewhere there. And I have to say that Spain won against Portugal INSPITE OF  Fernando Torres. As per my earlier opinion, Fernando Torres continued his journey towards becoming the Emile Heskey of Spain and I believe has become successful to a large extent. But thanks to people like David Villa and Iniesta and Xavi who actually make that extra effort to score goals, Spain still stay on and play.

NETHERLANDS 2:1 SLOVAKIA: And of course there are the Dutch. Grinding out cheap wins consistently via producing some totally retarded football is an art and the Dutch seem to have mastered that. Get a load of this: With the exception of 5 times, the Dutch NEVER passed the ball FRONT in the opponent’s half of the pitch in the first half! (It was 12 in the 2nd half). It was as if they were playing with normal football rules in their half and with Rugby rules in the opponent’s half-( you know that rule which states that you cannot pass the ball FRONT and can only pass BACK or SIDEWAYS?) Not that they didn’t try. Its just that the pass mostly ended up being either intercepted or going out of bounds. If you think I am exaggerating, just watch the replay of that match and COUNT for yourself. THAT is how fucking lame the Dutch are playing!

BRAZIL 3:0 CHILE: And that is why I am so looking forward to Brazil belting the Dutch ass! Brazil, on the other hand, played football which actually involved completed front passes in the opponent’s half as well. And contrary to popular belief, the boys from Brazil do NOT seem to have abandoned the Sambha style of play. At this point however let it be made known that I am NOT a fan of Brazil and do not intend to see them lift the World Cup.

On a side note, I want to make a comment about how the English FA are reacting to the lame performance of their team in the World Cup. With regard to the decision on whether to keep Capello or to fire him, the FA seem to be toeing the we-need-to-fix-the-real-problem-not-the-symptoms line of reasoning while favoring to keep Capello. They imply that developing a good youth system is the answer to the problems etc etc. There is a fundamental flaw in this line of reasoning. I believe that the intended consequence of this youth system development is the production of really good players as such. My question is this: When you already have players with the capacity of Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, Cole (J and A), etc, what are the odds that the youth system will churn out players who are even better than this crop? If the manager cannot get this bunch of world class players to produce good results, what makes the FA think he can do any better with a different bunch of players? A change of tactics (if not manager) is of the essence. There is no freakin way somebody like Wayne Rooney can just randomly decide to lose form. If he doesn’t get the ball, WTF is he going to do just running around?

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