Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Almeida’

Day nineteen brought the end of round two and now we have a few days off before the Quarter-finals this weekend.  Surprisingly, the Paraguay – Japan game was more exciting than Spain – Portugal.  If Portugal had showed up to play, that game would’ve been tops.

Paraguay continues to do enough to get by and now they’re in the Quarters for the first time in their history.  Too bad they don’t have enough fire power to make it past Spain in the next round.

On to the games:

Paraguay – Japan (0-0), (5-3 PSO)

I was surprised that this was the only game that went to a penalty shootout.  Usually in round two, the teams start to tighten up and the goals dry up.  It didn’t happen in South Africa and the games were more enjoyable.  Here’s hoping teams continue to go to goal to win games and not get conservative hoping to go to penalty kicks.

Paraguay had the edge in time of possession but the actual chances on goal were about even.  Japan is lucky that Marcus Tulio Tanaka’s (Nagoya Grampus Eight) clearance late in the game didn’t go into their own net.  Both goalies were very good.

Daisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow) had a great game and was named Man of the Match.  He should get some looks from bigger clubs in Europe.  I still wonder why Shunsuke Nakamara (Yokohama F Marinos) couldn’t get into this game or even get more minutes in this tournament.  Honda and Nakamura would’ve been hard to cover.  You could bottle up one but not both.

This match came down to Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata) missing his penalty kick.  Komano hit the crossbar on Japan’s third shot.  Oscar Cardozo (Benfica) hit Paraguay’s fifth penalty and Japan’s run came to an end.  Japan over-achieved in this tournament and it looks like they will have a lot of turnover by the time Brazil 2014 comes around.  About twelve players from this team most likely won’t be around for the next World Cup.

Spain-Portugal (1-0)

Goal – Villa (ESP) 63’

Red Card – Ricardo Costa (POR) 89’

Spain controlled this game from start to finish.  They had a 63% time of possession and three times as many shots on goal.  Where was Portugal?  Carlos Queiroz decided that Portugal needed to go 4-3-3 but why?  Wouldn’t a player like Deco (Chelsea) have been better in a 4-4-2 than having Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen) playing out of position as the third forward?  Or, why not have Danny (Zenit St. Petersburg) or Liedson (Sporting Lisbon) in as forwards with Simao (Atletico Madrid) and just have Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) play as a midfielder behind the two forwards?  This game isn’t that difficult to figure out.

David Villa (Barcelona) scored his fourth goal of this World Cup and now he’s tied with Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid) as the top scorer in the tournament.  Villa just seems to be in the right place at the right time.  He was in perfect position on the goal.  No, he wasn’t offsides, he was even with the last defender.  That’s how you play the game.  Thankfully, one of the bad linesman didn’t screw it up.

This is how the Quarter-finals stack up:

Uruguay-Ghana

Netherlands – Brazil

Argentina – Germany

Paraguay – Spain

All these games should keep our attention.  Netherlands – Brazil and Argentina – Germany should have a Finals like feel.

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Day eleven is in the books and all three winning teams never really looked in danger.  Portugal clobbered North Korea, Chile handled Switzerland and Spain dominated Honduras.  North Korea is eliminated from the tournament and no one would complain if they just packed up and left.

On to the games:

Portugal – North Korea (7-0)

Goals – Raul Meireles (POR) 29’, Simao (POR) 29’, Hugo Almeida (POR) 56’, Tiago (POR) 60’ & 89’, Liedson (POR) 81’, Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) 89’

Yes, Portugal scored seven goals in a World Cup game.  Not much to say about this game.  Portugal did what Brazil should’ve done in their first game against North Korea.  How did Brazil not score ten?

North Korea were the darlings of the soccer world last week for hanging on against Brazil.  This week they’re a farce, just like this game.  It got out of hand at 53’ and I seriously started to feel sorry for North Korea after it was 5-0.  It was as if anything near the North Korean goal was going in.  I thought Benny Hill music was gonna start playing.  The North Korean “fans”….I mean plants…didn’t know what was going on.

From deadspin.com – “I guess 1966 shall remain unavenged. However, the next time North Korea sees a Portuguese battleship they are totally gonna sink it.”

Anyone remember when the Ivory Coast players were sent to a military camp after they were eliminated from the 2000 African Cup of Nations?  I fear for the North Korean players’ safety.  On the other hand, it’s not like anyone in North Korea knows this game even happened.  Actually, North Korea was pleased with their performance against Brazil that they decided to broadcast the game.  OOOPS!!!

7-0? Watch your backs when you get home

Brazil is already through but Portugal and Ivory Coast are still alive for a spot in the next round.  Technically Ivory Coast is still alive.  Brazil has to beat Portugal, possible.  Ivory Coast has to beat North Korea, most likely.  The only problem is that if both those things happen, the Ivory Coast would have to make up a nine goal difference between themselves and Portugal, no f’n way.  Portugal is +7 on goal difference and the Ivory Coast is -2.  Another African team fails to see the next round.

Chile – Switzerland (1-0)

Goal – Gonzalez (CHI) 75’

Red Card – Behrami (SUI) 31’

Both teams came into this game on three points but let’s be honest, Switzerland got lucky and beat Spain while Chile is a solid, dangerous team.  Chile dominated this game in every way.  Having Switzerland down to ten men for about an hour made their life easier.

Mark Gonzalez (CSKA Moscow) scored the winner for Chile but there was one problem.  Esteban Paredes (Colo Colo) was offsides when he received the pass on the right wing before eventually passing it to Gonzalez.  Hello linesman!  I think the refereeing has been better than expected in this World Cup but the linesman have been below average.  I’m constantly seeing linesman running behind the play, catching up and raising the offsides flag.  How do you see the offsides when you’re not even in line with the last defender?  The opposite is that they are in position and they don’t call it when it happens.  Terrible!

Spain – Honduras (2-0)

Goals – Villa (ESP) 17′ & 51′

How did Spain not drop a seven on Honduras?  David Villa (Barcelona) scored two but he also missed and penalty and rattled the post from long-range.  It was all Spain all the time.  Honduras had nine “shots” but none of them were actually on goal.  Spain seems to have bounced back from the shock defeat at the hands of Switzerland.  Spanish coach Vincente Del Bosque finally came to his senses and started the dangerous Fernando Torres (Liverpool).

You really should've scored more goals

Everyone is alive in this group but if I’m Honduras I’m not making any hotel reservations for the next round.  That plane ticket probably doesn’t need to be changed.

Standings

Team (points)

Group A:

Uruguay (4), Mexico (4),  France (1), South Africa (1)

Group B:

Argentina (6), South Korea (3), Greece (3), Nigeria (0)

Group C:

Slovenia (4), USA (2), England (2), Algeria (1)

Group D:

Ghana (4), Germany (3), Serbia (3), Australia (1)

Group E:

Netherlands (6), Japan (3), Denmark (3), Cameroon (0) – Netherlands advance, Cameroon eliminated

Group F:

Paraguay (4), Italy (2), New Zealand (2), Slovakia (1)

Group G

Brazil (6), Portugal (4), Ivory Coast (1), North Korea (0) – Brazil advance, North Korea eliminated

Group H

Chile (6), Spain (3), Switzerland (3),  Honduras (0)