Still don’t understand why Rafael Van der Vaart still insists on running at the middle of the defense. In fact, still don’t understand why Van der Vaart is starting ahead of Eljero Elia.
The Netherlands could have used more of Elia and Ibrahim Afellay’s pace earlier. They’d be wise to use it later in the torunament now that they have qualified for the next round.
I think the world of both Dirk Kuyt and Robin van Persie, but I’m not convinced that they’re good together paired in the attack.
Another fine possession game from the the Dutch: 66%. That’s the same percentage in their game against Denmark.
Eiji Kawashima should have done better with Sneijder’s shot that resulted in the goal. Notwithstanding the velocity of the ball, meeting it with a punch would have been an example of Newtonian mechanics.
Nigel de Jong behaved well.
Anyone think Japan was playing for a draw? I do.
I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this by the Aussie fans, but Harry Kewell has nothing to complain about. I have viewed the incident several times from the most critical angle: the close-up from Kewell’s right side. His arm is moving out from his body and the ball hits him in the elbow. In slow motion you can see his biceps and forearm muscles vibrate from the impact. By so doing he kept the ball out of the net. His claims that it was unintentional are disingenuous; would anyone expect him to say otherwise?
That being said, Ghana’s failure to do anything with a man advantage for 66 minutes is disgraceful. All credit to Australia for salvaging a point out of a game I thought they were certain to lose. I keep saying, you have to finish those chances.
Richard Kingson seemed to be flapping at the ball on Marc Bresciano’s free kick. It was his fault however, as the ball seemed to bounce normally.
By the way, can we please stop blaming the ball? The goalkeeper for Algeria made five saves against England with that ball. It was his first cap. He plays his club football in Bulgaria.
Lots of excitement in the Denmark v Cameroon game. Great end to end play.
Dennis Rommedahl is 31. I’m guessing his legs are 21. Man of the match in my opinion
Morton Olsen is lucky that notwithstanding his team’s weak defense, Thomas Sorensen is a first rate goalkeeper. That’s not a formula to build a winning WC campaign on.
Comment of the day from burnspbesq at Balloon Juice:
One thing this World Cup is showing is how many world-class
goalkeepers play in the English Premier League.
Too bad for England that none of them are English.
Wonder who Morton Olsen will use for the ineligible Simon Kjaer against Japan.
Yeah, I wasn’t expecting much from that game, and then I was sorry I had to leave for work in the middle of it. They were whaling on each other.
What a blown chance for Ghana. They are in real danger of getting eliminated. There’s a fair chance that no African teams will make the second round, which would really be a shame. Allez, Côte d’Ivoire!
No it doesn’t; it his check the slow-motion youtube replays such as this one..
Since that angle shows his side, it’s not the critical angle. You can’t tell the difference between an elbow hit and a shoulder hit because of the foreshortening. Watch the close-up from the front (0:46 in the youtube linked above) and pause the video when the ball reaches its rightmost point. It reaches the top of his bicep, up near the shoulder, then moves away from his body. Also note that from the front, you can see him rotating his shoulders back; he’s trying to get them out of the way of the ball. Also note; it bounces away to his right (back.. and to the left… :)), almost parallel to the goal line. If it had hit his forearm or elbow, it would have bounced in front of him, not away to the side.
The sleeve of his short-sleeve shirt moves before his arm muscles ripple, because it hits his shirt and his bicep at the same time. It hits him on the bicep, next to the shoulder , then rolls down his arm to the elbow.
Not that any of this matters; the game’s done.
As one of the announcers said, there was an air of Keystone Kops to the defensive efforts.
Actually, it doesn’t make much difference for Ghana’s chances. If they don’t lose to Germany, they are through anyway, whether they had won today or just drawn. If they lose to Germany, and Serbia beats Australia, Ghana would most likely be eliminated on goal difference even if they had won today (except when both the last round games would be 1-goal wins). In the maybe 5-10% of the scenarios where they lose to Germany by more than a goal and Serbia doesn’t beat Australia, they would have gone through with a win instead of a draw, otherwise it doesn’t make a difference.
I was thinking sharks, blood in water, etc. The offensive perspective, rather than the defensive. But both defenses did seem a bit, uh, distracted.
I want to be the 47th person here to say thanks for the world cup threads. I’ll do less complaining when American football season starts and it’s all stillers all the time here.
Too bad that Cameroon lost. They have a lot of skilled players but they cannot seem to be able to play as a team. It was a great game though.
I really love the world cup, it’s never disappointing. My dad actually gets annoyed if we don’t call it football.
@slightly_peeved: That view stinks. Out loud.
The best view is on the Soccernet page. Replay the whole game – not the Speed Game with the giant pause button in the middle of it – and go to about 1:02:00 for the replays. That’s where you see how flabby Kewell’s upper arm was made to look, and where you see the arm swinging back inward on the view facing the goal. And where you see the mugging that got ignored.
then Ghana’s gone. Serbia will have 6 and they will have 4.
ETA: Or did you mean if Serbia draws?
Excuse me Randinho, but you are being a contrarian plonker. I’ve never much cared for Kewell but the replay is clear. Kewell’s eyes are closed and his arms are only barely away from his body as is natural when jumping (try jumping with your arms perfectly at your sides and you will see what i mean). His elbows are at his sides. The ball hits him above the elbow, close to the shoulder. Short of having his arms hacked off prior to the game, I do not see what else he could have done. Sure, award a penalty because Ghana would have scored had it not hit him but red card? You must be joking! Anyway, it was nice to see this team play like Australians for the first time this tournament. Can they beat Serbia 3-0 and progress? I very much doubt it but stranger things have happened.
Kewell was punished for the sins of Torsten Frings.
I agree with those who think that Kewell’s foul was unintentional. It seemed to me that the red card was a bit much.
But I don’t really know the rules. That being said if the rules do in fact call for a red card in that case,then the rules are frickin stupid. The whole red card system is just too punitive in my opinion. Okay, people do bad shit, they should be ejected. That happens in every sport. But the notion that the whole team has to pay for that players sins seems inherently unfair to me. And what about the fans? Playing with a man down is a serious disadvantage in any sport, so if you toss someone out in the early portions of the game(like in that Germany game) it seems to me that the game is more or less farked. Again, I am simply amazed at what soccer fans consider acceptable in their “beautiful” game.
To me, The World Cup as an event is very interesting. Soccer in general. Not so much. They would have change the red card system for starters. At least allow a substitution. But if soccer fans are happy with the system as it is, well, whatever makes you happy I suppose.
@magurakurin: The problem is that ejecting a player while allowing him to be replaced would generally not be much of a punishment. Since substitutions are limited to three per game, it could actually be a benefit late in games.
@Randinho (at top) – I am pretty sure we wont see Van Perise against Cameroon since he is carrying a yellow.
Yes, I meant that.
Even if Ghana had won today and had 6 points, they would still be gone in that scenario if they lose to Germany by more than 1 goal or Serbia beats Australia by more than one goal.
That could easily be fixed by taking the forced substitution out of the three allowed substitutions. Used them all up already? Though luck.
Anyway, players do get send off in soccer because cheating the opposition out of a goal in a sport where the average number of goals per game is less than three is a big fucking deal. In the 70s and 80s when players could get away with a yellow for these kind of actions (red cards were pretty much resticted to fighting and really violent fouls then), professional fouls were a blight on the game.
@Calouste: Your second paragraph kinda explains why your first paragraph wouldn’t work. It still wouldn’t be much of a punishment and players would take more liberties if they knew they would be replaced on the field, especially if it means saving a late goal.
To make it a real punishment I think you have to lose a player from the field for some period of time. If I had to tweak the system (which I don’t want to do), I would make it like a hockey power play situation where the red carded player is ejected and cannot be replaced for 15 minutes (you could make that time variable depending on the offense as well and/or yo could allow the substitution if a goal was scored)
(EDIT: And my off the cuff predictions for tomorrow are:
Paraguay 1, Slovakia 1
Italy 2, New Zealand 0
Brazil 3, Ivory Coast 1
I look forward to being proven an idiot)
Now, granted, I understand soccer fans like the game the way it is. And that’s cool. But from the standpoint of idle sports chatter I like the idea of a hockey penalty system for soccer. It could be extended to some of the now yellow card fouls as well and it would provide more offensive chances. But I am beginning to realize that soccer fans just aren’t that into having more offense than there is. The appeal lies in something else and as someone who grew up in the 70’s in the States watching the Flyers, collecting Sunoco NFL player stamps and watching the Phillies on so many lazy summer afternoons at the Jersey Shore, I ain’t never gonna get it. But like I said, it’s cool. Have at it soccer dudes, this is your time and the World Cup truly is the only truly international event of its type.
My roots are in Denmark so I follow the team closely. Some answers and musings: That was a nerve-wracking game, but certainly lively. I don’t I’ve seen the defense that shaky in several years. It’s strange since they’ve been mostly stable and solid throughout the last couple of years. On the upside, the midfield and offense looks to be back on an upward curve.
You’re quite right about Rommedahl, he seems to have found his second youth lately. There’s an element of answering his critics (there’s been a bit of a chorus the last years) on the playing field, I think.
The obvious replacement for Simon Kjaer is Per Kroeldrup, he’s played the position before and he and Agger are familiar with each other.
Looking forward to the Japan game, I expect them to be defensive and trying to play to a draw, same as against Holland, since it looks like that will be just barely enough for them to go through. If that’s not the case, they’ll probably be looking for counterpunch opportunities.
Key to game for Denmark will be whether they can loosen up the Japanese defense with the flanking runs and sideshifting that IMO won the game yesterday, Nicklas Bendtner’s height and heading ability could be an advantage here. The defense needs to be on their toes and looking out for some of the Japanese fast runners, but probably won’t be tested as much as they were by Cameroon.
@slightly_peeved: I’ve watched it again and again. Sorry, I’m not buying it. As for his eyes being closed, we’re seeing it in slow motion and it could have been mid-blink. The telephoto distortion is irrelevant; the view is sufficiently close to see it hit him in the elbow area.
He’s a pro. He should know better. I’ve seen it in slow motion and his arm is well away from his body. The ball hit his arm and that prevented a certain goal.
Again, his claims of no intent are disingenuous. Does anyone believe that he would say that he intended to touch the ball?
I have yet to see a neutral analyst say otherwise. We have to agree to disagree.