One wonders what sort of tactical plan other than to hope for a 0-0 tie Slovakia coach, Vladimir Weiss had. Slovakia had one shot in the first half, six shots overall and one shot on target – in the 92nd minute.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the effort that the Paraguayans showed today: they controlled the midfield (Enrique Vera has been terrific throughout), attacked effectively (Lucas Barrios was a revelation) and defended with confidence. I won’t be surprised if they win the group.
Slovakia Coach Vladimir Weiss knows what’s wrong with his team. I wonder if he plans to do anything about it.
Did I underestimate New Zealand or overestimate Italy? I think it’s the former.
Comments such as this and this, while probably true, aren’t going to help Italy. Nevertheless, Marcello Lippi would be well advised to listen to his players and be open to some changes if he plans to continue.
Did Alberto Gilardino play today? Anyone see him?
Less than 1/3 of Italy’s shots were on target. There is no question that central defender Ryan Nelson and goalkeeper Mark Paston played extraordinary defense, (Paston had more touches than any Kiwi player), but greater accuracy surely would have made it tougher for New Zealand.
I have an explanation for Daniele de Rossi’s dives. He’s in South Africa. He’s a fan (as I am) of Hugh Masekela. Masekela’s greatest success was Grazing in the Grass. De Rossi was performing a literal homage to the song.
Yes, it was a penalty, but de Rossi went down as easily as a porn star. While I would love to see this become the start of a trend in which foul calls for shirt tugging become the norm, I’m not optimistic.
Well at least Luis Fabiano owned up to his handball goal on the same day. It took Maradona until 2005.
Memo to Kaká: next time try turning the other cheek or just walk away.
Don’t know if Lúcio intended to grab Didier Drogba’s arm around the cast, but he should have been more careful.
Ismael Tioté was lucky to get away with one yellow, if not a straight red card for the foul on Elano.
If the Ivorians can’t defend with nine players against three, as they failed to do on Luis Fabiano’s first goal, they’ll have trouble down the road assuming they manage to go through.
Why did Sven-Goran Eriksson start Salomon Kalou instead of Gervinho? Kalou was largely ineffective in the game against Portugal and was largely ineffective in the game against Brazil. Gervinho played well in both and, in fact, it was his effort that led to Drogba’s goal. I’ve always wondered about some of Eriksson’s decisions (as I mentioned before, I’ve never understood his substituting Darius Vassell for Michael Owen in the game against Brazil in 2002). I suppose I can add this to the list.
Per ESPN, Drogba only had five touches in the second half.
Ivory Coast’s defense looked capable early on, but certainly seemed to tire, especially in the second half. Elano’s goal showed that most clearly: Siaka Tiéné seemed to be oblivious to Elano’s run despite the fact that they were nearly alongside each other.
If I were Arsene Wenger I would be wondering why I let Gilberto Silva get away.
A brief note: I took off from work last week and watched all 31 games thus far from start to finish. Unfortunately, I have to return to work tomorrow, so while I will be recording games on DVR, I won’t be able to watch with quite the detail I have thus far, but I’ll do my best. The third game in each group will be even more difficult as they take place simultaneously and I can only record one. Please bear with me and rest assured that each game will have an open thread at minimum.