A bit better timing today for this post. Story of the day was Germany, and red cards.......all 3 games had a
red card issued during a critical part of the game. Lack of composure and poor decisions were the difference for Algeria, Serbia, and Australia today as all 3 teams had red cards and all 3 ended up losing their opening match of the 2010 World Cup today. Oh yeah, and Germany was the best team that has played to date.
Group C driver seat belongs to Slovenia for now. Poor goalkeeping changed the result of yet another Group C game as the Algerian GK struggled to make a routine save to far post. Slovenia made the most of their man advantage in second half. Game overall was average at best and both sides showed vulnerability and athletic limitations. The US and England should be able to match up well with both teams but with Slovenia already on 3 points, each game becomes a must win for the favorites. US really needs to win both games and beat England in goal differential to win the group mainly because who would want to play Germany in the second round with as well as they are playing right now. Can't wait to see how Group C plays out. Stay tuned.
First penalty kick of the 2010 World Cup proves to be an important one as Ghana surges past a talented Serbian side. Ghana becomes first African nation to win a game on the African continent. There is no question that the most athletic footballers come from Africa, lots of players with pace and skill. Serbian players lost some composure midway through the second half and it resulted in a second yellow and a hand ball in their own box. Serbia had several quality chances that they missed or had saved by Ghana's GK who did well. Look for Ghana to run past Australia and into the second round. Ghana vs. Germany will be a treat as well. Serbia will need to regroup and get some help in order to advance.....stranger things have happened. They are good enough to win their remaining 2 games but likely to drop points somewhere.
Watching Germany in the opening round of the World Cup is like seeing a rerun of your favorite movie in which you already know the ending. The Germans consistently start very fast and score a lot of goals in their opening game. Today they scored 4 but could have had 6 - 8 against a struggling Australia side who was nowhere close to the 2006 World Cup quarterfinalist team we saw last tournament. Seeing Klose header for second goal was just like the 5 header goals he scored in the 2006 World Cup at home........Podolski netting the first goal was just like how he finished his last tournament as well. Germany was so convincing today that I would argue that they are the best team we have seen so far. They moved well on and off the ball, they used the whole field, they ran behind the Soccer Roos at will and also showed their finishing prowess. New favorite player = Mezut Ozil #8 ACM for Germany (his movement and creativity on the ball has the Aussies spinning all day!). So, Germany and Ghana in good positions to advance from Group D but much soccer still to be played. I really suggest that you watch Group D games closely moving forward as the potential USA opponent in the second round will be either first or second from this group. Germans will most likely win Group D, so the USA could get a rematch of their 2006 group game with Ghana if they can find away to win Group C outright. Go USA! Aussies future in tourney even dimmer with F Tim Cahill's straight red card as he will miss both remaining group games......uh, note to self, bring more than 3 forwards on your 23 man roster to the World Cup....you never know when your gonna need one. Klose now with 11 World Cup goals, 3 more ties the German record, 4 more tied the World Cup record, 5 more.........get on your golden boots!
Games to see on Monday!
Netherlands vs. Denmark at 7:00 AM (Group E game) Japan vs. Cameroon at 10 AM (Group E game) Italy vs. Paraguay at 2:30 PM (Group F game)
Thanks for reading. Some of the future's great players are emerging in these games. Let us know who your favorites are when you get a chance. UC Soccer Staff
We will from time to time include exerpts from some of our current players, former players, and friends of the UC Soccer program. I just got an email this morning from Ryan Lavigne, who just completed his first year with our program. He is native to the Cincinnati area and played his HS soccer at Sycamore.
He is traveling to South Africa for 3 weeks to experience the greatest game on the greatest stage.....this is his initial post:
"After 5 days of traveling with stops in new York and Doha
we finally made it to south Africa yesterday. The atmosphere on the plane was
great. Fans from all over filled the plane all wearing there jerseys and some
waving large flags. The airport was the same way. We watched the USA England
game at the bar at the guest house that were staying at. England has a serious
keeper issue, USA didn't look too bad. Our first game isn't until Denmark
vs. Holland tomorrow at twelve thirty but were headed to Johannesburg today. Will check
back in after the game." - Ryan Lavigne
Sorry for the delay of this post, still enjoying the World Cup festivities to the fullest. Story of the day was early goals.......all 3 games had a goal scored in the first 10 minutes of the game. Prepared but nervous on most occasions but nevertheless if forced some tactics to change and more teams had to really come out and play in order to try to equalize.
Very clear message sent to Group B that South Korea is for real. Organized in defense, quick and technical all over the pitch, good on the counter, dangerous on restarts......all the makings for good games ahead with Argentina and Nigeria. They could have beaten Greece by 4 goals today. As for Greece, long gone are the days of EURO 2004, they looked more like the 1994 Greece team that lost 3 games and gave up 10 goals in their last World Cup appearance. Playing a 4-3-3 without creating chances left plenty of space wide for South Korea to exploit throughout the day. Bad giveaway led to second goal but game was never really in doubt. Begin to think that South Korea will really give Argentina a good game later on so keep your eye on that one cause it will be for the Group B winner.
Diego Maradonna gets his first World Cup win as a coach and he still managed to get his hands on the ball several times throughout the game. Argentina were very entertaining with the ball, good passing and movement, Lionel Messi top class in the final third, especially on and around the ball. Argentina looked like they were in a 4-1-4-1 with both Messi and Tavez with a lot of free reign in midfield to move and find the ball. Argentina did not put Nigeria away and should have been punished for it, they barely kept their 1-0 margin and conceded several quality chances to Nigeria in transition and late in the game. They didn't get hurt today but a better team will hurt them later in the tournament if they don't close a team out with a second goal or a defensive stronghold. For Nigeria, their GK was awesome today. They are very athletic but not as cohesive and organized, they also lack a pure goal scorer which will be costly in the next games unless they figure it out.
Great result for the USA considering they didn't play their best game. USA caught in breakdown early leading to Gerrard goal. Robert Green GK error brought the USA back to level late in the first half. Overall, USA was less than convincing defending in the wide positions, back 4 not working cleanly enough to play against good teams. Tim Howard was a star today for the USA, he made several key saves to keep us in the game. US did decent job on Rooney, but were unable to take command on midfield in that flat 4-4-2 system. Better possession for parts in the first half, second half mostly defensive as England pressed and had too many restart opportunities. USA bent but didn't break down the stretch. Hopefully coaches will reassess starting 11 to see who will give us the best chance to win against Slovenia next Friday......now 3 points are a must. For England, just another WC draw. They will make a change in goal for sure, they got some good minutes from sub Wright-Phillips and Crouch and wide play was solid. Group C will still be a toss up despite whatever happens tomorrow morning.
Games to see on Sunday!
Slovenia vs. Algeria at 7:30 AM (another Group C game) Serbia vs. Ghana at 10 AM (Group D game) Germany vs. Australia at 2:30 PM (Group D game)
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to chime in and share your thoughts on this tournament. GO USA!
Ever wonder how many variables go into determining who should start in any game, not to mention a huge World Cup opening game against England. Bob Bradley has a dilemma on his hands.....he needs experienced, healthy players, who will match up well against the strengths of an England side who scored a lot of goals in qualifying. As players come in and out of form and health, he must put a core group that can execute the team tactics for the game as well......here is some news about the lineup so far.......
Knowing this info, now he will need to determine if winning midfield is most important or playing a system that was comfortable for them in qualifying will work best.
Here are some thoughts:
System 4-2-3-1 (will discuss below)
Tim Howard a lock as GK........most experienced GK in the best form.....he will need to make 1 or 2 big saves for his team tomorrow if they are going to have a chance to win.
Jonathan Spector at right back, Oguchi Onyewu and Jay Demerit in the center, Carlos Bocanegra on the left.....this unit will need to be better than they were at the end of qualifying because England's strength is in their attacking 6 players including the likes of Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Heskey, Lennon, Cole, etc........yea, these guys can all play and score.
Ricardo Clark and Michael Bradley in the center, playing behind Landon Donovan as a withdrawn forward or attacking central midfielder Clint Dempsey on the left side of midfield, Stuart Holden on the right side of midfield.....this unit is the strength of the US side, experienced players that create space and play well in transition......will need to secure loose balls,create 1v1s and generate good service chances as well.
Jozy Altidore as the lone forward. He is going to need some help to crack the John Terry led back line of England. Big fella, find some open space and open the game up. Hold the ball up for us so that we can get some players up there to help you. Why the 4-2-3-1? perhaps this system will allow Donovan to have the most space and influence in the game as it would allow either Bradley or Clark to come forward freely as long as the other holds the space in front of the backs.
Who will stop Wayne Rooney? They will have to do it collectively and try to keep him in front of them. Two sitting defensive midfielders might help protect the center backs from having too many Rooney back to goal scenarios. Is one forward too defensive a system? could be, however this system can expand to a 4-3-3 in attack and it is a great system to counter attack with. Other options would be to start Edson Buddle up top with Altidore and have 2 athletic goal scorers however Buddle and Findley have no WC caps between them and might be better served as subs to change the game later.
Based on England's weaknesses in the center of midfield defensively, Donovan could key the US attack in this system. England still have a new CB and an injured GK not in best form to adjust to. England will challenge the US defense especially on the flanks and in the restart game but the US have good attacking variables of speed and variety. Dempsey is more comfortable on left side where he can cut in like he does for Fulham. Later in game, he may move forward and we could see a DeMarcus Beasley enter in left midfield mainly due to his experience.
In qualifying, the US mainly played a 4-4-2 so let's not be surprised if it reappears. This system allowed them to have some measure of success last summer in South Africa as well. Let's hope that team shows up against England!
What are your thoughts? Add your predicted lineup and system before kickoff. We'll see what Bob Bradley is thinking once that lineup is announced. Let's all hope that the US boys are getting some good rest tonight. Go USA!
Interesting to note that understanding the rules of the game is an important part of being a fan. Goal scored by Mexico is the 36th minute was properly disallowed due to OFFSIDE in a unique circumstance. It is important to understand that there must be 2 defending players between the attacker and the goal if they are to receive a forward pass.....when SA GK left goal line and was on the 5 yard line when the cross was headed forward as a pass....this only left one SA defender on the goal line making that Mexican player who received the pass on the 4 yard line in an offside position. Any questions, contact FIFA.
Hope Thierry Henry doesn't think that he is going to get a hand ball called in this tourney! Especially if there is a center ref from Ireland. He's gonna have to earn his goals for Le Blues.
I am sure there will be plenty of calls discussed at the water coolers for the next month. So far so good, thanks ref.
Opportunity lost for either of these teams to take charge of the group. France didn't start Malouda or Henry and Anelka showed that he was playing in his first World Cup as he was less than dynamic. Costly yellow cards for France and a red card for Uruguay could factor in later in this group play.
Not a very good game to watch with most of the play in the midfield area. France will need to regroup as they face a very good Mexico side in the next game. Not surprised that Uruguay kept a clean sheet as their defense usually yields very little in this tournament.
Advantage to South Africa Bafana Bafana after Day 1 in Group A. Look for them to play with passion in the next 2 games. Everyone has something to play for.....top of the Group still open!
Ok. Stay tuned for tomorrow's matchups. Putting our US starting lineups together as well.
A very entertaining game to start the tournament. Impressive display by Mexico in first half and showed resilience being able to come back to equalize when the momentum changed in the second half. Mexico could have scored several times in the first half but South African GK Khune was up to the challenge.
What a wonderful opening goal by South Africa....classic counter attack goal with brilliant strike into far post upper 90. South Africa could have had 2 or 3 goals in that second half. This was a classic contrast is styles as Mexico was wide open attacking and possession style team and South Africa was more of an organized explosive counter attacking team. Good coaching by the Brazilian Parreira as he had Bafana Bafana ready to play.....they were causing Mexico fits in the defensive third.
Both of these teams will need to find a way to get 3 points in their next game if they'll want to advance. France may benefit nicely from this result in Group play.