Some fun and games..
1) The best German side we’ve seen for a long, long time, albeit not yet constant enough. Müller-Ozil, wonderful tandem, technique, speed, oozing intelligence and creativity, just awesome, quite un-German like, even. But will they win when they have an off-day, which they will..
2) So far, our money was on Argentina as they created like 20 goal opportunities per match (albeit not very effective in converting these to actual goals). Not so against Mexico (a handful, at most), and perhaps the previous matches they looked so good because the opposition was so weak. Remains to be seen, will be interesting against Germany. Argentina was pretty lucky against Mexico, something Maradona wouldn’t recognize at all.
We still have a hard time taking Maradona seriously though. He hangs out with Chavez and Castro (although that’s somewhat less surprising if you consider where he’s coming from).
3) Cruyff was right (he usually is). England cannot win with Capello (he said that before the worldcup even began), although by the looks of it, they can’t win with anyone at the helm, not even Cruyff himself. Curious. Or perhaps not, if you have to rely on the likes of Heskey or that late standin from Liverpool at the back..
4) Spain (our pre-tournament favourite) has not convinced us at all, apparently Barcelona minus Messi plus Villa and that number 4 from Madrid (Javi Alonso) is still quite a few shades below the real product. They have their work cut out against Portugal, always a difficult team to beat (more especially for us, it’s our angstgegner)
5) Holland hasn’t shown anythingmuch yet. Certainly not the supposedly total football attacking game they’re known for (but haven’t really practised for a couple of generations, at least not successfully). Can’t see them beat Brazil (if they even get there), too much depends on Robben. Brazil is like Portugal, very very difficult to beat, although a far cry from the juogo bonito (they haven’t deserved that since the early 1980s).
Holland created just a couple of goal opportunities per match, which they have mostly converted (helped in no small matter by a considerable amount of luck). But if you create so few chances against weaker teams, can you expect to do better against the likes of Brazil?
But then again, luck is always a big factor. Look at how Mexico disintegrated temporarily after that silly goal. Or we remember that ridiculous penalty awarded to Italy against Australia inthe 93d minute the previous world cup. The rest is history, as they say..
6) Too bad Paraguay doesn’t have their best player (he got shot in the head, too bad). We saw Cabañas running rings around a hapless Argentinian defence in qualification, and we’d never even heard of the guy..
7) USA, too bad. They would have had a relatively light run to the semi’s.. Now it’s Uruguay’s turn, although they can’t get any further than that, but for such a small country, that’s quite an achievement.
8) Italy. If you take such an old team (next time they’re going to turn up with Gianni Rivera and Sandro Mazzola), they might as well have taken Totti and Del Piero. At least you have some creativity. Sorely lacking that. Italian football seems doomed. Half empty stadiums. Too many foreign players. Whimsical owners. Severe hooligan problems. Corruption. OK, Inter won the Champions League. But with how many Italians?
9) A cheer for Africa! Well organized stuff. Too bad about the weather.
10) Will Argentina become world champion without Messi having scored even a single goal? What are the odds on that, we would like to know..
11) Louis van Gaal reached the final of the Champions League with Bayern München, paraded as the king of Germany, but he’s now exposed as highly overrated. They were lucky to get there in the first place (they should have lost both the quarter finals against a rather modest Fiorentina, and the semi’s against ManU). To his credit, van Gaal has acknowledged that. But too much depended on Robben. Now look what Läw has done without Robben, but with many of the same players. Can Özil really make that much of a difference? Perhaps not, which leaves Läw..