Apologies for the lack of posts in the past week, the real world has gotten the best of me. We are back now though and are offering our thoughts of the first 10 days of the World Cup.
It has been a strange tournament for sure. One with few goals, some poor goalkeeping, and some below quality football. That said, the second round of matches in the Group Stage have been much improved and the hope is as the tournament carries on, the product on the pitch will become better and better.
It is sad for neutrals that South Africa look real longshots to continue in the tournament. They have a chance and in football anything is possible, however it does appear that they will become the first ever host not to advance to the knockout rounds. This after a fantastic start to the tournament where they took the lead against Mexico on what will arguably be the best goal of the tournament by Siphiwe Tshabalala. Unfortunately they couldn’t hold on for a key victory and then lost to Uruguay.
Argentina have perhaps been the best team of the tournament thus far, though in reality none of the big teams have impressed entirely. In fact, this could be the tournament of the middle-men as the traditional powers including France, Italy, England, Germany, and Spain all go into there final match needing a result in order to advance.
With Chile, Switzerland, South Korea, Uruguay, Ghana, Serbia, Greece, Japan, and Denmark all picking up wins and all in with a chance at the second round, it really is shaping up to be an intriguing tournament. These will all be teams to watch for as no clear favorite has emerged from the big sides.
Here’s our pick of the tournament’s best and worst thus far:
Match of the World Cup
1. Slovenia-USA 2-2 A fantastic match that saw the Slovenians own the first half before the US came back in the second half to tie the match and look to win it before a third goal was wrongly disallowed.
2. Italy-New Zealand 1-1 The shock of the tournament for us here at OGOW. Unless you were Italian you had to be cheering for the Kiwis who were superb and were full value for the point that will go down as their nation’s greatest ever result.
3. Cameroon-Denmark 1-2 and Greece-Nigeria 2-1 The only two matches thus far that have featured comebacks for victories. The Danes scored two fantastic goals on the break to turn the match around while the Greeks scored their first World Cup goals ever in overturning an early deficit.
1. Siphiwe Tshbalala (South Africa) vs Mexico: As we stated above Siphiwe Tshabalala’s wonder strike against Mexico is the one to beat we think. A superb move that had an amazing finish into the top corner.
2. Gabriel Heinze (Argentina) vs. Nigeria: The best header of the tournament this far, Heinze’s diving header from a corner that gave Argentina the three points from their opener.
3. Landon Donovan (United States) vs Slovenia, Valter Birsa (Slovenia) vs United States: A tie for third here in the best match of the tournament so far. Donovan’s close-range laser helped kick-start an American comeback while Birsa’s left-footed strike is the best long-range strike of the tournament thus far.
Check back in the coming days for more coverage on the World Cup as the tournament heads into the crucial third and final matches of the Group Stage.