On a day Roger Federer was almost humiliated by an unknown Colombian in Wimbledon’s first round, there were no surprises in the final day of round two in the World Cup group stage. Portugal struggled at first, but eventually demolished North Korea with a 7-0 crushing, with six different players scoring for the Portuguese. Chile were impressive again, but failed to score more than one goal against a 10 man Switzerland team, who’ll probably need a win against Honduras to make it into the next round. Finally, Spain got their first points, easily beating Honduras 2-0 with a David Villa brace but should have made it much more.
North Korea were a bit disillusioned by losing only 2-1 to Brazil, thinking they can get anything from their match against Portugal if they open things up a bit. Wrong. They did get some long range threats at Eduardo’s goal, but were easily swept aside by an efficient Portugal side,with Fabio Conterao, Simao, Raul Meireles and yes, a bit of Ronaldo, showing some impressive footy. North Korea are out, and who knows how welcome they’ll be when they come back. Portugal are pretty much safe with their fantastic goal difference, unless they lose to Brazil and the Ivory Coast wins 8-0 or more.
Yes, Valon Behrami’s sending off wasn’t exactly the greatest referee decision in the world, but still, Switzerland never really tried to attack before they were reduced to 10 men. Alexis Sanchez, Matias Fernandez and Jorge Valdivia had another good outing which needed more concentration in front of goal, but eventually Mauricio Isla’s cross found Mark Gonzalez to get Chile their deserved 1-0 and needing a draw to finish on top of the group against Spain.
Switzerland have 3 points after Spain and Chile, and will probably look completely different against Honduras, attempting to get as many goals as possible. Not sure if they have what it takes for a big win.
Honduras, unlike Switzerland or North Korea (in the Brazil match), did try and play against Spain. Problem is, they are not a very good team. Del Bosque made the right choice, starting with two strikers, and although Torres was off everytime he had a chance, David Villa was there to give Spain a 2-0 win, that should have been much more.
They did have dead moments in their game, but it was much better than against Switzerland, giving the team a much needed confidence boost against their match with Chile, needing a win, probably.
Villa scored the best goal of the World Cup so far, beating two players with a quick dazzling trick and had enough balance to score while falling down while covered by a Honduran defender. He needed help on the second one, as his shot got a touch of deflection from the Honduran defense. The penalty – he sent the keeper the way he wanted him to, but missed the post by centimeters.
And the miss…
1. Brazil, 6 points (5-2)
2. Portugal, 4 points (7-0)
3. Ivory Coast, 1 point (1-3)
4. North Korea, 0 points (1-9)
1. Chile, 6 points (2-0)
2. Spain 3 points (2-1)
3. Switzerland, 3 points (1-1)
4. Honduras, 0 points (0-3)
1. Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina) – 3 Goals
2. Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Asamoah Gyan (Ghana), Elano & Luis Fabiano (Brazil), Tiago (Portugal), David Villa (Spain) – 2 Goals
3. 52 Players with one goal, 2 own goals
Picture of the Day – Pique’s Bandaged Mouth
Fan of the Day – Sara Carbonero
What We’ve Learned
North Korea – Not up to this level. I was actually happy to see the drubbing they got, we need games like this once in a while. A lot of people thought North Korea could be a legitimate threat after the trouble they gave Brazil. They just proved that playing with 11 men defending can work for any team, to a certain point.
Portugal – Got some confidence in them, despite the horribly weak opponents. Cristiano Ronaldo seemed happy, eventually, after getting one on his own, which is very important for the next stage, which I can’t believe they’ll miss. Simao looked good, and Fabio Conterao was the man of the match. Should be a hell of a match against Brazil.
Chile – Gotta start scoring more. They create tons of chances (19 attempts this match) but lack sharpness and concentration in the red zone. Alexis Sanchez had another brilliant game. Valdivia should start, not come in after 45 minutes.
Switzerland – What worked against a confused Spanish team didn’t work against the quick Chileans. Didn’t put Chile at risk for the whole 90 minutes, and now have to score, big time, against Honduras. Not sure they can. Don’t think they deserve too as well. Lichtsteiner was pathetic with his faking. Big drop from his excellent first match.
Spain – Looked much better against a soft Honduras side. Torres wasn’t sharp, but he’ll get there. Villa was excellent and should have finished with three or four goals. Still, something about Casillas worries me. Maybe, if you play to Barca CB’s, you should go with a Barca keeper, Valdez. Chile – Spain could be the best match of the group stage if both teams play their usual style.
Honduras – Need to enjoy their final match. Not good enough to get a first win.
Mexico – Uruguay, France – South Africa – Mexico and Uruguay can settle for a draw, which usually happens when both teams need one, but there’s a chance that the fright of landing Argentina in the next stage will force Mexico to try and win this one. Still, don’t get your hopes up on too many goals. South Africa still have a shot, and will probably try and use their limited Arsenal and make this a disaster World Cup for the disgruntled French, who can’t wait for this nightmare to be over. But who knows, maybe this player revolt will bring out the talent in the squad.
Nigeria – South Korea, Argentina – Greece – South Korea need points, but will play their usual counter attacking style against the African side that seemed broken after the loss to Nigeria. Argentina shouldn’t have trouble with Greece, who will fight to get a point, but probably need a win to get through the group stage.