For the defending champions, last nights performance was not a show of the ‘bellissimo game’. Granted, their victory 4 years ago not much easier on the eye, but the difference this time around was that they did not grind out the result. Any self respecting Italian supporter would have expected nothing less than a win over Paraguay. Another prediction up in smoke there then! And that’s not taking anything away from the South Americans, who have a talented squad and should qualify alongside Italy
with relative ease.
As for the other games yesterday, Holland also failed to impress and needed a rather large slice of good fortune when the Danish defender Daniel Agger found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time when is centre half partner guided his header into his own net via Agger’s leg. A late goal from the Dutch sealed what was a pretty uninspiring performance, but 3 points is 3 points and Holland look good for the later stages.
But why are we not seeing more goals? FIFA promised that the new ball would move around in the air more and cause more problems for goal keepers. Sure we have seen a few spills, the most notable in the press from England Rob Green as was the highest profile blunder, but costly errors from the Paraguay and Slovenia shot stoppers has cost others dearly also. With lots of the big guns having played and only Germany able to score more than 2 in a game, this World Cup is in danger of being a bit of a let down. Will Brazil, Spain
light up the score sheets in the closing games of the first round of group games? Let’s hope so!
I’m going to stick my neck out here and predict that 12 goals will be scored today, that’s averaging 4 per game!! Game of the day for me should be Ivory Coast v Portugal. With Didier Drogba, a hot tip for golden boot cleared to play in a cast after fracturing his arm in a warm up match, he goes toe to toe with his former Manchester United nemesis Christiano Rolando one more. If this game cannot produce some fireworks, I’m not sure what will!
New Zealand 1 – 1 Slovakia
Ivory Coast 2 – 3 Portugal
Brazil 5 – 0 North Korea (yes that's a 5 goal drubbing predicted)!