24 Down, 8 left standing. The last 16 games have now concluded and we have seen our first penalty shoot out of the tournament. Yuichi Komano was the unlucky candidate who missed Japan’s 3rd penalty handing the advantage to Paraguay, who took full advantage and dumped Japan out of the competition with an impressive 5 from 5 spot kicks. Komano rattled the cross bar with his effort. What do they say, 12 yards of skill, 69 yards of courage needed in a penalty shoot out, Komano can stand proud that he had the courage to take a kick, sadly for him and Japan, there has to be a runner up.
Last night saw Portugal
leave the competition also following a 1-0 defeat at the hands of an impressive Spanish side. In truth the score line flattered Portugal who didn’t appear to have a game plan, especially at 1-0 down, then failed to make any impression on the Spanish goal with talisman Ronaldo left out in the cold on his own as a single point of attack. He is another who failed to impress on the big stage while his Iberian counterpart David Villa showed once again why he would be first on any team sheet. Another goal in a crucial game taking his tally to 4 and a solid contender for the golden boot award.
As for the quarter finals taking place on 2nd and 3rd of July respectively, we have the mouth watering prospect of Holland v’s Brazil and Argentina v’s Germany. Spain arguably have the easiest route to the semi final taking on Paraguay, although will meet the winner of Argentina and Germany when they surely get there.
So its hotting up now and we really have sorted the wheat from the Chaff. As far as predictions go, I can see Brazil, Spain
, Argentina and Uruguay making the semi final’s and I’ll stick my neck out and say a Brazil v’s Spain final.
As for other matters football related, in a revelation Sepp Blatter has apologized to England
and Mexico for what he called “evident referee mistakes” and went on to say that the case for technology in football would be re-opened at a FIFA meeting in July of this month. The English FA and Mexican FA have accepted the apology, although in truth is of little benefit now they are out of the competition.
As for what else might be on the agenda for the FIFA meeting, the sooner they stamp out play acting from the player the better. Sadly we saw another incident last night with Spain defender Joan Capdevila taking a tumble after apparently being intentionally elbowed in the head by Portugal striker Costa, and the referee producing a red card. The video evidence and Capdevila’s miraculous recovery would suggest otherwise. These are match changing incidents and players that dive, play act and fake injury to gain an advantage should suffer the same fate as those that commit fouls, ban them and they will soon learn.
Quarter Final Predictions
Netherlands 1 - 3 Brazil
Uruguay 2 - 0 Ghana
Argentina 2 - 1 Germany
Paraguay 0 - 3 Spain