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World Cup 2010: First round complete, what did we learn?

Wolfburg's Diego Benaglio stood on his head in the Swiss goal against Spain.

For the last four years, we have been waiting for the World Cup to start. And now since it has started, we have been waiting for the first round of games to finish so we can get an idea of who is where.

The first round didn’t seem to disappoint. Germany came into the tournament on fire, with a 4-0 win over Australia. On the other hand, Switzerland gave Spain a big run for their money. Most of the other games played out in a predictable fashion, but some with an unpredictable result.

So, lets look at the first round of games so far in the World Cup 2010.

Best Games – 1st round

3rd – United States vs. England – Yes, I know that many of you wanted this game to be 1st, but it isn’t. The United States played England pretty evenly. And even if Robert Green did mess up on the US goal, it was still good competition all the way around. This was one of the most anticipated games of the first match and didn’t disappoint.

2nd – Italy vs. Paraguay – Well, Italy pulls an “Italy”. It always seems like they are losing a game, but somehow, someway, are able to pull some points (in this case one point) out of their pocket. The defending champions should have lost this game. Daniele De Rossi scored in the 63rd minute for Italy, leveling the game. Still, Paraguay looked as strong as ever and should have taken the three points. A great game through and through.

1st – Spain vs. Switzerland – How could this “not” be the best game this past week. Not only was it the best game so far in this World Cup, it is one of the biggest upsets of all time in the World Cup. Many people expected Switzerland to maybe make some noise in this group, but not this big. With a 1-0 win against the Spaniards, Switzerland is now looking to win their group outright. Easily the best game of the tournament.

Worse Game of the World Cup

France vs. Uruguay – I’m a France supporter, and this was painful to watch. Easily one of the most boring games I have seen in recent history. No real good chances on goal, nothing special. Passing looked like crap. Nothing at all was exciting about this game. France didn’t show us any reason why they should be a contender for the World Cup. Neither did Uruguay. If Americans consider soccer “boring”, they could easily be right, if they based it on this match.

Biggest Surprise

SwizterlandThey are the easy choice. Defeating Spain 1-0. I don’t really need to say any more than that.

Biggest Upset

Australia – This is a team, like Switzerland, that people though could make a little bit of noise. Instead, they are killed by German 4-0. Most people expected Germany to win this match, but I think many also expected Australia to fight a little more. The Australia defense looked horrible, with German strikers constantly sneaking behind their lines. This loss has pretty much booked the Socceroos ticket back to Sydney. And, just like Italy, Germany somehow, someway, finds a way to win in the World Cup.

Best Player

Diego Benaglio – Shot after shot, Spain tried to get a ball past the Swiss goalkeeper. And shot after shot, Spain was denied. While Spain didn’t win the match, they still piled on the offensive pressure, even until the end when they were given a “Fergie Time” type five minutes added at the end. Still, it wasn’t enough to get the ball past Benaglio. Stephane Grichting of Auxerre also had a great game, helping Benaglio clearing the ball when Spain continued to pressure.

Worse Player

Nicolas Anelka – The “so-called superstar” for Chelsea, the man who can score all those goals in the EPL, continued to show why he has never been called up by the French team in World Cup competition. If he isn’t hogging the pass (not passing it), he is out of position. He was a so-called striker during the game against Uruguay, yet he was almost playing like a central midfielder. Yoann Gourcuff, who is a midfielder, pressured more offensively than Anelka. there is talk that Anelka is moving to the right for the game tomorrow against Mexico, but it doesn’t matter, really.

Possible Upset for Next Round

North Korea defeats Portugal – If the Thierry Henry handball incident didn’t happen, we wouldn’t be talking about how lucky France was to qualify for the World Cup. We would be talking about Portugal instead. This isn’t the team of Figo, Couto, Pauleta or Costa anymore. This is a team that is far less experienced, and filled with bigger egos. They played horrible in qualifying, and they continue to play poorly in the World Cup.

On the other hand, North Korea played a decent game against Brazil. Time after time, they added pressure on Brazil offensively. In addition, they rarely gave Brazil any good, or close, chances on goal. If you can keep Brazil from breaking, then you have a chance against them, as North Korea proved. And if Macion didn’t have that “Steve Carlton like” curveball goal, then the DPR might have drawn against Brazil.

We will see if they can pull it off against Portugal in this upcoming round.

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One Response

  1. Very interesting article, i was thinking the same thing about the North Korea and Portugal game.

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