long way round

2010 World Cup: Round of 16 Review Part 2

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It's no surprise that Brazil has beaten a lackluster Chile in the round of 16. But the manner in which they have done is anything but Brazilian. A standard corner kick was met by Juan's not-so-large head to open up the scoring for the Brazilians. Alexi Lalas praised Brazil for their wonderful display, and deftly opined that the Brazilians are big and tough. Unfortunately Brazil is not known for their size, nor for their physique, but rather for their guile and somewhat "soft" play. Yes, that's right. Until Alexi Lalas hangs up his mic, I will not tire in pointing out his inferior commenting and analysis of the game. For those of you who may not know what to compare with, just think of Alexi Lalas as the equivalent of Bill Walton of soccer. How many times have you seen a crap play and hear Bill Walton say something that is clearly biased towards the center position? "He is so big and strong in the paint" (a center who manages to put the ball in the basket in a crowded area, aka doing his job). "One of the greatest players ever to play the game!" (any center who is playing a decent game at the moment). "What display of skill!" (a center landing a bunny). 

Meanwhile, across the pond, the folks at the Guardian lamented that the cross was the fault of the Chilean defense rather than a truly "beautiful goal." Everyone is bemoaning the fact that Brazil, molded after their coach, no longer subscribes to Jogo Bonito, but rather on defense and counter-attacks a la Mourinho. Do we really want to see more Mourinho-esque football? Did anyone truly believe that the Champions League final between Bayern and Inter was mesmerizing (besides the individual brilliance of Milito)? Brazil as national conscience care as much about winning as they do about the manner in which they win, but from the likes of it, an ugly defensive-minded game with a quick counter will look to win the World Cup this year. The flat top crew cut of Dunga should've alarmed everyone of this. 

If They Were True Samurais, They Would Contemplate Seppuku 
Although Japan was the other nation to make it to the round of 16, there were probably hardly any Koreans actually rooting for Japan. This means, Japan would have to go it alone if they were going to make it. And make it they did not. The Brazil v. Chile game was a cracker of a match compared to the lifeless game that Japan and Paraguay displayed. But perhaps it was not as atrocious as the Algeria v. Slovenia game, which if you happened to have devoted 90 odd minutes of your life to watching that match, you would never be able to recoup that loss ever again in the history of the world. 

To be fair, Japan was the more spirited side, although they were never able to capitalize on their chances. Paraguay, or more specifically "The Most Beautiful Footballer In The World" (Roque Santa Cruz), was dismal in their performance. Had not the coach substituted him out for Oscar Cardozo, Paraguay would have probably lost in penalties. But going back to Japan, despite their best efforts, they were not able to beat a mediocre team of Paraguayans. And when the pressure mounted, Yuichi Komano couldn't deliver. Good thing they're not really samurais. So the debate rages on, whether Korea is better or Japan. The likelihood of settling this is slimmer than the likelihood of figuring out who's land is Dokdo Island. 

His Name Is David Villa
If you didn't know his name because you were too busy familiarizing yourself with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo, then you can forget those names now and just remember one: David Villa. He has singlehandedly captured the imagination of everyone watching the world cup with his performance so far. With four goals so far to his name, Villa looks to be a front-runner for the Golden Ball. And what a contrast he was to Cristiano Ronaldo, who seemed to be busy looking the part than actually being the part. Perhaps it is the gel on his hair, or the awareness of every single camera on the pitch capturing his every move, or maybe it's the curse of the Nike commercial, but CR looked quite dazed and confused. He was busy complaining about non-calls than he was about playing football. Meanwhile, David Villa was literally everywhere on the pitch, hustling back when he needed to, then sneakily moving from left to right and at the crucial moment freeing himself up to receive a pass for the kill. A true predator. And what better way to shine than on the world cup? All his "quiet" years in Valencia are now paid off million times over, as he will start the new season with The Yankees Real Madrid. 

Don't worry friends. The lull is almost over. I know your body is uncontrollably twitching and you can't stand the fact that there is no football to watch during work hours, and that you don't have to sneak away to a pub nearby to watch more World Cup.  In two days, it will be the best weekend ever. Dream match-ups between Argentina and Germany, and Netherlands and Brazil. If I'm going to stay on top of my bracket I'd want Germany and Brazil to win, but if I want to follow what's right in the world, I'd want Germany and the Dutch. And how is it that a country where hash brownies and the finest ganja is legally consumable have such technically superior and beautiful football? I want to visit now. 

And now, I present to you, the nutmeg of all nutmegs:

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Written by shindz

July 1, 2010 at 7:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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