PBPP: WC Observations from South Africa
What a shocking last few days
in this 2010 FIFA World Cup, with pre-tournament favorites Brazil now out,
along with in-tournament rising star Argentina. Despite the fact that Brazil played
so un-Brazilian-like in this tournament, I was still certain that they would
get to the final, and once there, would figure out a way to lift the trophy.
That was before they met the
Netherlands who became the only team to win a game at this World Cup after
trailing at halftime.
Where was the “beautiful
game” that Brazil had become famous for? For that, we’ll have to wait until 2014, when they host the World Cup with a new Head Coach.
As for Argentina, who saw
that pounding coming? After four consecutive wins, did anyone expect a 4-0 loss? I realize how good the Germans are, watching them closely in
two of their games that I called on ESPN Radio, but Saturday’s Argentina performance was embarrassing. The way Argentina was rolling during
this World Cup, some observers thought they had a shot to win it.
So on we go to the final four
of this World Cup, which now features three European teams and so many good stories.
Does Uruguay, the second smallest nation at this World Cup, return to glory? They were World Cup winners in 1930 and 1950.
Does a two-time World Cup runner-up like the Netherlands win their first World Cup trophy?
What about Germany, now in their third consecutive semifinal round. Is this the year they win their 4th World Cup, and first since 1990?
Or does Spain win the World Cup
for the very first time, and become the only team in tournament history to lose their first game and come back
to win the World Cup?
A quick thought or two on
each of these teams:
Uruguay has already overachieved. They should be void of pressure. Forlan will have to play even better on
Tuesday, with striker Luis Suarez (blatant
infamous handball vs Ghana) suspended for this game.
Germany has been one of the
most consistent teams at this World Cup, probably playing more as a team than
any other nation here.
Miroslav Klose again brings
his level up on the world’s largest stage. The Germans will be missing the suspended Thomas Muller in
their semifinal vs Spain, and that’s a huge loss. Muller, in my opinion is the revelation of this World Cup,
and right behind him is teammate Mesut Ozil.
Netherlands have a great
collection of stars and impact players. Is there a better duo left in
this tournament than Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder? How much did that Brazil comeback match
take out of this team? For sure,
the one thing they can’t do is take Uruguay lightly as the South American side is the surprise team in this
tournament, still without a loss.
Finally, we have Spain. Like Brazil, we haven’t seen them at
their best. Of the four teams
left, they have the best squad of 23. One could make the argument that of all 32 teams, Spain had the best roster. Having said that, where would they be
minus David Villa?
I will be most interested in
their lineup vs Germany. Will they
continue to go with the invisible Fernando Torres up front with David Villa, or
will they finally make a change? Whether he’s still hurt, or just rusty, this is not the Fernando Torres
that we have seen over the past few years.
Let’s hope for two good semifinal matches, void of controversy, if that’s not too much to ask.