Thursday, June 15, 2006

THE WORLD CUP SO FAR...

Inspired performances

Let's talk about some inspired performances for a minute. Japan, leading Australia (via a cheap goal, but a goal nonetheless) by 1 goal to nil for basically the whole match, basically seems to be cruising and looking to shut the door by the 84th minute, right? Well, if Jeanie Zelasko, or however the hell you spell her name were doing commentary with Joe Buck, they'd be talking about how Australia STILL has not scored a goal in World Cup, and how they STILL do not have a World Cup win. Maybe they'd even take a little of our precious time to chronicle Australia's World Cup futility. Japan's got it in the bag at minute 84, right? No so, according to Tim Cahill, a phenomenal Aussie midfielder (and one of the reasons that Everton will be near the top of the EPL next year). Cahill, on in the 51st minute as a sub, found himself in the right place at the right time after a scrum in front of Japan's goal. All that was left to do is for Cahill to kick it in and we have a tie game. Australia's first World Cup goal, done. Good show, game ends in a tie, right? Not so, according to Cahill. In the 89th minute, Cahill finds himself in a position to make a powerful strike at the top of Japan's area, and sends the ball into the back of the net. 2-1 Australia. Amazing! Australia's first World Cup victory, which was actually a 3-1 win after a third goal in stoppage time. Inspired performance indeed. This also leaves Australia as the team to beat in their group.

Who else is in their group? If I'm going to talk about inspiring performances, I'm going to talk about Brazil. The team that is chock full of superstars took the pitch today vs. Croatia. Croatia, unbeknownst to many, is an up and coming soccer power. They showed it on the pitch today with a brave fight, however, a 1-0 loss was the fate of the men in checks. Ronaldinho, the best player in the world, was masterful, playing truly great football. The coup-de-grace came in the 44th minute, a dagger before the half, by Milan star Kaka. His play was not ka-ka as the speedy midfielder continues to impress. Croatia had several bright points in this match, with Rangers FC striker Dado Prso the man to beat up front, and athletci save after save by the Croatian keeper. My prediction is this, Australia continues with their momentum to a well-played loss to Brazil and a tie vs. Croatia, earning them a possible spot in the round of 16.

In the uninspired play category, I give you the USA. In what was apparently to be taken as a warmup match vs. the Czech Republic, the US decided to hang out in the midfield and do not much. No attacking and no defense, just lazing around out there, while Tomas Rosicky shined. Rosicky knocked in two goals in what can only be described as a frustrating night for Bruce's boys. Don't get me started on Landon Donovan, who continues to leave me unimpressed. I look forward to the match vs. Italy on Saturday, mainly as the New England Revolution star Clint Dempsey will be taking the pitch. The unimpressive DeMarcus Beasley will be sitting down. The US needs to beat Italy, otherwise, the American people will continue to greet soccer and their national team with a lukewarm reception.

-Brigs

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