World Cup – Monday 28th June

It’s not quite like watching Brazil

It’s kind of Brazil, but it isn’t. Sure it’s the same golden strip and many players go by glamorous single names but they have branched out and adopted the notion of “a defence”. Is this some kind of gimmick?

Results – Monday 28th June

Holland 2 – 1 Slovakia
    Brazil 3 – 0 Chile
Post Match Review
Ron Atkinson Holland haven’t been spectacular so far but they keep doing enough to win. They were always too good for Slovakia and it came down to the fact that they were able to field a team full of talented Dutch players. This in my view is where Fabio Capello went wrong on Sunday. You see he picked a team packed full of English players. If he had chosen Dutch players I can’t help feeling the result would have been different.

Brazil beat a useful Chile side quite comfortably. They have a very solid look about them with a great defence and flair when they need it up front. It will take a great team to beat them and her indoors has a fiver on them to win, which is the kiss of death. Stick to the dishes love! She makes a mean egg and chips mind.

Fixtures – Tuesday 29th June

Paraguay vs Japan
    Spain vs Portugal
Gazza’s Daily Football Factoids
 Here’s a curious fact for you. Did you know that the other 31 teams at this years world cup finals aside from England each come from different countries each with distinct cultures and identities? It’s true! Many England fans will be surprised by this due to a popular notion that all of the other teams are basically all the same and from a single “foreign country”.
Scientific Siegfried’s Rational Assessment Of Football Results
Scientific Siegfried Guten abend. Here ist my assessment of the probabilistic outcome of tomorrows football games.

There is a low statistical variance between team Paraguay and team Japan. The matching ist gutt and I expect there to be extra time. Japan, zey vill then be victorious. Next Spain against Portugal. There will be irrational sentiment in regard to the physical co-location of these nations. This is irrelevant and the players are fools. For this stupidity there may be the “early wash” as you say for some players. This match is also very close and hard to foretell. Based on the available data I predict Spain to win.

That is all. Now I must eat some black forest gatteau.

Pre Match Comment
In the first of tomorrows games Paraguay take on Japan in a match of the underdogs. Neither team would have been expected to reach the quarter finals but that will be the prize for the winner. Both teams have got this far on merit and each will feel they can win. No Asian team has ever beaten a South American team in a world cup final game but that record may be about to come to an end. There could be dancing in the streets of Tokyo.

The evening kick off in Cape Town sees the mouth watering tie of Spain against Portugal. Spain look formidable and the conventional view of Portugal is that they are past their best, but they have conceded just one goal in 12 internationals and Ronaldo has the look of a man on a mission. Throw in the “local derby” factor and who knows what to expect.

View from the sofa

Brazil. Football. Flair. Glamour. Beauty. Youth. Expression. Joy. All words that mean the same thing. Why do we think of Brazil in these terms? They have produced an endless line of iconic footballing names over the decades like Pele, Jairzihno, Rivelino, Socrates, Zico, Falcao, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Kaka, etc, etc, etc. It’s a brand and yet more than a brand. For Brazilians it really is a way of life – cliché or not.

We associate Brazil with all-out attacking football, irrepressible passing movements and casual as you like genius but the balance of power has shifted at international level. The cavalier charge forward has been tempered by a more balanced team approach that takes such concepts as “defending” seriously. This world cup we have seen full backs Maicon and Bastos terrorising defences at the nose-bleed end of the pitch but this hasn’t resulted in yawning England style gaps in their own defence. The 2010 Brazilian team can tackle, can mark, can track back – notions alien to their predecessors. In fact they have the best defence at this world cup based on what I have seen.

Yes they have an array of world class creative attacking talent at their disposal but for my money it is their defence that will provide them with the platform they need to mount a very serious challenge for this World Cup. Going into the competition I had them as second favourites behind Spain but based on what I have seen they have looked the strongest outfit on show, narrowly ahead of Argentina, with Spain and Holland not far behind.

So it’s Brazil but not as we know it. A new formula. A winning formula? We will soon find out.