7 July 2010

SPAIN 1 (Puyol 73)

Villa almost gave Spain the perfect start when he stretched to meet Pedro through ball, Neuer had his hands ready but missed the ball completely, it bounced off his left shin and out to Podolski. Spain worked a short corner, Iniesta swung a fantastic cross into the box, Bam Bam Puyol connected with a spectacular diving header but was a foot over. Ramos stamped on the top of Podolski's left foot. The ref, Viktor Kassai, saw it and of course did nothing. Trochowski, wrongly picked ahead of Kroos, had Germany's first shot on target, a grasscutter from 30 yards which Casillas parried for a corner. In first half injury time Klose turned Puyol and released Ozil, Ramos clipped him on the edge of the box, he went down inside it, no penalty. It should have been a free kick and a (second) yellow for Ramos.

Kroos replaced Trochowski on the hour mark and unfortunately for Germany his first touch was also Germany's best chance, a volley straight at Casillas. Spain were much improved in the second half but most of their 'chances' consisted of shots from the edge of the box. After all their pointless tikki-takki they scored from a corner, Bam Bam Puyol with a bullet header from a Xavi cross. Pedro should have finished Germany off on the break but for some bizarre decided to skin Friedrich twice, on the second occasion the defender got a touch with Torres unmarked in the centre. Torres was guilty of the same mistake four minutes later and once again it was Friedrich who got in a tackle with two Spaniards waiting in support.

An awful match. Germany failed to get their counter attacking game going, Schweinsteiger was so deep he wasn't able to support the others breaking forward which makes Trochowski's selection all the more perplexing. The third place play-off should give chances for Klose and Muller to finish as top scorers, and Forlan if he's fit. As for Spain this was trademark tikki-takki - boring, pointless, aimless possession, lots of square passing.

There will be a new name on the Jules Rimet trophy this Sunday. The game will be contested between the dirtiest teams in the tournament. The Dutch, with leg breaker Van Bommel and diver Robben and the Spanish with 'dirty' David Villa, Pedro and a host of other play-actors and divers. Hopefully the referee will be quick to stamp out any shenanigans and hopefully the Dutch will win.

Attendance : 60,960
Assist : Xavi (ck)

6 July 2010

URUGUAY 2 (Forlan 41, Maxi Pereira 92)
NETHERLANDS 3 (Van Bronckhorst 18, Sneijder 70, Robben 73)

There was an early chance for Kuyt after Muslera punched a Sneijder cross straight to him but he was way off target. Van Bommel ran at Gargano, jumped in the air and drove his left foot at the midfielders left knee, an appalling foul. He should have been shown six red cards in addition to the six yellows he should have got against Brazil. I wonder if FIFA will take action as the ref missed it. I wouldn't bet on it. Gargano got straight up. He's a f*cking hero. Holland's captain broke the deadlock with a sensational goal, a rocket shot from miles out on the left flank into the top right corner. There was a flashpoint in the 26th minute. The Dutch were defending a corner, Caceres attempted a dangerous overhead kick as De Zeeuw jumped to head clear, taking the full force of the defenders right boot straight to his mouth and landed very hard. Sneijder ran over and pushed Caceres in the face. Caceres was booked for dangerous play and Sneijder for the push. He was lucky the ref was in a lenient mood. The game was a lot like many other involving the Dutch in this tournament, the goal and boot to the face aside, dull, then suddenly Uruguay equalised. As Forlan tuned onto a ball he feigned to shoot, taking out two defenders, he changed direction and let rip with a brilliant left foot shot which went straight through Stekelenburg's hands. He should have saved it but it was a fantastic strike nonetheless.

Forlan brought a dull second half to life with an excellent free kick, this time Stekelenburg made no mistake, flying across goal to push the ball out for a throw-in. Van Persie, who has had a poor tournament, pulled down a longball and laid off a pass to Van der Vaart, who took a touch before blasting low towards the bottom corner, forcing Muslera into one of the saves of the tournament, Robben ballooned the rebounded high over the bar. Gargano overran a ball, as Van Bommel came into to challenge him, he jumped in with a forearm to the face, sending him crashing to the turf, the ref did nothing, at least he was consistent, but Gargano lost possession and Boulahrouz passed to Van der Vaart who neatly turned his marker before giving the ball to Sneijder, Sneijder spread the play wide to Robben, Robben dribbled past three players as he ran infield then gave the ball back to Van der Vaart who overhit a pass into Van Persie but he wriggled away from his markers and tried to play in Kuyt, who was in space on the left, Sneijder intercepted, took the ball onto his right foot, shot, the ball deflected off first Maxi Pereira then Victorino, past Van Persie (offside but not 'interfering' with play) and in off the post. If the Netherlands's first two goals were fortunate the third was pure footballing brilliance and came from ANOTHER throw-in, one of the most lethal weapons at this World Cup. The Dutch patiently spread the play from the right wing to the left, Kuyt lifted a cross into the box and Robben connected with a firm flick header into the bottom left corner. Robben blew an easy chance to score a fourth on the break. Forlan had been substituted on 84 minutes, with view to more goals in the 3rd place play off, but the Uruguayans had an another trick up their sleeve after Van Bommel, who else, gave away a free kick. As Gargano, who has a torturous shot from distance, began to run at the ball Maxi Pereira ran forward onto his pass and curled a shot into the bottom left corner. Brilliant goal.

A fantastic game of football. The Dutch were, overall, worthy winners though Van Bommel should have been red carded on 18 minutes. They need to watch their discipline in the final, Irmatov was extremely lenient in this match.

Uruguay, this tiny population who were the sports first superpower, have a very bright future. Even though Forlan will be hard to replace Suarez, Cavani (who didn't do himself justice), Muslera, Gargano, Godin and Fucile will be around for a long time.

Attendance : 62,479
Assists : n/a, Gargano, n/a, Kuyt, Gargano