It’s been 19 straight days of between 2-4 games per day and now…nothing for three days! At least I managed to talk the organizers of the Seattle Sounders tournament at the Starfire Soccer Complex out of scheduling us during the actual final on the 11th. I’ll be down there with my U14 Girls Coastal Y-League team and they were initially saying they were going to schedule around the Sounders game that night at Qwest rather than the World Cup Final. I wasn’t impressed.
Anyways, Paraguay and Spain will round out the quarter finalists. I couldn’t tell you much about the Paraguay v Japan game because even just typing it now ……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz makes me narcoleptic. Horrendous. I have Paraguay as a dark horse to do well but based on that I can’t see Spain having much of a problem with them.
Spain, on the other hand, while looking very composed and self assured against Portugal today really only sparked to life when Torres came off and Llorente came on. He almost scored with his first touch and seemed to draw attention to the point that Villa got enough space at the top of the box to receive a pass (although he was only onside by the narrowest of margins after Xavi’s rollback with the sole of his boot) and score. If you pause it when Iniesta gets control at the top of the box, there are no fewer than six Portuguese defenders encircling Llorente while Villa drifts perfectly to a position where Iniesta, through Xavi, can find him.
It’s also worth noting the perfection of Villa’s approach to this goal. He finds the space, stays onside and lets the ball come across his body to his weaker left foot so he ensures he’ll get his strike away. He then has the presence to stay balanced and get his own rebound while boxing out the defender behind him so he can get the touch, now with his right foot, over the sprawled Eduardo in goal. A consummate striker’s goal.
If my first round picks had been as good as my second round picks (got all but Ghana right) I’d be in the mix for some pool money but didn’t see Italy, France Serbia or Denmark going out so soon.
Here’s my picks for the next round:
Ghana over Uruguay: Ghana keeper Kingson has the ability to be the difference and will have to be to keep Forlan and Suarez off the scoresheet.
Brazil over Netherlands in pk’s: I think it will, sadly, be dull with few chances and Julio Cesar will be the hero in penalties.
Argentina over Germany: This game is my hope for game of the tourney. They will both see each other’s defense as their weakness and look to attack. Really though, under Maradona, Argentina know no other approach but to attack.
Spain over Paraguay: Paraguay feel they are a team of destiny now. It doesn’t matter. Spain are too deep and too good and have all their players available to them.