Monday, June 26, 2006

Great Quarterfinals

The first matches of the last-16 were played this weekend. Germany was excellent against a tame Swedish side, although they only won 2-0. Sweden has really been one of the most over-estimated side of the torunament, and will hardly be missed.
Argentina-Mexico was as expected, a difficult match for the Argentinians. The Mexicans, who have not been very impressive, put up a good match against Argentina, who was somewhat disappointing. However, Maxi Rodriguez gave Argentina the victory with a stunning strike! One of the best goals of the tournament.
Now, we will get a classic clash in the quarterfinal: Germany-Argentina! Not only is is a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals, but it is also a game between two of the favourites for the title. It is an encounter every football fan will wait for. And I hope Argentina prevails...

England was again not impressive against little Ecuador, although winning a narrow 1-0. Two things saved England: Ashley Cole's tackle in the first half, and David Beckham's great free-kick. As before, England needs to play much better if they are to hope to defeat any of the big teams.
Portugal-Netherlands was a true knock-out drama, ending in disgrace for both teams. Netherlands confirmed that in spite of many great players, they have not managed to pull a team together at all - making you wonder about Dutch football. The Portuguese won, but it was a hard won victory, ending in disgrace: two red cards for each game, and Portugal will be missing Deco, Costinha and Cristiano Ronaldo against England. In spite of this, England-Portugal promises to be another drama, a repeat of their quarterfinal clash in the 2004 European Championship, where Portugal won a dramatic victory after penalty kicks.
The best thing for now about this World Cup, is that we are getting these huge classic encounters in the quarterfinals. Already a Spain-France tomorrow, and possibly a Brazil-Spain in the quarterfinals! This is football for giants!

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