Originally posted here on my ancient blog site.
Germany Vs Sweden:2-0
The Game began in a very rigorous fashion.Both teams were all charged up.Germany as it has been throughout the tournament,struckearly.Whats more,The two basically polish strikers seem to be in competition.Podolski scores twice,just as Klose did in two of the group stage matches.
With 2 goals under six minutes,Germany seemed to be overwhelming sweden altogether.And whats more,by the 35th minute Teddy Lucicmanaged to collect two yellow cards and was frankly shown the exit.Oneof the main features of the match was Ballack’s frustration.This guy sets up goals and everybody else gets the credit.This time he wanted atleast one for himself.But that was not to be.Tried lots of shots from 30 and 40 yards but only managed to come Klose;).Larsson sweden’s favourite son couldn’t have asked for more when he was fouled in the box and was awarded a penalty.But fate had it otherwise,It was not be sweden’s day at all.Larsson missed it and joined the league of great players likeBaggio(World cup-1994),Beckham(Euro-2004)
etc.who missed critical penalty shots.
In conclusion,should say Isaksson had a tough job to do.But for his wonderful saves sweden would not only exit,but exit in shame.
Germans ofcourse were flawless.
Argentina Vs Mexico:2-1
Another game of passionate football.Mexico had nothing to loose.Theywere definitely the underdogs.But everybody in the team seemed to have found their class finally.They did play like the world no.4 team. Argentina was in for a shock as captain Rafael Marquez netted it for mexico of a free kick from Pardo.Within minutes Argentina recovered asCrespo(or may be Borgetti or both together,crespo’s feet did touch the ball,but it looked like Borgetti’s head gave it a better direction) scored from a corner kick by Requelme.(Mexico’s Requelme for a dream??;).
The rest of the match was as expected full of fireworks from bothsided.But both couldnt find their target in the 90 minutes.Extra time play looked a little slower to begin with.
But all flared up when Rodriguez drew home probably the best goal so far in the tournament.A chest and then his left foot kick from 30 yards bent the ball better than beckham in to the nets.
So finally Argentina scraped through.
England vs Ecuador:1-0
This was a sad exit for Ecuador.Atleast i felt sad for them.The side had done really nothing wrong to loose
the game.It was just not their day.Carlos Tenorio’s kick saw the ball hitting the crossbar early in the game.That definitely was the defining moment of the game. And no goalkeeper could have stopped the free kick that Beckham hit from going into the net.Bulls Eye.So finally after many matches Beckham finds his free kick working.Ecuador had more of the ball throughout the match.But sadly couldn’t convert the manyoppurtunities.Lucky England scrape through again as they have been doing throughout the tournament so far.
Portugal Vs Holland:1-0
The dirtiest match in the history of world cup football.The first half could be somewhat called a match.The second half would be more aptly called the rugby soccer.Personally I being a supporter of Holland felt they deserved a better exit.Van Basten fielded Dirk Kuyt instead of the much
experienced Ruud van Nistelrooij thoughout the match.I feel that in a match of this importance,experience would have served better.And that having known that Portugal has been the nemesis of holland a lots of times before.
Maniche scored it for Scolari in a pretty brilliant manner midway through the first half.And then slowly things began to heat up.More shots came from Portugal but Van De Sar was always there to save them.AndRicardo nonetheless
proved why he is the highest payed Goalkeeper(The commentator wrongly referred to him as the costliest goalkeeper,poor fella,thats all he gets for his wonderful job)
4 red cards were generously issued(broke all previous records).In all 20 bookings were seen in the match.Of all i was frustrated the most when this smart Deco siezes the ball in his hands and then everybody is fighting for the
ball like we used to do in our kindergartens.At one point even Figo showed immature behaviour(they are considering to excuse him,I wish they dont).
All in all it finally came to an end for everybody’s good.But Portugal will have a hard time against England in the Quarter-Finals as they miss 3 players.
Italy Vs Australia:1-0
Australia suffered arguably the the most cruel exit i n this worldcup.Italy showcased a fantastic defense in the match as they were only 10 for most of the time.The first half was an equal contest with both tehsocceroos and the azurris creating oppurtunities.But in the early second half,Marco Materazzi got a red card for something I think at the maximum deserved an yellow card.Another of Referees’ many blunders this world cup.Then on,it was the Aussies who made all the moves.Butfate had something else in store for them.With the match moving into Injury time,everybody assumed it will go into extra time too.In the last 10 seconds of the match,Grosso was fouled grossly by Neil’s tackle in the box,And the referee says penalty.Grosso acted his part well,the crook even smiled as the referee rised his whistle to his mouth.Totti had to do it,lest he would follow Baggio too.And he did it too with a powerfulstrike.The match ended with it and the Aussies couldnt even have one last counter-attack.I think half the Aussie spectators wept.Italy are through.
Switzerland Vs Ukraine:0-0 AET, 3-0 PSO
Nothing much too say about this match.Both the sides were equals in almost all respects.Only that swiss were more of a team and Ukraine was more of Shevchenko.Neither teams gave way in the 90 minutes+the 30 minutes of extra time.So for the first time in these finals Penalty shoot out was played.Ukraine missed the first as Shevchenko missed.Yet again a hero fails to deliver.So the swiss looked better to begin with,but then they missed the first one too.so 0-0.And not only did they miss that,they missed the next 2 too,while Ukraine scored the next 2 in succession.Gusev took the decider for Ukraine and scored and its game over for the swiss.
Brazil Vs Ghana:3-0
Referee frankly should have been declared the man of the match in thisgame.Ghana missed Essien,but the still played brilliant football and fared better than Brazil for that matter.They had greater share of the ball (58-42),they had more vigour in their movements,they had a better teamgame.The only thing they they lacked was referees favour.The first goal by Ronaldo was ofcourse a perfectly crafted one and I have nothing to argue about that.But as far as the second goal was concerned Adrianowas clearly offside(not once but twice)I think the Assistant Referee along the concerned boundary was busy enjoying Brazil’s movements that he forgot what he had to do with the flag in his hand.Really sad.This site–Official Match Report
doesnt even make a mention of whatever I saying here.MorevoerRatomir Dujkovik the serbian coach had to be at the stands for the second half.So ghana was in lack of inspiration.They went in lack of a man too late in second half when a long overdue red card was shown. In the second half Brazil played like cowards.Very different from what one would expect from such a high profile team.And seemingly out of thin air they pulled the next magic trick,Ze Roberto scored the third for Brazil after some 25 passes and a good run(beats the one Argentina did a few days ago by 1 in number but not definitely in class).So finally Brazil made it to the quarter-finals.
France vs Spain:3-1
The most exciting one of the Round of 16 matches.The match looked like going pretty much the spanish way in the beginning.And convincingly enough Spain scored first from a Penalty.The foul by Thuram ofcourse was so unnecassary.But the Referee got it right and it continued to be so.I think this was one of the fairest matches played.All decisions were spot on correct.France seemsd to have been jolted off their slumber by this.I have never seen them playing like that since they won their world cup 8 yrs against Brazil in the 1998 finals.Frank Ribbery scored his first goal for his country and such an important one at that.It was infact one of the most energetic movements with Viera that lead into a goal.In the second half,Spain dint look the part they were when they began their campaign in Germany.While France definitely seemed to have got back their confidence.The second goal came from Viera aided by a nasty free kick from Zidane.Finally when Spain was looking for an equilizer,Zidanefinished it with superb run and tackle and finding the net himself thistime.The goal was definitely worth the man.Soon Referee signalled the end of the match and the raging bulls headed home.France goes on to meet Brazil.
My Predictions for quarter finals
Germany will beat Argentina 2-1(this one is a little biased coz Germany is the only one among my favourite teams that still survives.The other two being Spain and Holland).
England will beat Portugal 1-0(coz Portugal vs Holland proved too dear for them)
Italy Will beat Ukraine 1-0(I dont see any reason why they should not)
Brazil will beat France by atleast 2-0.(Coz I dont think France will be twice lucky)