Thursday, 19 June 2014

Brazil 2014: First games Round-up part 2:

Well, I did say I was going to pick this back up, so in the words of Lord Flasheart, Let's Do-oo-oo It!

This one seems to be resolving itself so far, with France making short work of Honduras on their way to an expected first place in the group, with bit parts from an expectedly large Newcastle contingent, considering their transfer policy of the last 3 years. The only possible problem for France I would feel would be keeping Pogba's temper from boiling over, but so far, it's a huge improvement on 4 years ago, where the side isn't even falling into outright mutiny like we've seen of French sides before.
I'll be honest and say I can't really remember much of Switzerland's game against Ecuador, but they came from behind to win, so getting the result has helped them in what would probably be the game they needed to win in order to go further. They have sprung surprises before, but I don't see them topping the group unless France melt down, even with the potential of avoiding Argentina as the prize
Ecuador will struggle to claw back the head start the Swiss took off them now, they showed potential in the friendly against England in Miami, but they will need a minor miracle to progress from hereon in.
Honduras... It would require a lot for them to meet the same standards as their Northern & Central American compatriots, and simply don't show the level of quality that would be required. For them to get a point in their final games would be a decent return for them.

After their win against new-comers Bosnia, the job of winning the group is pretty much there for Argentina, in what's probably the easiest draw they could have hoped for. Messi scoring the winner will be a big boost to his confidence as well, and with arguably the toughest game dealt with, two more comfortable victories and they should have a fine vein of form for the knock-outs.
Even after losing, Bosnia should have enough about them to join Argentina in the last 16. Dzeko and Pjanic look to be more than a handful for the games coming up, and I would expect Begovic to be reliable at the back.
Iran's game against Nigeria was the best cure for Insommia I've seen in years, and to imply that either side had enough about them to pose a threat to Bosnia or Argentina would be fairly comical in itself, sort of like trying to kill a Dragon in Skyrim with a wooden sword. Nigeria did do a little better when veteran strikers like Odemwingie and Ameobi came on, but then they hardly could have offered less in attack.

This has not disappointed so far, with a German blitzkrieg of Christiano Ronaldo's entourage and a tightly run affair between the USA and Ghana, leading me to think while Germany should win this group, there's nothing between the USA and Ghana for second place, although it's fairly clear Asamoah Gyan's finishing has lost a little of its edge through his time in the UAE. Both sides look good, and I'll always have an appreciation of Ghana's support, as they are to date the only group of fans who have made any international in Wembley a pleasant atmosphere, but I sense the USA will just about edge this, even if it will be close.
Portugal were poor, and I took great entertainment out of a Brazilian press headline which translated as "You lost, Playboy". Three guesses as to who that was aimed at with all the subtlety of a chainsaw to the knee. You need 11 players working together to win, lads, not 1 ego.

After a rough start, Belgium were able to wrestle off Algeria's approaches, and so look in command of that group, especially with the shakiness of South Korea and Russia's goalkeepers. I'd personally like to see Korea progress, as the far eastern "manic ferret chasing a mouse" brand of football is a lot of fun to watch,  but again, it could be any of those other 3 to go through.

None-football related service to resume soon, people. Enjoy the day!

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