3 Europeans vs unlikely South American

The semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup is set.  In are European powerhouses Spain and Germany, The Netherlands, and the lone South American team, Uruguay.  Uruguay, if you reacall, got to this stage by defeating South Korea on penalty kicks in the round of 16 and then doing the same to Ghana in the round of 8.

The matchups

Tuesday July 5, 2010 —  The Netherlands vs Uruguay

Wednesday, July 6, 2010 — Germany vs Spain

The Expected

At the start of the tournament, many expected Brazil, Spain, Argentina, and possibly Germany to make up the final four.  But, in the quarters, the possibility of 3 of those teams seemed certain to many.  For example, many saw an easy win for Brazil over The Netherlands, many [except German & Brazilian fans] expected Argentina to beat Germany, Spain to ease past Paraguay,  and Uruguay over Ghana.

The Un-Expected

Instead of the expected, we had some real shockers.  REAL SHOCKERS!!!!  We had Brazil losing a one goal half time lead to The Netherlands, Argentina down 1-0 to Germany at half-time and just unable to break through the German defense, Spain and Paraguay locked at 0-0 in the 82nd minute with both teams missing penalties, and Ghana with a 1 goal lead over Uruguay at half-time and dominating perhaps 67% of the half.

The Reality

  • Number 1 Brazil lost 2-1 to The Netherlands, a team Brazilian fans underestimated, though The Netherlands has not lost a game in ages leading up to these games.
  • Number 2 Spain had lots of trouble penetrating the stingy Paraguay defense, both teams missed penalties (first Paraguay which shaped the remainder of the game, then Spain.  Spain had to rekick after making the penalty because a Spanish player crossed the line before the kick. The second shot was saved by the goalie who then tripped the Spanish player.  The referees didn’t see that.).   But when everything looked to be going into the 30-minute overtime, Spain broke through on the only lapse by the Paraguay defense to that point and scored on a ricoshet off the post.  Spain won 1-0.
  • Argentina, looking to avenge their loss and the ugliness that followed the World Cup game against Germany in 2010 was thwarted by the creafty, speedy, patient, and [more] precise Germans despite Argentina possessing the ball a bit more.  Germany destroyed Argentina 4 NIL  (4-0).
  • Ghana was beaten 4-2 in penalty kicks by Uruguay after dominating the rest of the game, but missing a penalty at the end of the game.

Of the 4 semi-finalists, only Germany and Uruguay have won the World Cup, doing so 3 times and 2 times respectively.

You have to play 90 minutes EVEN when you have the lead.  Brazil did not, Argentina could not, Paraguay had not, and Ghana would not. 

Prevent Defense

You know, a bredren (ex-College [American] football player) I used to work with spoke about the so-called “prevent defense” employed by many NFL teams when their side is leading in the 4th quarter.  He said, and I agree, “Prevent defense just prevents the leading side from winning.”  Ghana employed such a defense prematuredly (coming out in the second half  and gave up the equalizer off a free kick (mistake #1)I mean, they decided to play defensively an entire half UNTIL Uruguay scored the equalizer.

Wrap Up

Who expected The Netherlands and Uruguay in the finals at the START of the tournament?  I do know one gentleman, a St Georges College old boy,,  who had them as “his team” at the beginning of the tournament.  Others expected Germany, including a Jamaica College old boy who has rooted for Germany since he was a teenager in high school, most Caribbean folks had Brazil and Argentina.  But the cookie crumbled a bit differently.







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