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World Cup – Day 4

Netherlands 2 – Denmark 0

The Dutch totally controlled this game, but their attack really didn’t have much sharpness. Their first goal was an own goal manufactured by Robin van Persie, and their second was a nice run and shot by the sub Elia which bounced off the post and onto the foot of Dirk Kuyt.  Wesley Sneijder, among the best playmakers in the game, was nowhere to be found.  The Danes were simply unable to control the ball or the game.

The Dutch are (rightfully) among the favorites in the tournament, particularly if Arjen Robben is able to return from his hamstring injury.  They missed his pace and his ability to make things happen.  But I don’t like their approach or their lack of discipline.  Heitenga and De Jong are thugs, and Sneijder and van Bronckhorst are subject to petulance and pique that can get them in trouble.

Japan 1 – Cameroon 0

The wonderfully named “indomitable Lions” surprisingly lost to Japan on a goal on 42′ from Keisuke Honda. All of a sudden Japan has a fighting chance to advance .. if they beat Denmark, which seems very possible after the poor Danish performance against the Dutch, they advance.

I haven’t been able to watch this game .. something’s gotta give!  I haven’t deleted it, and will update it soon if I get a chance. The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting review.

Italy 1 – Paraguay 1

Italy did not impress. One of the commentators said that Paraguay did an Italy to Italy, and I agree!  Paraguay packed the defense and was careful not to over-commit on attack. Italy saw a lot of the ball, but could not muster any serious opportunities.  Both goals were from set pieces .. the Paraguayan was a nicely placed free kick nicely headed in .. the Italian was a corner that the goalie should have grabbed, but which fell to DeRossi’s toe and was poked in. Paraguay has every reason to come out of this game comfident, and Italy should be worried.

The Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon, among the best in the world, was removed at half-time with an injury. Apparently he is having sciatic nerve problems, and is not (as of the time of this writing) likely to play again. I feel for they guy, having dealt with 18 months of back problems over the last 8 years.  Tough loss for the Italians.

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