Sun, Jun 02, 2002

: World Cup: Argentina vs. Nigeria

Excellent game that could have gone either direction. The Nigerian’s showed great attacking drive, but were weak on the finishing. While their goalkeeper made a number of terrific saves, his indecision on a cross ended up costing his team a goal, which, of course, was scored by Batistuta. Argentina looked weaker than I expected. Though they’ll win this group, they didn’t dominate the way I thought they should have to be true champion contenders. But it’s a long tournament. Maybe their form will pick up. Final: 1-0 Argentina.

Topic: [/soccer]

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: World Cup: Croatia vs. Mexico

Surprising game. After a tough qualifying round, the good Mexican team showed up and really pressed the Croatians. Croatia didn’t play badly, but they didn’t have the spark they did in France 98, where individual players lifted the team to unprecedented heights. Unfortunately, the ref had to help decide this match, awarding a deserved penalty to Mexico when Blanco was clearly taken down in the box. But the ref also ejected the Croatian player, which was harsh, and the result was that was the end of the day for Croatia. Mexico, while they played well, did not capitalize on their extra man, which could cost them if goal difference becomes a deciding factor to get out of the group. Final: 1-0 Mexico.

Topic: [/soccer]

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: World Cup: Spain vs. Solvenia

I found this game boring. I don’t know: I’m just not a fan of Spain. Occasionally they play brilliantly, but most of the time they just let you down. Solvenia was great in Euro 2000, but and they showed some interesting stuff here, but in the end the ref screwed everything up. Spain was up by two goals when Solvenia gained one back late, and they should have been awarded a penalty kick. Instead, the ref waved play on. But seconds later he awards a penalty kick to Spain on a non-foul at the edge of the Slovenia box. So what should have been a deserved 2-2 tie became a 3-1 Spanish win. Lame. Final: 3-1 Spain.

Topic: [/soccer]

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: World Cup: Paraguay vs. South Africa

Terrific game. I figured this one would be a boring defensive affair, but it was anything but. Paraguay showed a lot of attacking prowess, scoring twice early, with one goal an amazing free kick that I could see a hundred times and still not quite believe. Incredible. But in the second half Paraguay fell apart. South Africa pressed hard and they crumbled, as a shot led to an own goal. It still looked like they had it won but South Africa didn’t give up, and the referee gave them their chance in the final minute of play when Paraguay’s substitute keeper fouled in the box for a penalty kick. It was converted and the score was tied. Wow. Final: 2-2.

Topic: [/soccer]

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: World Cup: England vs. Sweden

Odd game. I like both teams and I have Swedish ancestry, so the result is probably appropriate. But I was disappointed with England’s lackluster play. In the first half they were filled with fire, but after their early goal, they relaxed and Sweden got into the game. In the second half it was all Sweden, with England looking mighty pathetic and frantic. The result does neither side any favors, though it doesn’t hurt. The group’s still up for grabs. Final: 1-1.

Topic: [/soccer]

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