Fri, Jun 07, 2002

: World Cup: Spain vs. Paraguay

Rather boring game. I guess I’m just not a fan of Spain. Their play has a feel of struggle to it, as though even the most basic moves are a challenge. There are flashes of brilliance, and individually they have some great skill, but as a team though just don’t gel. Paraguay’s goal-keeper, Chilavert, is one of the most colorful characters in soccer, and his arrogant comments against Spain came back to haunt him in this game. Paraguay played poorly. They got a goal, but it was a gift from Spain when a defender put it into his own net! Spain came back with goals in the second half, however. A snap header gave Chilavert no chance, and then Chilavert himself made a ridiculous blunder, flailing hopelessly at a cross, leaving the goal wide open behind him. When he didn’t get the ball, it was child’s play for Spain to finish it off. Later in the game Spain was awarded a penalty kick, and Chilavert wasn’t even close to stopping it. Technically, Paraguay is still alive, but I doubt they’ll make it. Spain’s way overrated, and though they’ve got two wins to advance, they won’t make it past the second round. Final: 3-1 Spain.

Topic: [/movie]

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: World Cup: Argentina vs. England

Easily the most anticipated match of the first round, given the historic games between these two countries. It was a physical battle, but England took control from the start. Argentina had a lot of the ball, but rarely managed to get it out of their half. Batistuta had one good header on goal, but it was right at the keeper. Most of the time Seaman had little to do in the England goal. Michael Owen was brilliant, sometimes intimidating the Argentines to much they put five men on him! The scary part was that even with five men on him he still looked dangerous. Against three men he managed to ping a shot of the post, just inches from scoring. Though David Beckham was slow to get in the game, once he did his deft touches made a huge difference, keeping possession of the ball for England, and just being calm and confident on the ball. Late in the first half, Owen was brought down in the box and England awarded a penalty. David Beckham easily put it away and all of England went mad. In the second half it was more of the same, with England settling back but looking strong, and Argentina did very little. It looked like they didn’t want to win very badly, but their loss combined with Sweden’s win, puts Argentina at the bottom of the group and in danger of not making the cut. If Sweden and England both draw or better in their final games, they advance and Argentina goes home. Basically, it’s a must win for Argentina in their game against Sweden. That’s a game where Sweden would be happy with a tie, so it’s going to be tough against the organized Swedes. Should be good. England gets to play the eliminated Nigerians and should advance. Final: 1-0 England.

Topic: [/soccer]

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: World Cup: Sweden vs. Nigeria

Great game. The Nigerians went all out with nine forwards and a “forget” defense attitude. Great for fans of scoring. Unfortunately, not so great for winning soccer games. Especially when the finishing’s weak. Though Sweden looked strong from the start, Nigeria scored first with a great header goal. The seven-flip celebration was one of the highlights of the Cup so far. But that was the last of the Nigerian celebrations. Sweden scored on a terrific bit of play by Larsson, who took a through-ball deep into the Nigerian penalty box, deked a couple defenders, and slotted the ball into the goal. Later, a Nigerian take-down gave Sweden a penalty kick, which Larsson brilliantly scored. Nigeria gave it a good run and played well, but this is the “group of death” — and they’re the first victims. Final: 2-1 Sweden.

Topic: [/soccer]

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