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Winners and Losers: Now Entering the Last Chance Saloon

June 21, 2010

Well we had plenty of offense and plenty of goals on hand today. Portugal finally woke up from the offensive slumber they seem to have been in recently to thrash the North Koreans 7-0 in a game I really wish I had woken up for (but with those two it just sounded so boring). Then Chile bombarded the Swiss defenses all day, but only managed to come up with a single goal in a lack of firepower that could come  back to haunt them. Spain, meanwhile, managed to get everything back on track with a 2-0 win over Honduras. After the jump we have all the winners and losers from today’s action.

Winners:

David Villa– He scored two excellent goals, and his movement was great throughout the game. It was marred, in my personal opinion, by a churlish slap to the face that should have been punished by a red card. But regardless, he scoredto goals and gave Spain a reason to believe again.

Gerard Pique– While David Villa was busy getting in slap fights with the Hondurans, and Sergii Busquets and Jesus Navas were rolling around on the turf trying to convince the referee that they were mortally wounded, Gerard Pique took a cleat to the mouth and kept playing. All this after he picked up a similar cut in the match against Switzerland. The rest of his teammates may bediving, but Pique is putting his body on the line and playing like a champ.

Portugal– Who expected that result? I mean sure, I guess I expected them to win. But 7 goals? 7 GOALS? Damn son. I’ve criticized Portugal before, and while I’m still not convinced they have what it takes to go very far, they certainly put on an impressive display.

Swiss Defending– Prior to Chile’s breakthrough late in the game, the Swiss managed to record a World Cup record of going 559 minutes without conceding a goal. That is a truly impressivefeet, and despite a disappointed result for them today, they have to feel confident going up against Honduras in their next match.

Diego Benaglio– Another truly wonderful display from the Swiss keeper today. Sadly his one mistake (although I won’t say it was entirely his fault), led to Chile’s goal. Nevertheless, if it weren’t for his heroics early in the game the Chileans would have run rampant over the Swiss. In a World Cup that has seen some excellent goal keeping, Benaglio rates high up the list of keepers who have impressed.

Losers:

Chile– After being widely criticized for placing them in the winner’s column last time around, we have decided to put them in the loser’s column. After all, they have won only twice, and what does that really prove? Not to mention that they were altogether churlish and bad tempered in their match against Switzerland. They also only managed to score once, after letting a number of chances go begging. If they are going to make any noise, they are going to have to start finishing the chances they create.

North Korea– They managed to avoid embarrassment at the hands of Brazil, but they weren’t so fortunate today.

Honduras– In a World Cup that seemed full of sides ripe to be embarrassed, Honduras is probably the only one that has been really and truly dismal. Not once have they ever seemed like scoring a goal, and the scorelines of each game flatter them tremendously. Either the Chile or Spain match could have easily turned into a rout.

Fernando Torres– On a day where David Villa bagged a brace, ‘Nando scored exactly 0 goals. It isn’t that he didn’t have plenty of gilt edged opportunities, in fact he had plenty of those. While his running looks better than it did against Switzerland, he is going to need to find his shooting boots if he wants to leave a mark on this tournament. Of course with David Villa upping his record to 40 goals in 60 international appearances, it is arguable that ‘Nando is just an afterthought for Spain anyways.

Vicente Del Bosque– While Spain won today against Honduras, I just never get the feeling that Del Bosque has what it takes to make the appropriate changes to get Spain as deep as the should go in this tournament. Why on Earth, on a day that Iniesta seemed to injured, he didn’t start Fabregas is beyond me. Do you really needSergii Busquets against the midfield might of Honduras? Or are they so fearsome you have to play Xabi Alonso on the wing to shore up the defense? They played well today, and Villa and Torres dovetail well up top, but his selections and tactics continue to baffle.

Khalil Al Ghamdi– A disappointing performance from the referee. With the yellow cards starting early (as in the second minute of the game), it seemed like he never really had control of the match. Not to mention his refereeing never really seemed all that even.Behrami’s “red card” was an atrocious call. Certainly there was a foul, but it was hardly intentional, and deserved at best a yellow. Then in the second half when a Chilean player raised his hands to the face of a Swiss players, he escapes with a yellow. The two simply don’t equate. He ended up doling out 10 cards of various colors (I think he might have slipped apink or an orange card in their somewhere), and managed to keep at least Matias Fernandez out of the next game.

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