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Winners and Losers Day 14

June 25, 2010

So what if I might have used vaguely ambiguous language that gave me a lot of leeway, I predicted this whole Italy debacle, right here. So what if I was wrong about Portugal and Argentina (at least so far)? 1 out of 3 ain’t bad baby. It is probably better than Alexi Lalas could manage. Winners and Losers after the jump.

Winners:

Slovakia- Who saw that coming? Scoring three goals against the World Cup holders, Slovakia stunned the world (and probably themselves as well). Of course, they had to fend off a dramatic surge from Italy as time frittered away, but they came out of the group stages. Congratulations Slovakia.

New Zealand- Honestly, it is a damned shame to see the All Whites go out of the tournament. They didn’t have the most attack oriented team in the world, but the defended well, played hard, and were very organized. 3 points is great, especially considering they didn’t lose a game. They can go home being proud of themselves.

Winston Reid- He has to be, along with Majid Bougherra and Simon Kjaer, one of the best defenders of the tournament so far. He performed excellently in the first two games, but against Paraguay he was unbeatable. Every time Valdez made a run in that area of the field, he was there to stop it. A great performance from a young player who should be playing football at a much bigger club very soon.

Keisuke Honda – With the exception of Lionel Messi Honda has been the player of the tournament so far. He is constantly involved in the action and creates opportunities for himself and for his teammates. His assist for Japan’s third goal was spectacular and I expect to see more of that as the tournament progresses.

Arjen Robben – The Dutch simply aren’t the Dutch without him. He was a huge boost to the Oranje when he came on and it showed in the rocket he put off the post which eventually led to the game winning goal. I love watching the highlight not for the goal but for the celebration after. The goal scorer runs to the sideline and does the patented knee slide, but looks around and doesn’t see any of his teammates. They were all too busy congratulating and celebrating with Robben. They know who the heart and soul of their team is. If he can return to form watch out for the Dutch.

Losers:

Paraguay- A limp draw against New Zealand saw them back into winning the group. If they want to progress further in this tournament, they are going to have to shake off the lethargy and find some goalscoring up front. They hardly looked threatening against New Zealand, and if they don’t get some sort of offense working then they are sure to be going back home soon.

Italy- They got perhaps the easiest draw in the tournament, and they managed to get eliminated in the group stages. This is surely a more shocking fall from grace than even that of France. At least the French have the consolation of a lame-duck coach and bratty players. Italy, however, simply have to face the reality that they didn’t have the talent or the coaching to get them through this World Cup. It could be a sign of how far the Italian league has fallen off (Inter aside), but something needs to change for them to restore themselves to their former glory.

Edit by What’s Offsides?:
In Arsene We Trust – for forgetting to post this while fresh. Leave your suggestion for his forfeit penalty in the comments.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. NOT In Arsene We Trust permalink
    June 25, 2010 12:50 PM

    He shouldn’t be penalized, he should be rewarding. He is definitely the coolest poster on the blog. Y’all should probably pay him or something.

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