Monday, July 5, 2010

World Cup 2010 -- And Then There Were Four

We are now at the semi-finals for Worldcup 2010, and it has been an interesting run. As usual there is always controversy over sportsmanship, diving (aka simulating), officiating, and finally goal-line technology. But over all I think it has been a good event.

The quarter finals did bring a lot of drama to the event, mostly in the Ghana-Uruguay and Spain-Paraguay matches. But now we are down to our final four teams:
  • Germany vs Spain
  • Netherlands vs Uruguay

I'm giving this one to Germany, even though my Spanish friends won't want to here it. Spain have been perenial under achivers at the World Cup level; they also haven't faced a team that can really score. We have seen, they have issues against a team with defence, just look at the Paraguay or Portugal matches. They haven't shown any real team scoring except from David Villa who accounts for 5 of the 6 Spanish Goals. Shutdown Villa and the scoring of Spain is gone, unless Torres finally finds his touch.

Germany on the other hand has shown us they can counter attack while defending. They displayed this in both of their wins against England and Argentina. In each case the Germany opposition had a greater time of possesion, shots on goal, and set plays, and yet the Germans outscored their opposition 8-1.


This should be a no brainer going with Netherlands, but looking at the stats things look a lot closer than you might expect . Even though Uruguay has a strong history in the Worldcup, upto the seventies, Netherlands has had better success post the seventies.

Uruguay has been strong defensively. Both the Japan and Ghana matches they had taken to penalties, even with the Ghana match having it's controversial finish. They are going to have an issue though because they will be loosing one of their top scorers in Luis Suárez, who will be serving his suspension.

Three of Uruguay's seven goals came from set pieces, so Netherlands needs to be strong on their set piece defence. Netherlands scored six of their nine in open play, which the stifling defence of Uruguay might be able to shutdown.

Netherlands has been playing stronger has they have gotten farther into the tournament, Uruguay seems to have stalled, their last 2 matches shootouts.

I think we should get a Germany-Netherlands final, but only time will tell. People are free to disagree, but this is just my gut instinct. I was wrong with my prognostication in 2006 where I called for a Germany-France final, but the Italians threw a wrench in my vision; July 6 and July 7 will give us our verdict.

More Later....

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