Friday, June 09, 2006

World Cup, Day One action

Deutschland uber alles!  Wow, what a great way to start this years World Cup! 
We went over to Kells Irish pub at 9Am, the start of the Germany v. Costa Rica game and the first game of the tournament.  I liked watching it there.  It wasn’t really all that crowded (although all tables were taken), the service was good, and the mood was fan frenzy.  I had my wife and daughter with me, and I was pleased to note that Kells is smoke free (smoking room in the basement).  They kind of redeemed themselves from two years ago when they showed the Euro Cup, and charged $20 at the door.  This time it was free.

To their defense, the media company with the rights to Euro Cup charged thousands for the rights to show the game, and the World Cup is on ESPN for free.

The Germany game was very high scoring, as the Germans won 4-2.  Someone said that it was one of the highest opening game scores in World Cup history.  The game started out with Germany controlling the ball in the Costa Rica end of the field.  In fact, for most of the game they kept it there.  Germany plays a very aggressive and offensive style of ball.  They were constantly trying to quickly get the ball up field, to the sides and then boost it into the middle.  German team is known for their dead ball and heading ability, so I wasn’t surprised by this.

However, none of the goals came on dead ball situations.  There were also no goals scored by headers (although Klose’s 2nd goal came as the result of a failed header). 

The first goal by Philipp Lahm was a thing of beauty.  I don’t think he could have hit that ball any better, as he was running across the box from the left side.  The ball hit the upper far post to elude the keeper.  Nice.

The second goal of the game (and later the fifth goal as well) was scored by Wachope of Costa Rica.  Both his goals were very similar, and it seems that it’s the only play the Ticos (as they’re called) know how to run.  Kick the ball over the defense and hope that Wachope can work some magic.  Well, thanks to a totally porous German defense, he did work some magic.  Twice.

However, Wachope is getting past his prime, and I shudder to think of what a truly world class offense is going to do to this German defense if they don’t figure out how to stop those streaking strikers.

Klose’s two goals were both mayhem in front of the goal events.  Both included fine footwork on the part of midfielders to thread the ball into Klose through traffic.  Klose is probably the best finisher they have.

The last goal, scored by Torsten Frings, was a rocket of a volley from 30 meters out.  That ball had a sonar wake behind it, and there was nothing the goalie could do. 

I think that the Germans are going to have to keep scoring or solve that defense issue if they want to progress far.  But due to the report of the other game between Poland and Ecuador, which Ecuador won 2-0, I don’t think Germany is going to have any trouble emerging from Group A.

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