Monday, June 28, 2010

No Surprises Here...

Hopes and dreams they say spring eternal, but today Brazil crushed my hopes of seeing them take a second round exit from the World Cup by burying Chile 3-0. The only good news is that the only way Brazil will face Argentina will be if they both make it to the final. And oh what a final that would be!

Truth be told, I wasn't expecting Brazil to lose, just hoping for it to happen. It would have been nice, however, if Chile could have kept things a little closer.

The other match of the day saw the Netherlands beat Slovakia 2-1, setting up a Brazil vs Netherlands quarterfinal. That nearly assures the Brazilians a clear path to the semifinals, as the Netherlands are a perpetual quarterfinals and out team. Who knows, having said that, maybe this year will be different.

Still, it's another strong quarterfinal match up, along with Germany vs Argentina. We also know that Uruguay and Ghana will be facing off, but I'll be surprised if the winner of that match up makes it past the semifinals. If both Uruguay and Brazil make it to the semifinals it could prove very interesting. In fact, I have to say that I'd laugh myself silly should it be Uruguay that knocks Brazil out of the tournament. Just think of the fond memories of the 1950 World Cup it will bring back!

Tomorrow will decide the final quarterfinal match up, as Paraguay face Japan, and Spain go up against neighbors Portugal. Paraguay should be able to get past Japan, I should think. Of course, maybe I'm just being bias again... their goalkeeper and captain is former Newell's Old Boy favorite Justo Villar, and they also have another former leper by the name of Óscar Cardozo. You may have heard of him, too. He only scored 21 goals in 33 matches for Newell's a few years ago, and has 65 goals in 84 matches for his current club, Benfica of Portugal.

Spain vs Portugal is a tough one to call. Spain are reigning European Cup champions, while Portugal has the second best player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo (yes, I consider Messi the best... big surprise, huh.) This should be the most competitive match ups the second round has brought us. Then again, either team is capable of ending up dominating the other, so flip a coin, and while your at it make sure it's a coin thick enough that it's just as likely to end up on edge than either of it's sides... I have to think this one will certainly go to overtime, if not to penalties.

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