Saturday, June 17, 2006

Day 9 - Now this is what football is all about!

There simply aren't enough words to describe the drama that unfolded today in Germany. Day 9 was simply brilliant! Portugal beat Iran 2-0 in a convincing win, but the real drama and excitement began when the Czech Republic went up against Ghana.

Ghana : Czech Republic - 2:0
Two minutes into the game and Ghana's Asamoah Gyan scored a beauty! Whoa, what do we have here? Hmm... Don't get me wrong, I did want Ghana to win, but I didn't think they'd have a chance against them after watching the Czechs hammer the Americans. However, Ghana had the early lead. Most people had the Czechs down as the winners and were sure that experience would prevail over youth. Ghana has the youngest squad in the tournament right now and they proved to be a handful for the older Czech team, hwever.

More trouble came for the Czechs in the 65th minute when Amoah was brought down by Ujfalusi in the penalty area who was then given a red card! The Ghanians failed to capitalize on the penalty kick, however, when Gyan's strike hit the Czech's left-side post...

With a one man advantage, the Ghanians simply poured on the attack against the weaker (yes weaker. They simply couldn't keep up with them. They were much slower and got tired.) Czech side. Offsides saved the Czechs from a humiliating defeat, but the Ghanians managed to get one more goal into the net in the 82nd mark. Muntari's left foot drive form 12 yards sealed the historic victory for Ghana. It was parrrrttaay time in Ghana! And well deserved one too! :D

I have question for you folks. Do you know why one of the players from Ghana waved Israel's flag when they scored? I have no idea why he did that. I really want to know the answer! The curiosity is killing me! Please leave your answer if you know! THANK YOU!

Italy : USA - 1:1
After watching the amazing upset by Ghana, I didn't think that this game would be as interesting especially since the Americans were soo poor in their last game. There might have been only two goals scored during that game folks, but everything else that happened during the game showed why football can be oh so beautiful to watch! There was anger, elbowing, blood, red cards everywhere, and tons of missed opportunities. This was the drama of football that I'd been waiting all week for!

The Americans started off quite well by attacking the Italians early. Landon Donovon was especially dangerous today and gave the Americans some great chances to score. However, it was Italy's Gilardino (22') who scored the first goal with a glanced diving header curled to him by Andrea Pirlo.

Things turned around very quickly in 5 minutes though when Zaccardo accidently sliced the ball into his own net! He was trying to clear the ball, but unfortunately ended up scoring the final goal of the match.

What's so exciting about that you say? Nothing actually. Except that the own goal seemed to put Italy out of form. Italy actually began playing horribly after that. One minute after the own goal, De Rossi decided to elbow Brian McBride in the face and that landed him a red card. McBride ended up with a bloodied face and the Italians were down to ten men. The game was certainly getting interesting now and there was still 60 minutes of football left to play! Right before half-time, there was another red card and now both sides had ten men!

Immediately after the 2nd half began, there was yet another red card! Amazing! This time it was for Pope and boy were the fans getting upset. The whole stadium was incredibly loud and I had put the volume down a number of times.

Things were definitely beginning to look better for the Italians, but in the end the Americans seemed to put more offensive pressure on the Italians with nine men than the Italians did! Seriously folks, there was soo much more that happened then I can describe here.

The game was also a test for the coaches who had to make tactical substitutions. They did well and so did the players who managed end the game with a draw. The Italians are going to face some tough critics though. They not only scored for the Americans, but they also managed to not score with a one-man advantage for 40 minutes! The Americans did well to stay alive.

Can't wait to see Group D play again in their third games, which will decide once and for all who will advance into the next round! Italy is leading Ghana and Czech Republic by one point, and three points from the Americans. Anything goes in the group of death though. Bet carefully folks. ;p

Predictions for tomorrow:
  • Brazil over Australia (supporting Brazil)
  • Croatia over Japan (Supporting Japan)
  • South Korea and France will tie (Supporting Korea to win though. France may play better after their first game disappointment.)

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