Monday, 14 June 2010

Italy / Paraguay best so far

The Italy/Paraguay 1-1 draw was my favorite match of the Cup so far, despite Paraguay's lassitude in the second half and their apparent decision at some point that a draw was good enough. At the half I was ready to write an early obituary for Italy after their recent signs of weakness leading up to the Cup, but in the second half we saw a strong and sometimes exciting Italy.

Furthermore, both goals were interesting. Alcaraz's header had a tricky, childlike charm with its use of an odd part of the skull. Meanwhile, De Rossi's equalizer delighted as well, as the corner kick missed the leaping attackers but was shoveled in by the foot of another charging Italian: Daniele De Rossi himself, of course.

It's the only match in the Cup so far in which my opinion of both teams improved. It was the opposite, in that sense, of Algeria / Slovenia, which I missed yesterday and only caught on replay this morning at breakfast. The Algerian goalkeeper's blunder really was worse than Green's. Green was physically in the right spot and simply blew it. The Algerian keeper, by contrast, looked generally bewildered as to his precise location on the planet. He's also the guy who was tossed from the African Cup match with Egypt after preposterously getting away with a head-butt to the referee earlier in that same match.

Too much workload these days, so I'm only allowing myself one full match per day. Tomorrow it is Ivory Coast / Portugal that interests me the most. Brazil / North Korea sounds too much like science fiction to be palatable-- or like the beginning of a Tom Clancy potboiler, with North Korea pouring across the border into the South while the rest of us are distracted with the match.

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