Day two and what a day it has been!
I woke up at 4.00am, as I have been doing for the last three days for some reason, so rather than toss and turn for a couple of hours until my alarm went off I got up and watched the Mexico vs Cameroon game. The terrible weather was only surpassed by more terrible refereeing, as Mexico were denied two clear goals in the first half. Mexico were by far the more attacking team, Cameroon had a flat back six for most of the match, and duly got their just rewards with an excellently taken goal to win the match 1-0. By the looks of the first two games it looks like Brazil will go through top of their group with a hard fought battle between Mexico and Croatia for second. I can see Cameroon going home with no ponts at this rate!
Later on I watched Chile vs Australia. Chile taught Australia a lesson in the first half and could have easily been more than 2-1 up by half time. Two goals in as many minutes at the start of the half looked ominous for the Aussies, but a great leaping back post header by Cahill gave them a glimpse of hope. The second half was end to end stuff, The Aussies rattling the Chileans with courageous, physical play. Either side could have scored a handful of goals but, unbelievably, the game ended 3-1, with Chile scoring their third deep into injury time. A battling performance from the Aussies which left the Chileans looking very nervous, but Chile thoroughly deserved their win, accompanied by deafening fireworks at full time!Sandwiched inbetween I watched a clash of the heavyweights between Spain and The Netherlands. Spain have pretty much every trophy in their cabinet at the moment. They’re the reigning World and European champions and Spanish teams also currently hold the Champions League trophy and the Uefa Cup! These two teams met in the 2010 World Cup final and Spain outclassed the Dutch, winning 1-0 while the Dutch resorted to kicking lumps out of their Spanish foes, so the game was going to be a very interesting one.
Spain started strong and were soon 1-0 up after a soft penalty. The Dutch were playing dirty again and looked to be second best for most of the first half. Spain had numerous chances and were cutting the Dutch apart. Would it be a case of same old Holland at a World Cup – tons of talent but no team ethic?
A minute before half time the Dutch launched a lightning attack and Robin Van Persie scored a glorious flying looping header after spotting the Spanish goalie slightly off his line! The Flying Dutchman indeed! Could be one of the goals of the tournament.
Just after half time Holland were 2-1 in front, Arjen Robben scoring a glorious goal from another pin point diagonal ball from midfield. A magical first touch to control the ball was followed by some composed close control before he powered a shot past a helpless Casillas.
Ten minutes later it was three for the Dutch – a headed goal from a free kick as Casillas flapped at the cross. Spain were looking in trouble and the Dutch had the bit between their teeth. Would Spain rally and get back into the game or would they crumble and capitulate?
A second goal for Van Persie made it 4-1 – a driving run at the heart of the Spanish defence by Robben, before he laid it off to a team mate who flicked it on to Van Persie, who rifled in a stranded Casillas.
Robben got a second too and added to Casillas’ nightmare of a game, leaving the Spanish keeper on his arse before firing into an undefended net. Only some face saving saves from Casillas prevented a cricket score for the Dutch, it could easily have been 10-1 by the final whistle, but the Dutch will be ecstatic with the final score fo 5-1!
This group looks like a tough one to call. The Dutch should go through after a morale boosting thrashing of Spain. If Spain can recover their composure then they should have the class to go through, but if they’re second in the group they should face Brazil in the next round! Chile will give Spain a close run for second place though I think – they’re a great attacking team and there could be a hatful of goals in this group. Australia will be the whipping boys of this group I think, even though they will battle to the last and give 110% in the process. They’ve got bags of effort, but lack that cutting edge that they’ll need to get out of the group.
Day two over and I’ve managed to watch all four games so far. Three excellent matches and one good one. Two dodgy referees and two good ones. The stars have also shone, with Neymar, Oscar, RVP and Robben setting the tournament on fire! Best of all though have been the crowds. The Brazilians, Mexicans and Chileans have been out in force and roaring with every attack. The Dutch crowd were also in the majority and were enjoying the party they so richly deserved, as only the Dutch can!