Whilst Gonzalo Higuain may have grabbed the headlines (and the hastily awarded itv.com man of the match award), the impressive displays of his fellow attacking team-mates suggest that Argentina may have the best strikeforce at the World Cup. The way that Higuain managed to work in fluid synchronicity with the mesmeric Messi, industrious Tevez and tricky di Maria in a revolving quartet of creativity was a thing of pure beauty. Aside from the aforementioned foursome, Sergio Aguero managed to cap off an impressive 15-minute cameo with an assist, whilst treble-winning 30-goal hitman Diego Milito failed to even make it off the bench.
2.Players appear to be getting even stupider
A colleague of mine initially made this point on Tuesday in light of earlier World Cup events, but the petulant behaviour of Nigeria’s Sani Kaita must rank as the most idiotic act of stupidity that this tournament has seen so far. With his side 1-0 up against an anaemic Greece after 33 minutes, Kaita foolishly kicked out at Greece’s Vasilis Torisidis, in a move that ultimately cost his side three valuable points.
3.Individual mistakes can be decisive
Due to the short nature of international tournaments, the damaging effect of mistakes can be far crueller than those committed in domestic leagues. Yesterday we saw three players’ unfortunate gaffes directly lead to goals. Argentina’s ponytailed centre-back Martin Demichelis’ defensive error allowed Lee Chung-Yong to nip in and score an unlikely goal for South Korea. Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama, whose performances up until the 71st minute of yesterday’s game had made him an early contender for player of the tournament, failed to control a tame shot and provided Vasilis Torosidis with the opportunity to net the winning goal for Greece. France centre-back Eric Abidal’s failure to stay in line with the rest of his defence allowed Mexico forward Javier Hernandez to beat the offside trap and coolly slot the ball past Hugo Lloris.
France are bad. Really bad. Although yesterday’s limp display was an ever so slight improvement upon their showing against Uruguay, it is clear that there are deep problems existing within the French camp. On the brink of an ignominious first-round elimination, France deservedly lost to a well-drilled Mexico side. Raymond Domenech’s side looked disjointed and unimaginative, failing to create any clear chances and displaying a woeful lack of fluency. Although the players must share the blame, questions must be asked of the much-maligned outgoing manager, who has woefully mismanaged an undeniably talented group of footballers.
5.The boot-iful game
For some of the world’s biggest companies, the World Cup is an unbelievable platform for product placement. Whilst watching the three games yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice the ridiculous number of players wearing the same orange and silver Nike boots (apparently the boot in question is known as the “Mercurial Vapor Superfly II”). Having been alerted to their prevalence during Argentina v South Korea, I decided to tally up the number of players wearing them in the day’s subsequent games; Greece v Nigeria & France v Mexico featured no less than twenty (yes, TWENTY) players sporting said boots. According to Nike statistics, 40% of all players at this summer’s World Cup are wearing them.
Given that Carlos Tevez and Georgios Samaras were spotted wearing them, it seems as though they’re suited to both excellent and completely rubbish footballers alike.
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