Round of 16


Written on 6/28/2006 02:28:00 pm by sikapitan

Brazil 3 - 0 Ghana
The expected Ghanaian Resistance never happened. Wasted too many chances, too square in defence. Ronaldo, Adriano and Ze Roberto all benefitted from Ghana's naivety in playing the offside trap.

As early as the 5th minute, Ronaldo broke through the square defence then did one of his step-overs which completely bamboozled the Ghanaian keeper to tuck the ball into an empty net. While the replay clearly showed Ronaldo was onside, the same cannot be said for the second goal by Adriano in the 45th minute. In fact, he was offside on two occasions.

The first could be excused, as he was not interfering with play when the ball was fed to Kaka, but he did joined the attack from an offside position, didn’t he? But most importantly, when Cafu played a delightful ball across the 6-yard, Adriano’s body was clearly ahead of the last defender. Lucky? You make your own luck in football…

The last goal was scored by Ze Roberto after a 25-pass move (eclipsing Argentina’s famed 24 pass goal against Serbia, though that was a wee bit more intricate) that simply bored the Ghanaians into submission. The finish was superb though, and truth be told after that Cafu and Juan missed wonderful chances to make the scoreline even more emphatic.

The two Fatsos scored (Ronaldo+Adriano) without doing anything much, while Ronaldinho is hardly at his best, yet they have now scored 10 goals and conceded just once. You do the math…

Spain 1 - 3 France
Ribery starred in France's superb comeback from a David Villa penalty in the first half. Vieira scored to make it 1-2 after a needless foul by Carlos Puyol. To cap what was an entertaining duel, old maestro Zidane scored in the last minute after cutting inside Puyol and placing a low show to Casillas' right.

Spain was again the more patient side, trying to tire the ageing French by stroking the ball around with relative ease. Xabi Alonso gave an example of a new breed of “water-carrier”, eclipsing the veteran Makelele with a combination of superb vision and tenacious tackling.

The right side of Spain, with little triangles by Sergio Ramos, Fabregas and David Villa caused problems for the French. But Spain lacked the experience to kill of the game, and resorted to one too many dives which gave the impressions that they are cheating even when there was a real foul.

France, on the other hand, soaked up the pressure, and I was very impressed with Willy Sagnol who had a great game at right back. The important thing to note when playing against France is that their backline is filled with great headers of the ball. The fullbacks will tuck in with the central defenders making no room for crosses to be met by Torres.

Even though Makelele really showed his limitation last night, the French weren’t really troubled with the biggest threat coming from set-pieces by Pernia, who again showed he is better going forward than defending.

I also questioned the tactical substitution made by Aragones, bringing on 3 players in the second half who did not alter the shape of the game at all. He brought out 2 strikers to be replaced by two attacking midfielders while taking out one of his best free-kick takers for a more defensive minded one. Marco Senna is a good player, but he is never going to be a match winner…You either be really bold (by taking out a defender perhaps) or you be patient like Domenech, keeping your cards well hidden.

In any case, I’m looking forward to the match-up between France v. Brazil, a repeat of the France 98 Finals – is it time for revenge?

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