June 11, 2006

Day 3: Serbia & Montenegro vs. Holland, Mexcio vs. Iran, Angola vs. Portugal

Linekar: "So Ian, how much do you like S&M?"
Wright: "Huh? What?"

Game 6: Serbia & Montenegro vs. Holland

0-1

Holland:
Robben 17

Ed: Just me this time. Si is being sociable. What a loser.

Another excellent game. Robben dominated the first half, a single right back not being enough to stop the fastest player on the pitch. He duly delivered with an easy goal, the zonal marking and attempted offside trap being competely ineffective. With a great deal of space in between the centre backs, it required only a very simple through–ball from Van Persie and Robben had a clear run on goal. Bringing on Koroman onto the right in the 43rd minute was an inspired move. Shame he played for The Scum. (That's Portsmouth to you foolish Northern–supporting people.) Not only did it enable Robben to be stifled but also added the most likely source of a good cross. The second half was close, but interesting as S&M's offensive play leaving space for Holland to push forward, creating chances at both ends.

Game 7: Mexico vs. Iran

3-1

Mexico:
Bravo 27 75, Zinha 78

Iran:
Golmohammadi 35

Si: The game was competitive and scrappy from the start with Mexico showing the greater aptitude in attack but was cancelled out by Iran's combative midfield. Both sides looked more likely to score from a cross, especially a set peice and it was a training ground free kick that gave Mexico the early lead. Iran soon equalised from a corner that Sanchez either should have came for or saved on his line. The game played as level as its scoreline until half–time after which the Iranians were told to sit on their lead making for a much poorer second period. Mexico's best chance to break the deadlock seemed to be from exploiting the narrow play of Iran's fullbacks but in the end they captalised on a series of defensive errors, Zinha's through ball finished by Bravo. Iran then had to come out of their shell, this combined with Mexico's new found confidence to allow a flowing move that ensured Mexico gained maximum points from their opening game.

Ed: As seems to be the case with many games so far in this World Cup, we were treated to an open game, as opposed to underdogs sitting–back and absorbing play. This Iran only did in the second half, and Mexico seemed to not quite have the technical ability to cut through, the goals an obvious result of increasing pressure as the half wore on. In the first half, Iran constructed their attacks through quick successions of short passes, the players bunching together in order to avoid interception. This prevented the Mexicans from dominating in this half, although it did allow for a great deal of space on the wings. They never quite managed to pass the ball out there enough though, and the two teams went in at half time, an even all–square.

Game 8: Angola vs. Portugal

0-1

Portugal:
Pauleta 3

Si: We groaned when Portugal scored the early goal that seemed certain to end any interest in the tie, expecting Angola to be thumped. We were pleasantly surprised when it became clear that after a shaky first 10 minutes, Angola were capable of holding off the Portugese and even managed some hope inspiring attacks themselves. While they showed the same confidence, determination and physical excellence of their African counterparts, Ivory Coast, they lacked the creativity and killer instrinct to really threaten. Although an entertaining game there was only really going to be one result after 180 seconds.

Ed: Angola's ability to keep possession and their running off the ball was a pleasant surprise. However pacy the passing was though, it was broken down reasonably comfortably. Having said this, it was good enough for Portugal to not quite tear them apart. It was a close game.

Day 3 Summary:
Goals: 6
Alcohol Consumed: 13.8 Units


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