June 14, 2006

Day 6: Spain vs. Ukraine, Tunisia vs. Saudi Arabia, Germany vs. Poland

Game 15: Spain vs. Ukraine

4-0

Spain:
Alonso 12, Villa 16 47(pen), Torres 80

Si: As good as Spain were, Ukraine did not deserve to lose by such a margin. The penalty and sending off may be viewed as harsh by some but from the referee's angle Vashchuk was clearly pulling Torres's shorts and he had no choice in awarding the card and spot kick. Spain's attack resembled Argentina's with the whole unit moving forward as one, utilising the width of the pitch with quick precise ground passes. The forwards were versitile and interchangable. Judging Spain defensively is not so easy, individually they are talented but as a unit they were very nearly caught in a failed offside trap several times. An attack better supported by midfield could have done some damage. Torres goal was the best of the tournament, three players showing determination, touch and oodles of class.

Ed: Once the man had been sent off the game was pretty much over, yet Spain managed to come up with the most impressive move so far of the World Cup. Puyol collected the ball before making an incredible turn; he then recollected it with a chest down to Torres who had powered into space. With defenders closing in he had to take it on the volley and hit with power and direction. The penalty and red card should stand, as Torres was having his shorts pulled down by the defender. The game was pretty much over, because Spain were so well–organised and the players so on–form. Ukraine had little to reply to such technique, however for them to be two–nil down so early was still a surprise. Shevchenko was too isolated and the attacking players too deep to be able to create anything.

Game 16: Tunisia vs. Saudi Arabia

2-2

Tunisia:
Jaziri 23, Jaidi 90

Saudi Arabia:
Al Kahtani 56, Al Jaber 83

Ed: As bad football matches go, this was quite good. By quite good I mean bad. Both teams were too poor to assert themselves in this game. In the first half Tunisia looked the most professional of the two teams, defending well enough to avoid Saudi Arabia's flaps around the box. Most of the goals however came through really awful defending, terrible marking, giving time and space for headers or tap–ins that the Conference thrives on. Having said that the Conference games I've seen were more exciting than this one. Saudi Arabia came at Tunisia well–enough in the second half, and the latter team lost its concentration. This enabled the pathetic touches and piling forward of Saudi Arabia to actually work. Their second goal was excellent. The winger received the ball, (see, wide play does work,) the runner required an excellent touch at a tight angle, before he then had to play a quick through–ball, as Al Jaber's space would have soon been cleared by the covering defender. And a superbly placed finish to round off the move. Due to more rubbish defending at the end, this game fell into complete irrelevance.

Si: In the first half Tunisia looked the least bad team but this was reversed in the second period so one assumes neither team was actually playing to their limited ability. The Saudi's goals looked good but it is suspected that a capable defence would have cut out both moves. Essentially neither team has a hope in hell of progressing.

Game 17: Germany vs. Poland

1-0

Germany:
Neuville 90

Si: Although Poland were an improved side after their defeat to Ecuador, they didn't attack with the conviction required to win this match. Germany again looked good against fairly weak opposition, the inclusion of Ballack adding a new dimension to the game. With several viable playmakers and at least two dangerous strikers, Germany could have scored at almost any point in the match. A team more capable of scoring themselves could have taken advantage of the German misses and finishing will be their main concern after this game. The hosts are not to be underestimated.

Ed: Even before Poland had a man sent off, Germany were already beginning to assert themselves. Ballack's top–class ability to switch play allowed for a number of long–balls to land in productive positions. Early on Schweinsteiger was also skipping past defenders and producing neat turns, although as the game wore on, his effectiveness wore off, and he was rightfully replaced with Borowski. Of particular note was the bringing on of Odonkor who's rapid pace utterly foxed the wingers and contrary to popular opinion (at least in Germany), his crossing was exemplery. The cross for the winning ball was the best, powerfully sliding it in for Neuville to claw into the goal. Germany were deserved winners, although Poand defended well and the keeper Boruc pulled off some magnificant saves.

Day 6 Summary:
Goals: 9
Alcohol Consumed: 21.6 Units


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