Like many of you, I have kept a close eye on the world cup. These are a few of my thoughts after the first several days of the tournament.
- Most impressive team as of 06/14 - Germany. The Germans put on a clinical and comprehensive beatdown of the Socceroos from Australia. Miroslav Klose scored for his third straight world cup, after a fruitless club season in Germany. The Germans patiently built up from the back and picked their spots for the full 90 minutes seemingly at will. The current crop of young talent seems poised for the big stage and will keep Germany at the top of the soccer world for years to come. Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller, and substitute Cacau completed the goalscoring for a 4-0 final tally. After the game, German coach Joachim Low admitted that his side will see far superior competition in the coming weeks; however, his team looked like a well-oiled machine in their first match of the group stage. I expect them to make a deep run, maybe to the semi-finals. The Germans' next match will be Friday morning vs. the Serbs.
- Most disappointing team as of 06/14 - France. The French don't deserve to be here in the first place, but I'll regretfully not get too much into that. Legendary "Les Bleus" midfielder Zinedine Zidane put it bluntly when speaking about manager Raymond Domenech: "He is not a coach." Say no more, Zizou. This is a side full of dazzling individual talents; there are 11 different agendas going on at once. There is no creativity, no communication on the pitch, and no sense of urgency. I'm not sure how such a talented team can continue to underperform on a consistent basis. The scoreless draw against 10-man Uruguay was a real bad look for the French and only a drastic change in leadership in a short period of time will right the ship.
- Overrated team - England. Say what you want about Dempsey's goal being a fluke, the Americans deserved a point from their Saturday match against the English. While many across the pond will surely disagree, for me England is a step below the likes of Spain, Brazil, Germany and maybe the Netherlands as well. Rooney seems a bit off, the goalkeeping debacle has reached new heights, and a second striker has yet to step up. They'll still get out of the group, but after that we'll see. However, I thought Gerrard was the best outfield player on the pitch against the U.S.
- 5 who have impressed me so far: Mesut Ozil - Germany, Tim Howard - USA, Siphiwe Tshabalala - South Africa, Vincent Enyeama - Nigeria, Giovani Dos Sanots - Mexico.
- 5 who have disappointed: Team - France, The guy who got sent off for trying to catch a cross with his hands - Algeria, Samuel Eto'o - Cameroon, Fabio Cannavaro - Italy, Mark Schwarzer - Australia.