This is going to be remembered as the game in which the ghosts of 1966 were evoked as payback in this famous rivalry. But even if Frank Lampard’s shot had tied the game, let’s face it, England were never going to win this one, not with Gareth Barry doing his best Ricardo Clark impression. They played with no width on either side of the ball and couldn’t handle a fast and creative midfield led by Mesut Ozil. For all the talk of Lampard, Wayne Rooney, and Steven Gerrard, all of England’s tournament victories at come from an impenetrable defense. Today, their backline was, to put it mildly, dogshit. John Terry and Matthew Upson weren’t so much lions as mice that roared, and, on the wings, Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole were exposed more than Jason Hare’s mom’s tits at Sturgis.
By the way, Landon Donovan scored as many goals as the entire England team.
So is England this bad or is Germany that good? I want to think it’s the latter, qualified with the notion that Germany haven’t yet figured out who they are with these new players redefining German soccer. There’s still, as we witnessed today, the deadly counterattack, but they’re not as reliant on crosses and set pieces as in the past. It will be fun to watch them as they hit their prime in the next few years.
Argentina v. Mexico
Remember how it wasn’t until the eighth game when we had a controversial officiating decision – the sending off of Australia’s Tim Cahill? Now it seems like we can’t go a half without game-changing blown calls. Apparently, today was FIFA’s designated “Far Side Assistant Referee Screw-Up Day.” I’m not saying that Mexico had a chance in the game before Carlos Tevez put the ball in the net despite being three yards offside, but they had been playing Argentina even up to that point and, as with England, couldn’t mentally recover after the mistake. Mexico can take two things from today – that they were able to contain Lionel Messi and that Javier Hernandez will be a threat for them for many years to come.
Matchday 18 Previews
Netherlands v. Slovakia
We’ll see if Slovakia are for real or if that was just a horrible group. My take is that they were able to take advantage of an Italy team that was imploding. At the same time, they hung on for dear life at the end. I look for the Dutch to sneak one past them in the first 25 minutes and control the game until they have everything well under control.
Prediction: Netherlands 2, Slovakia 1
Brazil v. Chile
One reason why Chile has been so much fun to watch is because they play with reckless abandon. The downside is that they will be missing three starters due to suspension, a midfielder who was sent off against Spain, and two defenders who picked up their second yellow card. Brazil will tear apart their replacements.
Prediction: Brazil 3, Chile 0