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The last of the last 16 games in the 2010 world cup in South Africa showed the best and worst this tournament has to offer. You would be forgiven for thinking that there is a set standard for the last 16 competitors, there isn’t.
If the winners were chosen on merit, and ability to entertain then Paraguay and Japan would be out. Never in this tournament have I been so bored with two teams playing in such an important game. Paraguay probably deserved to win out the two, and it did provide us with the first penalty shoot-out of South Africa, but I was close to tears it was so boring.
Paraguay eventually won on penalties after Japan missed one, I took notes, or note to be precise. I jotted down the name of the Japanese player who missed seeing as that was the only bit of action in the entire game worth mentioning. There were a couple of terrible challenges which were great, but altogether a really bad, almost anti-football performance from both teams. With that in mind no one deserves having their name mentioned.
Spain v Portugal was one of those matches that everyone was interested in… Some of the beast players in the world represent Spain, and Portugal has Ronaldo… David Villa of Spain is insanely talented, and scored the only goal of this game. The strange thing is he seems to have a love affair with the grass inside the penalty box… The grass outside the box must be different because he very rarely rolls about out there… But when he hits that penalty box it is as if there is a magnet pulling him down to the soft green grass. Strange.
The game didn’t live up to the hype, mainly because people expected Christiano Ronaldo to act like a grown up and play football… But as we all know, when it comes to big games where Ronaldo can attempt to justify being worth such a ludicrous amount of money (£120,000 Per Week) he would rather just walk about the park and cry like a big baby because he was born in Funchal, Madeira and knows that no matter how many tricks he can come up with, it is all for nothing because he will never, ever win a world cup playing with Portugal.
That is not to say the Spaniards will win, I think this year they will come as close as they ever had, but will eventually do their usual and bottle it, despite their current status as champions of Europe… But Spain do have some of the world’s best players in their team while Portugal only have Ronaldo. Spain progress to the quarter finals after beating their close rivals 1-0.
The Netherlands are an impressive team, and they could feasibly go all the way… If the whole ‘Dutch’ thing doesn’t get in the way… By that I mean falling out with each other and giving up completely. They had, on paper, the easiest opposition in Slovakia… Despite their status as giant beaters after their shock victory against Italy.
The return of Robben has been a blessing for the Dutch, and when he plays against defenses that don’t understand the concept of defending a left footed player playing on the right wing, particularly a player like Robben who is great with his left and terrible with his right. The Slovakians didn’t grasp this and Robben opened their defence like a bag of crisps and fired in the opener. Before the Slovakians could get into a groove Netherlands went 2-0 up through Wesley Sneijder, not Wesley Snipes no matter how much you wish it was.
Slovakia won a penalty in the dying seconds, the penalty was the last kick of the ball so it was a good thing Vitteck scored it to save a little face because he could have scored 3 or more on the day. Netherlands progress.
Brazil faced Chile in their last 16 battle, and probably the toughest game Brazil could have pulled, in the past Brazil have knocked Chile out twice, and goals from Juan, Luis Fabiano and Robinho ensured that Chile fell to the Samba stars for a third time. At no point in this game did Brazil look uncomfortable, which will give them the confidence to take on the Netherlands in their quarter final.
The other quarter finals matches are Uruguay v Ghana, Argentina v Germany, and Paraguay v Spain.
Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina all aiming for an all South American final.
Henry Hunter – WNV UK