Quarter FinalsGermany 1 - Argentina 1 (Germany wins on PK)
Fantastic! Just what was billed. Germany has shown they have the fortitude to continue on, especially continuing to attack and find the equalizer late in the second half. I’m not sure what the end scuffle was all about… I didn’t read anything about it here, but I’m sure the German papers covered it. Since I’ve been watching all the matches via DVR, I skip all the pre-game and halftime analysis, so I don’t know if it was covered then.Italy 3 - Ukraine 0
What a trouncing! Italy was never challenged in this one.England 0 - Portugal 0 (Portugal wins on PK)
England’s inept offense finally catches up with them. It only got worse with Beckham leaving early with an injury and Wayne Rooney given a red card. Rooney sure has a temper. I know he’s coming off an injury and this is the first time I’ve seen him, but other than intensity and a temper, I didn’t see much else to be excited about (at least not nearly the way the England side does). I hope ESPN will start showing more Premier League soccer, so we can follow up on some of this stuff. Both sides had chances to win this prior to PKs. But when it came down to it, England’s PK looked tired and Portugal’s keeper came up big. Almost all of Portugal’s PK’s were untouchable.Brazil 0 - France 1
The one team that could give Brazil fits, did so. France locked down incredibly hard on defense… to the tune of 0 shots for Brazil (they may have got one off at the end, but literally only feeble attemps). It looked nothing like previous Brazil teams and that should be entirely to France’s credit. I only remember bits of Zidane’s performances in the 1998 WC, but he is still a fun player to watch, and in my opinion has played much better in this Cup than Rhonaldino of Brazil. Henry is incredibly fast, and while his attacking style yields him the leader in offsides, all it takes is one chance.
My previous installment misrepresented the semifinal match ups. Germany squares off against Italy tomorrow with Portugal taking on France on Wednesday with the consolation and finals taking place on Saturday and Sunday respectfully. Portugal won’t be as depleted as they could have been, however I still see France moving on to the finals. France combines the offense with the defense that you need. Portugal has been playing some inspired soccer, but they just don’t have enough to pull off the upset.
Germany versus Italy should be another great game. Germany’s defense is still a bit shaky, but they held their own so far, so maybe its about time to stop doubting it. On a neutral field, I would call this a draw, but with the tremendous home field advantage, Germany should have enough to pull out another victory.