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Mara-Villa! Spain 1 - Portugal 0

The Univision announcer gets the credit for the title.

Thoughts from the Spain game:

1. David Villa. Simply amazing. Has to be the MVP of the tournament thus far. Spain has played well, but hasn't been the most impressive team. Argentina as a whole has probably looked the best. But their offensive attack has been pretty evenly dispersed between Tevez, Higuain and Messi. All three are playing very well, but no single player in the tournament is carrying their team like Villa. Spain has 5 goals and Villa has scored 4 and assisted the other one. Other players are playing well and contributing, but Villa has put the team on his back and is carrying them through the Cup.

2. Too Much Possession. This is what got Spain into trouble in the first game against Switzerland. It's what caused Barcelona to lose to Inter Milan in the Champions League. Spain's midfield likes to control the ball and create the perfect opportunity. But when a team shuts down and disrupts the midfielders and prevents the opportunities, Spain is vulnerable. It happened against Switzerland and it almost happened against Portugal. Spain controlled the ball more, but until the Villa goal, Portugal had the better opportunities. Spain's opportunities were few and far between. It's fortunate that they have Villa who really only needs one good look at the goal to score.

Along with that, I think Spain got way too conservative after the first goal. They were already playing keep away and there were 20+ minutes left. There are too many other teams in the tournament that will punish Spain if they get too conservative. Teams that can play defense and stop the midfield and score goals. I think it was the semi-relaxed attitude that got Spain in trouble and the sense of urgency that really propelled them into the knock-out rounds. The relaxed attitude seems to be creeping back.

3. The Nike Curse lives on! Tchau Cristiano. All six featured players in the Nike commercial have been eliminated from the World Cup. Before the knock-out rounds only Rooney and Ronaldo were still alive, now both have been eliminated. Hopefully all the players can put their endorsement money to good use and throw World Cup finals party or something.

4. The Straight Red Card: To get upset at the officiating is like a broken record at this point, but the officials really bring it upon themselves. Ricardo Costa was red carded in the 89th minute off a weak foul. The foul didn't even deserve a yellow. The Spain player, Capdevilla did a great job at selling the foul, but even the ref should have known it didn't deserve a straight red card. A straight red card is for when a player breaks someone's knee or something. It's fortunate that it was so late in the game so it arguably didn't really impact that outcome of the game. Still though, I know the official's job is hard, but you have to do better than that.

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1 comment:

  1. The games are so physical, blatant shoving and elbows, I can't believe they handed a card for that. Why is it okay to shove another player off the field but not okay to get them with an elbow during a play? I'm glad I'm not a ref.
    Are you going to post about the pros/cons of instant replay or a ref in the upper box who can see replays?


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