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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pledge your allegiance: The quarterfinals

Admit it, if you are like 70% of futbolUSA.net readers then you are American and have no team to cry over, or do you? Everybody watches the Superbowl and everyone has their own pick, right? So yes, it's bandwagon time. It's time to side with your favorite non-local team. Plenty of favorites to choose from:

Is it everyone's favorite, Brazil?

Are you happy with a young team playing smart soccer? We have Germany for you.

Do you like soccer Gods? Maradona, Messi and Argentina are there.

Do you want a star-studded, fast-paced game? Spain is the right team.

How about underachievers? Holland is a nice match.

First-timers by default? Paraguay is a good bet.

And how does a one-two attacking-punch plus dirty defense sound? Like Uruguay.

Underdogs can be fun to root for, no? Yes, that would be Ghana.

It's easy to choose the favorites for each match. Brazil has had no problem with Holland in the past. In fact, this match is a direct replay of another quarterfinal--in 1994. Romario and Bebeto scored, Bergkamp and Winter rescued the Dutch and Branco sealed the deal for the South Americans. Oh, that baby-swing celebration was trademarked by Bebeto when he scored. Truth is Holland lacks the arguments in its defense to cope with Brazil. Brazil doesn't. Not with Lucio, Dani Alves, Juan working the back line.

Argentina-Germany is a "final adelantada." A final in 1986 and 1990. Argentina won it first, followed by German vengeance the second time around. In 2006 they also met in the quarterfinals. Germany prevailed on penalty kicks. They were at home, don't forget that.

Spain-Paraguay will give us a first-time semifinalist or the final return of a giant. Paraguay had never made it to the quarterfinals. Now is their chance to write more history. Spain claimed fourth place in 1950. If Paraguay can play like Bob Bradley's squad last summer (and the Swiss on Spain's opening game) then they certainly stand a chance. Watch out for Villa, though. It seems like he wants the golden boot.

Finally there's the match we all thought the Americans should have had. Uruguay-Ghana. Uruguay's footballing history ended in 1970's semifinal. They did win it all in the inaugural tournament (1930) and in Brazil (1950) against the Ademir's host nation. Ghana is an entirely different kind of team. No history beyond the Olympics, one previous World Cup (2006) and an entire continent behind them. Win and they make history. Lose and they stop where other African nations have stopped prior to this tournament (Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002).

Are you a fan yet?

1 comment:

Alastair McCandless said...

Going for the Dutch, which means I will probably have to pick a new team again after tomorrow.