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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Germany v Costa Rica, Poland v Ecuador

The Germany v Costa Rica was a good match to start the tournament with. Beforehand, the silly niggling rumour-mongering conveyed a disruption in the German camp that Michael Ballack declared himself fit while Jurgen Klinsmann stated the new Chelsea man would take no part in the match. Turned out Klinsmann was right, and the implications of your national captain disputing with the national coach would echo heavily amongst the homeland as hosts. Sounds like someone was stirring pretty heavily but came up stuck as Ballack joined in on the bench. According to the BBC team line-up prior to kick-off, a player whose corresponding shirt number was in red indicated being unfit to play, as FIFA are informed of this before kick-off. Ballack's was red, therefore he was considered unfit to play by Klinsmann.

Great goals from both sides. , Philip Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger linking up well on the left for Lahm to cut inside and shoot past Jose Porras, only for old Premiership boy Paulo Wanchope to break the German offside trap for the equaliser, coolly taken despite being closed down by two defenders and the keeper. Schneider, skipper for the match, played well and ran down the right to cut back for Schweinsteiger, whose diagonal shot was touched in by Miroslav Klose. Klose continued his 2002 goal poaching by heading a cross at Porras and then following up to increase the lead but yet again Wanchope was on hand to break the defence again for Costa Rica's second goal. Yet the Costa Ricans' would go on the attack and then kill its advantage by playing it back or simply not moving forward fast enough, which allowed the Germans to come back in numbers, therefore the Costa Ricans' were made to sweat their way forward and then fail to make a breakthrough.

That being that, the Germans didn't give up on another goal and Torsten Frings was squared to by Schweinsteiger and unleashed a fierce drive from some 30yards that was caught excellently by the German defender and curled away from Porras. It was a fitting end to a good game that kicked off theWorld Cup 2006.

I received a text from T in regard to Poland's answer to Wayne Rooney (T's words), Jacek Krzynowek, who is known for a burst of speed, skill and a decent left-foot on him. With the expectation that he and Celtic's Maciej Zurawski would apply a stern test to the Ecuadorian defence, things fell very short for Poland. Skipper Ivan Hurtado and Giovanny Epinoza were holding very firm in central defence as Ulises de la Cruz and Neiser Reasco broke forward well on attack from full back positions.

De la Cruz took the throw that was headed on by another Premiership old boy on the day, Augustin Delgado, and Carlos Tenorio jumped the quickest and highest to nod Ecuador in the lead on 24mins. Poland gambled on the lone striker and for me they are better than this in 4-4-2. Ecuador began to make more runs, weaving in and out of midfield as Poland stood gazed and struggled to block their opponents out. Poland became slightly better in the second half with their attacks but couldnt find the right play in front of goal, and were superbly denied by a last ditch tackle from Epinoza on Radoslaw Sobolewski just as the midfielder cocked to shoot yards in front of keeper Christian Mora.

However Ecuador fially put paid to Poland's urgence for an equaliser as Luis Valencia and Edison Mendez, who both were influential in Ecuador's attacking play, linked up for Mendez to thread a through ball to Ivan Kaviedes, just onside, who squared it easily to Delgado past the despairing Artur Boruc for the second goal. Poland were very unfortunate with two hard strikes against the post in the closing moments through subs Ireneusz Jelen and Pawel Brozak, but had they gone in, Poland would have scraped a draw through those strikes they scarcely deserved.

I had expected a shock win for the Costa Ricans but they played at times quite lethargic other than the two moments when they scored, while Ecuador showed that they are a team not affected by altitude, as had been mentioned, to beat Poland.



Anonymous Nturtle said...

Nice ones Redsman! I thought Germany showed some nice football...but only superb goals from Lahm and Frings separated the sides! Poor defending by Friedrich really allowed Wanchope in to beat Lehman both times.

Good luck to Costa Rica in their next few could still be onto a dark horse Redsman...but I think they still are lacking in quality to make the grade.

Ecuador really showed the Europeans how to play I guess. A shock to Poland...but by no means finished. I predict that Germany will be losing to Poland or's going to be tight!

6/10/2006 4:20 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

That's a couple of big predictions there, Nturtle. I imagined Germany and Poland losing to make the next game that is between them all the more important. But with Poland not profitting much from their 4-5-1, Germany could be in line for another victory.

It is up to Poland to change their formation and then allow their play to develop. If the Germans defend on the attack as they did with the Costa Ricans, Poland are likely to break them regularly. With Ballack potentially back in midfield, it could, could be a different story, so that match is one to watch.

I sense the Central & South American meet-up will be a draw, setting up the Ecuadorians with a big encounter with the Germans for the final game. Predicting the Germany v Poland match has too many dependants to make a clear call, so the Germans could be going into the last game with a minor feel of desperation.


6/10/2006 4:38 pm

Blogger T said...

Excellent commentaries Redsman, and I'll remember those predictions Nturtle!

I thought Germany looked good - or were they made to look good by Costa Rica - under the pressure of being the hosts and I loved the goals by Lahm and Frings.

For me its great that this World Cup ball can be struck from long-range- unlike the disaster Adidas ball from Euro 2004 which only the Portugese seemed to master from range. Its evident from the opening games that all sides are willing to take their chances from outside the box!

I liked Schweinsteiger's performance- for a youngster he shows a lot of maturity.

Thanks Redsman for mentioning my text about Kryznowek! I really like this player- who for me is reminiscent of Rooney in build, touch, and even facially! He scored a scorcher against Real Madrid for Leverkusen in 2004-2005- and also against Wales in the same season... and since then is always a player I look out for. I thought he looked Poland's most dangerous player- and had a good goal wrongly declared offside. I doubted the decision to sub him- and then a few minutes later Ecuador scored their second.

Ecuador were very impressive in workrate and power. I liked their centre-back Espinoza and their left back Reasco. I also thought the yellow-booted Valencia is one to keep an eye on in future games. All in all Ecuador were deserved winners... and I back them to get another win against the open Costa Rican's (Redsman, you know that I don't share your hopes for the central Americans!).

As for Poland v Germany... I think Poland will play as if its the match of their lives and I currently fancy a scoring draw... with Krynowek the star man if the coach selects him!

6/11/2006 4:29 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

My hope for the Costa Ricans has dwindled from their first performance, I was very annoyed with it when they had good possession but went on to continuously waste it. Why they only had the strengths to create the two chances superbly for Wanchope is the question, they are better than that. The Germans have set their market now and little does seem to be in their way to the next round, in the form of Ecuador.

Krzynowek looks a very good prospect for Poland to exploit and they must do away with 4-5-1 to have hope of progression.


6/11/2006 10:47 pm


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