Daily Cup Check: Day 14
Well at least no one committed assault on another opponent or tried to give them rabies (yes, I’m insinuating that Suarez is rabid. You explain it another way). Let’s go through the day’s events.
Argentina 3 – Nigeria 2
Doesn’t exactly bode well for tomorrow that in a match where a draw would have seen both sides through, they had both scored within the first five minutes and were basically going for it the entire time, or at least until Bosnia took a two-goal lead and assured Nigeria’s passage.
If both Germany and the Yanks score in the first five minutes tomorrow I assure you I won’t be writing any of these again, as I’ll be in shock and possibly a coma for a good month.
I guess Argentina is never set up for a draw with this 2-4-0-4 formation they’re currently rocking, and Nigeria isn’t set up for a draw because they’re Nigeria and have no concept of defense and never will.So it goes.
Argentina may fear that they’ve got the Barcelona problem of being Messi-dependent, but I don’t know how you avoid becoming Messi-dependent when he scores all the time. Brilliant stuff today obviously, especially the second one. Though if you give him one sighter of a free kick, he’s probably going to bag the second one.
Sergio Aguero’s injury would normally be a problem, but it’s not when you bring in Lavezzi who is more adept at playing wide and coming in, which should open up space for Higuain. Or Messi if he’s deployed as he is at Barcelona, and Argentina fielding any kind of midfielder ahead of Mascherano and Gago.
There should be alarm bells on how their right side was completely scorched, but Lavezzi might – repeat, might – provide Zabaleta a little more cover than Aguero would.
Argentina-Switzerland should have about 17 goals in it. Though Messi might get 12 of them.
Bosnia 2 – Iran 1
Switzerland 3 – Honduras 0
Seeing Shaqiri score a hat trick when his team needed him most doesn’t make me want him to come to Anfield at all or anything.
That’s the thing about this Swiss team and makes you want to see what they look like at France ’16 or Russia ’18: the attacking dynamic at work through Shaqiri, Drmic, and Xhaka can be breathtaking.
Shaqiri’s first was obviously a thunderbolt, but the second was set up by a 50-yard pass from Inler to Drmic along the ground. When do you ever see that? Maybe it was due to Honduras pressing up, but my lord what a ball. The third just an expert counter attack.
When Honduras wasn’t worried about kicking people or complaining to the ref, Honduran staples, they actually created some chances to at least make it interesting but couldn’t finish.
So we say goodbye to Honduras, not to be seen again until the next qualifier the US has to play there which they’ll inexplicably lose because that’s just how these things go. With the possible exception of a Gold Cup meeting next summer, where the entire midfield will leave without ankles thanks to Honduran tactics.
As for the Swiss, they’ll probably get borked by Argentina because what France did to them Argentina can do six times over, but they’ll get their share of licks in too. Don’t miss that one.
France 0 – Ecuador 0
What a snoozer. It almost seemed that Ecuador didn’t know they had to win even after they went down to 10 men, and every French player was basically just trying to not get hurt and save themselves for the next round.
Of course, Antonio Valencia continued Man United’s wretched (and hilarious) season and their performances in this tournament with a ridiculous tackle resulting in a sending off. He can join Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney, with Nani not far behind, as just shit performers for their countries.
As for France, they look pretty sturdy where it counts. Lots of teams have exciting attacking players, including Nigeria who they’ll see next.
But Sakho, Varane, and Cabaye make for a pretty solid middle (which can be bolstered by Pogba’s box-to-box act) and they have about four different fullbacks they can go to. Even if Sakho’s injury keeps him out they have other options.
And every other World Cup they go to the Final, right? That would be kind of annoying.
Awkward Analyst Of The Day
Having Michael Ballack and Alexei Lalas talk about the Germany-US match was painful, and you could hear Ballack straining to not convey that a lot of the German team hates Klinsmann’s guts after his spell at Bayern. Phillip Lahm might actually spontaneously combust tomorrow.
OTF Player Of The Day
Xherdan Shaqiri: You’ll love it on Merseyside, bud. I promise. Way better than Munich. And you’ll be by far the best looking guy in the city. Trust me.