Arsenal players put in good performances at the World Cup today. Van Persie picked up an assist, Bendtner scored a nice goal and should have had an assist (don’t know why he isn’t credited with one) and Song worked hard in midfield and deserved more from the game.
The day started with Holland taking on Japan. I was hoping for an Argentina like mesmerising display from the Dutch but they continue to do it the hard way. Japan deserve credit for their hard work and defensive organization that was only broken when the keeper couldn’t keep out a Sneijder thunderbolt.
The Netherlands weren’t very impressive even though they had all the possession, over 70% at one point in the first half. Even at the end after Japan came out and tried to score they ended with two thirds of the ball. Unlike Spain, who couldn’t break the Swiss down, the Dutch team failed to create many chances. The Spaniards at least got in behind on occasions and even hit the bar but the Oranje looked toothless in the first half.
They are obviously missing the pace and skills of Robben but the others have been quite disappointing. What can you say when the keeper completes more passes or a central defender covers more ground than Sneijder and Van der Vaart!?
The Dutch attackers’ off the ball movement was poor and work rate was woeful and it actually made life easy for the Japanese defence. If the keeper had done his job the Dutch would have found it very difficult to score.
Japan did well when they were forced to come out but didn’t have the composure in front of goal. The Dutch defence was all over the place and at least in that they did emulate the Argentineans!
Is this the sign that luck will finally favour the Oranje?
Some fans want us to sign Van der Vaart but based on his last two outings I’m not sure he can perform consistently at a top club in the Premiership.
In the second game, Ghana failed to win against 10 men of Australia. The Socceroos took an early lead and were looking good for an upset. It all changed when Kewell was sent off for handling the ball on the line. Gyan converted the resulting penalty but Ghana couldn’t make the man advantage count. Australia deserve credit for a much improved performance but it looks to be too little too late.
There was some criticism of the referee for showing Kewell the red card but I don’t see any sense in that. Players with such experience should not have their arms spread out while standing on the line. If you don’t give a red card for that then red cards should not be given for denying any goal scoring opportunity.
In the final game Bendtner’s Denmark took on Song’s Cameroon in a crunch game. The indomitable lions got off to a good start when Christian Poulsen gifted them a goal with a sloppy pass in the defensive third.
Denmark were struggling to create and Cameroon dominated the midfield comfortably. It changed in the 33rd minute when a brilliant cross field ball from defence put Rommedahl n behind. He squared it and Bendtner showed fantastic technique to finish as the ball was bouncing and he was stretching to meet it.
The long ball that picked out Rommedahl was superb and Kjaer deserves credit for that and other good passes from defence. Even though he picked a booking and will miss the next game the youngster has been impressive. Not quite the finished article yet but good enough to play at the top clubs. He has all the talent to develop into one of the world’s best centre backs.
Denmark got the winner when Bendtner picked up the ball around the half way mark and found the run of Rommedahl. The veteran winger cut inside Makoun and placed it beautifully in the far corner with his supposedly weaker foot. He is one of those guys who make me wonder why he hasn’t played at top clubs on a regular basis. Walcott should study his videos, there is a lot the youngster can learn.
You could say that Assou-Ekotto was at fault for both goals as he was nowhere near the Danish winger.
Cameroon did try hard for the equalizer but their finishing let them down. Even Song had a pop from outside the box but the ball was always rising.
In a way I’m happy that Song will get some well deserved rest before the next season starts.
Overall it was a very exciting game but just like the US-Slovenia game the excitement was more because the football wasn’t very good. Denmark were uncharacteristically shoddy in defence and Cameroon didn’t play to their potential either.
Still, I’ve to say the quality of these games is getting much better than the mid-table or end of the table clashes in the Premier League. The quality of the outfield players has been good and some of the teams, like Japan today, have been a pleasant surprise.
I’m not really looking forward to tomorrow’s games as the Italian group isn’t very interesting. At least the last game of the day should be fun as Brazil take on Ivory Coast.