Sportsball (World Cup 2010), Matchday Ten

Paraguay 2-0 Slovakia

It took until the last few minutes to put them away, but Paraguay were in total control from start to finish anyway. Took both goals very well, and with it they’ve taken control of the group. They’ve made up for their attacking deficiencies today.

Slovakia, very poor, didn’t improve after the draw against New Zealand. No imagination up front. They’re not going anywhere but home based on these kind of performances.

Italy 1-1 New Zealand

Let me be clear up front: I’m not actually that impressed by NZ. A very lucky, offside goal to go ahead, followed by a display of pure anti-football. It’s easy to defend when you have 11 players behind the ball. A few more Italian shots on target and the score would have been very different. NZ keeper was dodgy and the attack continues to falter.

The defence did its turtle job effectively. Italy got the equalizer and dominated but their failure to capitalize on all of their possession and chances speaks volumes of the problems within their team.

New Zealand has gotten very lucky in this tournament. That luck is going to run out and I think it’ll be against Paraguay who have proven to be the most prolific goalscorers of the group. In the event of that result Italy won’t need to beat Slovakia which is good since its hard to see them doing it. Paraguay to beat NZ, a draw for Italy/Slovakia. Paraguay and the World Champions through. Italy won’t get much further then that.

Brazil 3-1 Cote d’ Ivoire

Brazil by far the better team. Pulsing, enthusiastic attack, slick midfield, solid defence. Brazil are looking like a team that go all the way which isn’t very odd in itself. Brilliant first goal, illegal second and a well executed third. I feel little sympathy for CI considering their behavior in the second half.

Two rash, high, studs up challenges that went unpunished. Those were leg breakers and they should have resulted in red cards. Then Kaka’s ridiculous sending off, a disgraceful decision. Worst refereeing performance of the tournament, a game that should become the key advertisement for video referrals.

Cote d’Ivoire collapsed,and lost their composure. They aren’t gone yet, but I don’t think they deserve to go through. Brazil can go on, having confirmed first.

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