Monday, June 16, 2014

3 On/3 Off: Matches Nine-Eleven

It was a great way to spend father's day, a bowl of Cheeto's in one hand, a Sella Artois in the other and the sight of futbol, glorious futbol on the tele. Here's the big themes from a wonderful Sunday in the Park.

ON: Swiss Grit--Record setting as it was, the stoppage time goal was a great bit of luck for Switzerland, stealing a win from the jaws of defeat, and announcing that they will not be the poster child for stupid FIFA rankings everyone assumes they will.
OFF: Ecuadorian Defense--That final goal that has the internet raving, it was definitely a stroke of skill, but also a stroke of luck that Ecuador, on missing their chance looked so lackadaisical and foolish in challenges aimed to stop the attack, but not following through with the action to actually grab the draw. They'll need a result against France for any shot at the knockout rounds, and they can't defend like that (witness what happened to Honduras).

ON: Karim Benzema--The frenchman has a legitimate case to claim a hat trick (FIFA rules would suggest that the deflection off the keeper doesn't become an own goal since it rebounded off the post). He was THE Frenchman on the pitch, and looked every bit a world beater.
OFF: Wilson Palacios--Speaking of beater's, the Honduran midfielder seems to have some sort of axe to grind with Paul Pgoba. Hacking, grabbing and finally shoving him at every opportunity. Beyond looking ugly and unsportsmanlike, it leaves him out of the next match against Ecuador, and deprives Honduras of one of their best creators.

ON: Lionel Messi--The Atomic Flea made one of the most beautiful, gif-able, twitter-breaking able runs of this or any cup. Making opponents look foolish and striking a solid goal to seal the deal for Argentina
OFF: "Lionel Messi"--The idea that Messi can do it alone seems to have slipped into everyone's head, even Messi. No doubt, his great goal was the difference, but it was only the difference because Argentina luckily evaded Bosnian threat after threat. Every member of Albiceleste's attacking squadron seemed fixated on doing it themselves, the result--60 minutes of enervating, blase futbol that should have ended far worse than it did. Come on Leo, don't try to do it all yourself.

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