Wednesday, June 16, 2010

World Cup Thoughts (I)

1) Last night, Brazil was uninspired and mechanical, to say the least, but North Korea scored a goal on them, and that takes some doing. Brazil controlled the ball about 90% of the game (not even exaggerating), but never seemed very interested in actually getting off a shot--they were nonchalant. North Korea seemed perfectly content to let the Brazilians pass the ball around outside the penalty box, patiently waiting for a chance to steal and go on a quick counterattack.

Hand it to North Korea, their strategy was pretty successful, and they nearly emerged with a tie--the lowest-ranked team in the World Cup against the five-time winners, number one ranked Brazil. Guess who came to play? Of course, that may be because one family member will get "re-educated" for each mistake they make.

2) Too bad North Koreans will not get to see this game, since Dear Leader plans only to broadcast games they win. Still, that beats the hell out of Somalia, where some wingnut Islamic jihadists that control one area have executed at least two people for watching World Cup. Or maybe they just snapped under the relentless buzz of those vuvuzelas.

3) There has been much talk around here about Pak Ji-sung's very nice left-footer to polish off Greece in their first game, but one is now hearing about the tenacious bald defender Cha Du-ri. Mainly that he's a robot. The name on his jersey is D R Cha, because of his creator, Dr. Cha (not to be confused with Dr. Bong or Dr. Noonian Soong); his old number, 11, was actually a plug, for battery recharging, and his new number, 22, is because he's been upgraded to 220 volts. But, as the Dong-A Ilbo story where I read this points out, it's all really a compliment to his "enormous stamina and positive mindset".

4) The officiating so far has been generally excellent, but I did note a couple of significant missed calls that would have resulted in a PK: in the final minutes of added time, a Japan defender pushed down a Cameroon player who has a really good chance 15 yards out on a cross; and a North Korea defender handled the ball in the corner of the big box in the first few minutes.

5) There is NO number five.

6) The two players reputed to be the world's number one and two--Messi of Argentina and Ronaldo of Portugal--turned out to be ineffective in their first showing of this World Cup. Not that they were invisible, Ronaldo even got himself booked with an intemperate reaction to being fouled.

7) Speaking of Messi, Argentina meets South Korea in tomorrow's early game (8:30 PM here), the two sitting even at 3 points in Group B (though Korea leads on goals). Pak Jisung is a teammate of Argentine standout Carlos Tevez at Manchester United, and they are reportedly good mates--though neither one speaks English worth a flip--so it's worth keeping an eye on them in the game.


Anonymous said...

Not fluent, but good enough for an interview or two.


JR said...

Brazil definitely don't look like genuine title contenders. Whilst they have flair and control, the fact that N. Korea were able to shut them down suggests that some of the bigger name sides - Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy - might fancy their chances against Dunga's men. As for Messi and Ronaldo... I hope that they start to show their class soon as watching great players is what it's all about!!

Anonymous said...

Very nice write-up!

Brazil under Dunga thrives on hitting teams with a counter-attack and working a bit of magic from set-pieces. North Korea's style is such that they don't weaken the defense to put a lot of players forward -- making a counter-attack much more difficult. Put those team tactics together and you have the makings of a very close game. Well done to North Korea!

Pak Jisung is a teammate of Argentine standout Carlos Tevez at Manchester United

Just a minor correction but Park Ji-sung plays at Manchester United while Carlos Tevez plays for Manchester City. Easy to mistake the two, though an important distinction to their fans. ;)

Tuttle said...

Thanks for the comments.
mie: nice links, but a) Tevez is incomprehensible to me, and b) Jisung was clearly fed the questions in advance.
JR: Yep.
samedi: you're right, I was thinking of his two previous years at Man U and forgot about the transfer.