Playing “Nice” versus Playing “Tough” Who Wins? Costa Rica 0 Serbia 1
I visited Costa Rica twice now and every time came back thinking “Nicest People”. With football being a National Mirror that is how Costa Rica played today: Nice, Elegant football is great for the eye but not for the points. Serbia by contrast without any political reference is Tough, Aggressive and Intense. Mix that with English Premier League experience with key players Kolarov, Ivanovic, Matic etc and quickly guess who won.
Costa Rica started the game on the front foot in the first 15 minutes but lacked the “bite”. Whoever said that nice people always finish last, may be boasting today. Kolarov’s free kick, very similar to Ronaldo’s against Spain, was worth the admission especially to the Serbian supporters. In short this was another instalment of the “Opportunist v Conservative”. In the dying seconds VAR intervened to rule a yellow card against a Serbian player who slapped a Costa Rican on the face. VAR seems to be working although the interruptions are annoying to the football traditionalist. Non-supporters of either team better watch Germany and Brazil today for better quality football.
Can you believe it? The German World Cup holders lost the Opening Match. Mexico 1 Germany 0
You had to watch this match from the edge of your seat – I did. From the introduction of the lineups you felt that this is already shaping up as an unfair fight. Mexico will have to pull all the stops at the start of play or they’ll be crushed by the highly efficient Germans. The efficiency of the Germany’s in moving the ball is uncanny. …and they did.. In the intermission I wrote: “No matter the final score Mexico’s first half open, attacking and counterattacking football has been unbelievable”. So far this match figures to be the best of World Cup 2018. Mexico’s opening goal in the 35th minute was well executed and totally earned. Clearly it poked the German bear who came out swinging. To the final seconds Germany still had this aura of invincibility if you bet on them winning keep up your hopes. As one said the World Cup is a tournament of 32 nation competing for football supremacy and the Germans win! Most entertaining football so far.
Mexico better not let up in the second half – The German are coming! Personally I hate this strategy of protecting the lead for a full half and only counter attack. Yet Mexico had at least two clear and better chances than the German. Spain Portugal was a more beautiful game this one was more exciting and nerve racking.
I was giggling when the Mexican coach said before the match: “ we have the confidence we’ll beat Germany”
Another giant cut to size Switzerland 1 Brazil 1
The confidence of Brazil and the fun they are having in just playing the “Jogo Bonito” is fun to watch and indeed they did so in the first half. Coutinho’s goal, his special, is right up there with the best goals from open play so far. The difference between Brazil and all other teams except may be Spain is that other teams “Work”: Brazilian “Play”.
After Swiss equalized from a corner headed by an unmarked Swiss player, Brazil was thrown off its game and instead of playing started to press. For Brazil this is not a winning formula and indeed a 1:1 tie is well deserved by the Swiss. It’s not that the Swiss won the point it is that Brazil did not fight for the win. To illustrate the point Brazil shot accuracy (shots on goal/Shots on target was a pathetic 20%. The second half was reminiscent of the second half of Germany v Mexico when the superior Germans lost their way. Switzerland is a robust team they were not shy to foul (especially Neymar) at every opportunity and with this tie may have secured a place in the Round of 16.