The World Cup entered new waters yesterday, by providing us with a cracker of a game. Originally seen as a walkover for the Brazilians, North Korea battled hard against them in a tight 2-1 contest. Oh yes, only the second time more than two goals have been scored in a game so far this tournament.
It hasn't been pretty. Not pretty at all. We've seen some truley horrible defensive performances so far. But fear not. Spain play today! Hooray, Spain are the Mark Webber of the football world. Not really that good before hand, but then they get their first win and now everything is coming up roses for them. Euro 2008 champions and the favourites for the World Cup, they should be a delight to the tournament.
But before we talk about today, good news! The goals per game ratio is up to 1.64. But, still a bit to catch up to the current worst of 2.24, set by Italia 90 (Thats the one where England got to the semi finals, the late Sir Bobby Robson did his little dance and we realised that we were no good at penalites).
With the amazing improvement of the stats, lets have a look at some more:
- Already 44 yellow cards have been shown, which counts at 3.66 per game. But this is nothing compared to the 2006 World Cup, where on average 5.39 yellow cards were shown per game.
- Only one team has yet to get a yellow card, South Korea.
- Miroslav Klose is now just four goals away from equalling the all time record World Cup goalscorer. Sharing 15 goals with Ronaldo.
- If the goalscoring rate continues, only 105 goals will be scored. Making it the lowest of any World Cup featuring 32 teams. The lowest ever you ask, 147 in Germany 2006.
Honduras v Chile, Nelspruit, Kickoff: 12:30 GMT+1, ITV1
Lets be honest. This won't be a brilliant match. I can't lie to you, Honduras are one of the weakest teams here. But they do have a player called Welcome, and if that doesn't make the dream team, then nothing will. Chile on the other hand are a handy South American team, finishing second in the qualifying to only a certain team called Brazil. Their fate lies down to Humberto Suazo, if he is fit he should be the key difference between the two teams. The last time Chile won a game in the World Cup however, was in 1962, when they hosted it. The referee, I find interestingly enough, comes from Seychelles.
Key Players: Wilson Palacios (Honduras), Humberto Suazo (Chile)
Spain v Switzerland, Durban Stadium, Kickoff: 15:00 GMT+1, BBC1
Now this is what I call good. Once upon a time Spain used to be a team who choked when it came to the big international events, they even managed to lose to England on penalties. Now though, with Euro 2008 won, they look good, very good. Big name players through the spine of the team, Iker Casillas, Carlos Puyol, Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres, Xavi, the list is endless pretty much. Its the strongest squad in the tournament in my book. Switzerland, are a tougher team to call. Despite hosting Euro 2008 they finished dead last, but still beat Portugal. Impressively, in the 2006 World Cup they didn't concede a single goal (Drawing with France 0-0, beating Togo and South Korea 0-0 but lost to Ukraine on penalites after a 0-0 draw). They have less big names in the team however. Should be a comfortable Spanish victory.
Key Players: Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Alexander Frei (Switzerland)
South Africa v Uruguay, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Kickoff: 19:30 GMT+1, BBC1
And we start all over again back at Group A as the second round of games kick off in Pretoria. Both teams were forced to draws in the last game, and the effect on Uruguay is that red carded Nicolas Lodeiro is suspended for this match. I was disapointed in Uruguay in the last match and surprised by South Africa, this could be a close encounter yet again. I think it will be another draw, sitting on the fence here with 1-1.
Key Players: Siphiwe Tshabalala (South Africa), Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
So, another three games to keep us entertained (or help us if we've had a lack of sleep the night before). I have no idea how these games will pan out, I did predict for a heroic Korean victory last night. I did get the score right at least... So, here's my predictions:
- Honduras v Chile: 0-1 (zzz)
- Spain v Switzerland: 3-1 (Goals, hooray)
- South Africa v Uruguay: 1-1 (Could South Africa do the unthinkable and qualify?)
With that, I should see you in the comments.