Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Go Get Some Shooting Practice, Ghana

World Champion Ease Past Ghana



BRA - Ronaldo (5min), Adriano (45min), Ze Roberto (84 min);

You doubted him. You criticized him. He comes back bigger (no pun intended!), stronger and scoring important goals. He is Ronaldo. One of the most talented footballer in modern era and today, he broke Gerd Muller's World Cup goal scoring record by scoring his 3rd of the current World Cup and the 15th in the all time World Cup goal scoring charts. He might have put on some weight over the years, but his predator instinct has never been a doubt and today, he silenced all the critics yet again and scoring Brazil's first in the last 16 match against African, Ghana.

Instead of looking at Brazil, why not let's change the topic and talk about Ghana. Quite honestly, Brazil's hype bores me and I'm actually hoping they won't be in the finals this time round. Kill me if you want! Okay anyway I thought Ghana did really well throughout the game, but a few fundamental mistakes costed them the game and their finishing was simply, horrendous. I believe any half decent striker would have scored at least a goal against the Brazillians today as they looked extremely vulnerable. Their constant blasting of ball irks me and they just couldn't find a way past Dida, who was quite magnificent and saved Brazil's blushes.

Another of Ghana's problem was the defence. They are FAR too indiscplined to play the off-side trap and they got punished for it. Their 'trap' was all over the place and the first goal from Ronaldo was down to the positioning of the line of defenders. If you want to play off-side trap against Brazil, you have to be extremely disciplined and defenders have to communicate well. From what I have seen, Brazil seemed to struggle a bit when they're up against a team with men behind ball, teams like Croatia did well to stifle the Brazillian flair with their men behind ball and man-marking system. To play against a team with excellent passing, technique in the middle and pace upfront, it's suicidal to play offside trap against.

And that offside trap created more problem for the Ghanians rather than the Brazillians as Adriano raced on to Ze Roberto's through ball and he took the ball past the goalkeeper, Kingson. Kingson seemed to have tripped Adriano and looked more convincing than the Italian penalty yesterday, the referee gave Adriano a yellowcard instead for diving and it's a disappointing decision. But he seemed to even things up later when Adriano was awarded a goal which is scored in an offside position. The Ghanian defence was once again tore apart and Cafu with his marauding run down the right, centered the ball for Adriano to tap it in. It was clearly offside, but the referee gave it and it was 2-0 just before half time.

It was not the most ill-disciplined match in the World Cup, but still the referee managed to get his red card out yet again. Asamoah Gyan was sent off for second bookable offence. The first yellow card was a little harsh and the second was for a blatant dive and rightly so. I think it's time to stamp out on the diving and cheating because it's getting on many people's nerves.

Ghana is no pushover really. Like Australia yesterday, they actually had more of the ball than Brazil did and the only problem with them was that they didn't turn their possesion into goals. Sounds familiar? Yea, they had chances, but they weren't clinical enough, unlike the Brazillians. It's nice to see a World Cup debutant performing well in such a big match, against the world champion and actually causing the defence lot's of trouble. They stiffled Ronaldinho well and leasen his influence in the game. The absence of Mikael Essien was a blow, but they still do extremely well with Muntari and Appiah starring in the midfield.

Remember the goal Argentina scored against S&M, where they strung a move with 24 passes and finished the move with Cambiasso's left foot drive? Well, today Brazil triump that move with their own version of it and it consisted of 25 passes, 1 more than the Argentina. Once again the Ghanian off-side trap sprung opened and Ze Roberto was one on one with the keeper. He tapped the ball over the keeper before tapping the ball into an empty net. It was harsh for the Africans, who I think really don't deserve to lose by that much of a margin. But Brazil were just too strong and clinical.

Ghana was taught a lesson of football by the masters. That's how I'm gonna sum up the match. Possesion doesn't win you games but putting the ball into the net. Brazil showed us that they don't need much of the ball to actually finish teams off. Not a brilliant performance by the Brazillians, but a professional one and good bye Ghana, I think we'll see you again in 4 year's time.

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