Sunday, June 11, 2006

World Cup Day 2 Round Up

AOL-Arena, Hamburg

Argentina 2 - 1 Ivory Coast

ARG - Crespo 24; Saviola 38;

CIV: Drogba 82;

World Cup favourites (and my pick to win the WC) kicked off the campaign with an emphatic 2-1 win over dark horses from the Africa, Ivory Coast although just surviving a late onslaught from 'the Elephants'. This match undoubtedly is the most exciting match of this World Cup already with end to end stuff. Argentina uses abit of their skill to get behind Ivory Coast's defence while the Ivorians using their sheer speed, strength and tenacity to have a go at Argentina and it caught Argentina off-guard a few times.

Even in the early stage of the game, the Ivorians showed everyone that they're not afraid of anyone and really, really, had a go at the Argentinians and you could see that the Argies aren't very used to these type of tactics and therefore they were under quite a lot of pressure for the starting few minutes. And throughout the whole first half, they were quick to come out of their shell and really attack Argentina. But Argentina showed everyone, including Diego Maradona who's a spectator and played no part the game, that they are 2 times World champions.

First, Riquelme had a free-kick at the left wing and he floated a ball into the box, causing confusion among the defenders and Hernan Crespo, the marksman, was on hand to poke the ball into the net. Then in the 38minute, Riquelme held up the ball on the left, before unleashing a perfect through-ball for Saviola, who perfected the timing of his run and he was there just fast enough to slid a shot under the Ivorian keeper's leg. It was harsh, but a very clinical first half for the Argentinians. The Ivorians were just unlucky to go two down, and a little harsh to be fair.

To be honest, Argentina's ball-retention were superb and although they're under a lot of pressure from the Ivorians, they help up the ball really well and you could see that the possesion was 40-60 in favour of the Argies. During the second half, Argentina sat back a little and tried to slow the game down a little. But the Ivorians refuse to accept defeat so easily in their first World Cup game, gave their every ounce of energy just to get a goal, and deservedly so. In the 82nd minute of the game, Drogba, the one man battering ram was in the box all by himself and he held up the ball superbly, laying to off to an impressive Arthur Boka and getting a return from him, and he drove the ball into the net. 2-1. By then the Argentinians were holding on and they made it out of there jut alive. But what a clinical performance from Argentina. Got their chances and finished them well.

Certain players caught my eyes actually. Dider Zakora was really hardworking and a perfect workhorse midfield any team would want. Arthur Boka, the hailed 'Roberto Carlos' of Africa was pretty impressive and Dider Drogba. Yes I know I love to crticize this big man, but seriously if he puts all his theatrics aside, he IS a very good target man. He's got the strength, guile and a power to hold up the ball all by himself. A superb game reall. More to come!

SHOCKER: Trinidad & Tobago 0 - 0 Sweden

BORE-FEST: England 1 - 0 Paraguay

No comments: