Monday, July 5, 2010

World Cup Review: Down to one

Four South American countries made it to the World Cup quarterfinals but only one would survive into the semifinals. The region’s weakest team to reach the quarters- Uruguay- will play a Netherlands squad looking to claim another South American scalp after beating Brazil 2-1. Before discussing los charruas chances of beating the red-hot Dutch let’s take a quick look at some recent occurrences with other regional sides.

* Paraguay: Iffy refereeing decisions have apparently become a hallmark of this World Cup and to the list of infamy we can the crew during Paraguay’s quarterfinal match with Spain. Late in the first half linesman Carlos Pastrana erred in disallowing a legit Paraguayan goal for offsides. As you can see in the video highlights below, referee Carlos Batres not exactly on the ball after granting Paraguay and Spain penalty kicks in the second half. It’s no wonder that now-former Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino said sarcastically after the game (won by Spain 1-0) that he was hoping FIFA would apologize to his team.

* Argentina: In the aftermath of Germany’s 4-0 spanking of Argentina one of the main question being asked is what will be the fate of team coach Diego Maradona? After returning to his native land on Sunday he hinted that his “cycle has finished” and that he would resign. Since then he has remained mum while fellow players and coaches have come to his side. Whether he stays or goes one thing is for sure: Maradona won’t strip and streak in Buenos Aires.

* Brazil: While Maradona waffles, Brazil’s player-turned-coach Dunga was fired from his post after the loss to the Dutch. Though he coached the Brazilian side to titles in the 2007 Copa America and 2009 Confederations Cup, Dunga was criticized for advocating a defensive, non-“Joga Bonito” style. On the bright side, however, Brazil’s elimination may do wonders for the country’s economy.

* Uruguay: Lastly we come to the charruas who are trying to overcome the controversy of Luis Suarez’ handball. His comments after the game against Ghana may not be helping matters but more importantly Uruguay will be playing without their top scorer. Coach Oscar Tabarez has identified Dutch forward Arjen Robben as the man to stop but the reality is that Uruguay will have to play as perfect a game as possible if they wish to reach their first World Cup title game in sixty years.

So what do you guys think? Will Uruguay beat the Netherlands? How can Argentina and Brazil bounce back from their World Cup eliminations? Is Paraguay good enough to be considered a South American heavyweight?

Online Sources- Too many to list!

1 comment:

Tambopaxi said...

Oh, hell, I've got some Uruguayan friends here in Quito, so I'll say yeah, Uruguay will win by one point. Up to this point, they've been kind of like the EverReady bunny, sort of bouncing back, improbably, one way or another. If they stay with this sort of rope-a-dope playing, who knows, they might pull a surprise off.

I thought Paraguay played very well. Assuming they keep a good tecnico, I bet they'll be back for 2014.

Argentina and Brazil will always be around, they're just too big and too good to fade away, which reminds me of another controversial thought I have: I think Maradona should stick around. Contrary to what lots of people think (he's despised here in Ecuador, btw; it's amazing how people don't like him), I think he could learn from what happened and put together a good team for 2014. (I know, I know, but what the hell, I don't know anything about football, so ignorance protects me!)