First Round: What really grinds my gears.

What really grinds my gears.

What do you guys think about all these "pleasant" ties? I'm so not cool with waking up to watch a game, only to fall asleep again. The lack of goals scored in these first few games is really discouraging and detrimental to new viewers and the growth of the sport in the U.S. This is apparently one of the lowest scoring World Cups in a long time.

I've been thinking that most teams this year during the first round games avoid injuries, don't risk too much, keep possession but are generally imprecise, and gladly scrape by on a goal from a set piece or corner. I haven't been impressed by most games I've seen so far. My favorite (and NO, I'm not biased) was Argentina vs. Nigeria, due to the rhythm of the game. Both teams had plenty of chances and turnovers and counter-attacks. 

I've only avoided those games from teams that lacked WC history (ex. New Zealand) Is there anything more boring than watching a goal-less WC game? I'm talking about those 0-0 (ex. Ivory Coast-Portugal / France-Uruguay) that yielded about 3 replays each and will be easily forgotten.

What also "grinds my gears" (à la Peter Griffin) are 1-1 games (Italy-Paraguay / South Africa-Mexico, for ex.) where goals are scored off of set piece headers. Are these teams so well matched up that they can't have a clear victor? If so, we are hardly able to consider them real contenders.

So far, six out of the 16 games in the first round have been boring ties and only Germany has been able to demonstrate clear superiority with its goal tally. It's true that some ties are more interesting than others because of the group make ups and the pressure it puts on the teams, but the opening day of the World Cup was so frustrating and lacking in good ball play that I had a general feeling this would be Japan-Korea 2002 all over again.

I'm somewhat cautious to publish this today, right after Brazil had a hard time beating North Korea and without giving Spain and Chile a chance to affect this trend.

But I'd like to stir it up and see if I bait anyone into a good old soccer discussion... At least I'm open about it, unlike ESPN and Fox Soccer Network who call it journalism.  


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Wow, great post. It's actually not the first time that I have strong views or concerns about something (in regards to WC) only to see you make a post to address it.

I agree on almost everything. Few differences of opinions include Argentina game. I did not think it was much better than the rest, but this could be due to a few reasons: hype and drama around Argentina; not paying as much attention to the game as I should. The other thing I see slightly differently is Brazil's game (but I might be biased too...). I would not go as far as saying that "Brazil had a hard time beating North Korea." Ball possession, technique, tactics were levels above DPRK, once they got going. And they did win in the end. The goal that they missed was, in my opinion, a result of getting sloppy due to a weaker opponent. I do agree, however, that for a team like Brazil it is very uncharacteristic and *could* be a sign of future problems. My main concern, however, is lack of any decent displays from the stars of the team.

I am looking forward to Spain-Switzerland game, but not getting my hopes up. Would love to be "disappointed" by Spain's spectacular performance, of course.

"I'm so not cool with waking up to watch a game, only to fall asleep again" - this has been the theme of most of the games for me.

MK, I wanted to wait until the first round of games was over and it was just as disappointing (there were only 2 more goals scored in the Chile and Spain goal), but at least there was a big upset in Spain's defeat. Spain just couldn't break the Swiss team and all they needed was a counterattack and some help from Casillas and Piqué at the right time. Both of Spain's side-backs were off place.

What I meant about Brazil having a hard time beating DPRK is that they just couldn't break them for about an hour. Both goals were really great, but the tie had to be broken by a defender. I have a lot of respect for DPRK and I'm now interested in watching their games against Ivory Coast and Portugal because it will really be another group of death. Luis Fabiano and Kaká did not have their best games, agreed.

But the Uruguay-SA game just ended in 3-0. I hope there's more games like it. I think South Africa is out for the count.

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