GERMANY AND ARGENTINA THROUGH
Germany and Argentina are through the quarterfinals of the 2006 world cup, though in contrasting styles. Germany scored two early goals and Podolski was the scorer on both the occasions. The Swedes fluffed up their lines and Henrik Larsson missed a penalty. That is how the game can be cruel sometimes. Larsson is the all time scorer for Sweden and he missed a penalty. The Germans are a safe bet to go all the distance with all the support they get from their supporters.
The Argentines were jolted by an early goal from the Mexicans, though a melee at the goal resulted in the equalizer. It was only in the extra time the match was decided.
ENGLAND HAS TO PERFORM OR PERISH
All the talk is over. Now it is time for the overhyped footballers of England to finally show to the world that they have the heart and the ability to compete with the best. Of course, Ecuador are not really in the same league as their more famous South American compatriots, Brazil and Argentina.
In the three first round matches, Beckham and company have displayed little of their skills and talent. Peter Crouch does not really look like scoring goals. Joe Cole and Gerrard not to forget Lampard have looked good. Michael Owen has suffered a horrible injury.
Most of the English footballers look classy in the Premier League but when it comes to the international scene, it is a completely different story.
THERE ARE NO CLEAR FAVOURITES
Portugal and Holland fight out for a quarterfinal spot. Both the teams have so far displayed an uninspiring brand of football. Portugal is always a paradox with all the talent available and so is Holland. It is a last chance for the likes of Figo to achieve greatness at the exalted scene while Christian Ronaldo, Robben and Van Persie would strive for the ultimate recognition.
The Dutch teams of the 1980s and the 1990s could not achieve much except for the win in the European championship of 1988. That team had the talent but in the world cup of 1990, they lost out to the eventual winners, Germany. It was alleged that the Dutch teams suffered from internal strife.
The match is also a contest between two coaches of different styles and strategies. Scolari brings the Brazilian flavour while Van Basten is more focused on defence.
In my humble opinion, the match should go all the distance to the extra time and even to the penalty shots.