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Vertonghen isnt quick
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 04:22:27    Post subject:  Vertonghen isnt quick
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Day 11 in 100 words or less We must remember that people are seeing a World Cup for the first time, just dont tell them it isnt always like this. Many of those eyes are in the United States of America, a country that the sport has wanted on its side for some time. On Sunday the football Gods delivered once again, only this time it was time for good old USA to experience as much heartache as joy. Portugal 2-2 USA Football is a funny old game. Last week the USA struggled to keep the ball, were not at their best, and still won. This time they treasured the ball far better, were absolutely outstanding, and didnt win. This World Cup has been an absolute blockbuster and some of its main characters have been counter-attacks, comebacks, headers, and substitute goals. All four starred together in an incredible last scene in Manaus. Portugal were on the ground, seemingly knocked out in Brazil, flat out on their back with the referee standing over them about to wave his arms and end their misery. They knew they were out of the fight. Angry, petulant, disappointed they were a wounded bunch. Then, like a boxer swinging one last right hook at an opponent just for the sake of it, they delivered a stunning final moment to another monumental match in Brazil. The clock read 94:25. Michael Bradley picks up the ball and has no outlets to pass the ball to. Eder, the Portugal striker who came on early in the first half finally did something valuable by making a crucial tackle. 94:28 - Nani counters with pace, looks up and sees Cristiano Ronaldo on the right side. It was the first time the talisman was in that zone where he could put a pass in. (stats powered by Opta) 94:31 - Ronaldo had just enough time to take one touch, look down at the ball, look up and deliver an absolutely incredible cross. 94:33 - Silvestre Varela then runs into the box and delivers a powerful header into the mix. The USA victory and place in the last 16? Gone in eight seconds. It was a fitting dramatic finale to an enthralling game in the Amazon. It will be remembered for the final scoreline, the Ronaldo pass, and the USA comeback, but we shouldnt forget about the tempo. The game was stretched throughout, played at an incredible pace in exhausting conditions. Watching it we learned many things. We learned that Portugal have very little depth. Anyone who has followed this small, yet proud football nation would tell you they already knew that but this exposed it even deeper. Anyone who criticizes Ronaldos performance would be best served to look at what he had to work with. They lost Helder Postiga early, threw on Eder and effectively played with 10 men for the second successive match. The sight of the worlds finest player having to play up front in the second half and get absolutely no service was an all too familiar one. A sad tale of what could have been. Nani scored a goal but was very disappointing the rest of the way, giving the ball away far too much. Joao Moutinho is a special player but his sparring partners, Miguel Veloso and Raul Meireles are not at the form of Euro 2012. Theyve been hammered by injuries, admittedly, but this was one of the worst showings by a Portugal team in two decades. Last week they could blame Pepe and a brilliant German attack. On Sunday their excuses ran out and they will likely fly home on Friday as another European team humbled in Brazil. Jurgen Klinsmanns team were by far the better side and will be happy to be on four points through two games but it is far from job done. Indeed, it could turn out to be what might have been. Sure, Jurgens new mates and old mates can kick a ball around for 90 minutes in Recife on Thursday and both go through but anyone who thinks Germany would agree to that are kidding themselves. Germany are in Brazil to win the World Cup, not risk playing a close game with an inferior country, where a bad bounce or poor decision could end up costing them the chance to progress or, even, win the group. If the game is even as it enters the final 25 minutes I could see the two teams defending deep and giving up very little but until then I expect Germany to use the game as an opportunity to get back the tempo and attacking guile that was missing against Ghana. Belgium 1-0 Russia The 2014 World Cup has been billed by some as the greatest ever but then Fabio Capello arrived in a time machine from 2010 to remind us just how easy a game can be killed off. It almost worked. To be fair, the dullest game of the tournament so far was not all Russias doing. An average Belgium defended deep and rarely got playmaker Eden Hazard into the game, looking to settle for a point they know would have helped them win the group. The schedule makers also played a small part in the snoozefest. Every team in this World Cup, Mexico vs Brazil aside, had four or five games off in between group games but all the teams who played on Sunday play again on Thursday, giving them just three days off before a crucial group finale. Thankfully, Belgium decided to find some extra gears in the last ten minutes and for the second successive match their changes made a difference. Substitute Kevin Mirallas got the best out of Hazard and the two combined on the goal, scored by another sub, 19-year-old striker Divock Origi. The extra gear found by Belgium showed, again, they can reach another level when required and also left Russia embarrassed that they couldnt. Russia were organized and clearly had a game plan that almost worked and it is hard to be too critical of that based on that game but the bigger question mark over this teams methods is do they have it in them at all to play a more open, expansive style that will be needed against Algeria to progress? This World Cup has made a mockery of players and coaches who have tried to play like it was 2010. Capello gets one last shot to prove otherwise, against Algeria. How did that work out for him in 2010? South Korea 2-4 Algeria Missed by many, this was a fantastic game. Algeria are a real threat to Russia. They are strong in attack, have a fine, technical leader in Sofiane Feghouli who can glide by midfielders and can score. Admittedly, South Koreas defending in the first half was woeful but Vahid Halilhodzics side deserve tremendous credit for sensing their opportunity to finish the game off early. It has been a good couple of days for African football. Man of the day Nominees.... Vincent Kompany - on a day where most of his teammates were average, the Manchester City skipper was fantastic in the middle of the Belgian defence. Islam Slimani - he got his first start at the World Cup and it wont be his last after he tormented the South Korean backline. Clint Dempsey - talk about a big game player. Not blessed with any one outstanding trait, he just seems to pop up in big moments. Jermaine Jones - After a brilliant display on the left of a midfield diamond against Ghana, he was asked to come more centrally this time and had a superb match. Cristiano Ronaldo - he was far from his best but, just like Lionel Messi on Saturday, he had his moment. Winner Cristiano Ronaldo - a defensive liability in the first half, clearly not fit, playing with a bunch of average players, sulking and then he does that. Wow. Whats next Australia vs Spain & Chile vs Netherlands (12pm/9am) Croatia vs Mexico & Brazil vs Cameroon (4pm/1pm) Burning question for Mondays games Can Chile win the group and finally carve open a path to the late rounds that doesnt include nemesis Brazil? Stat of day 11 Silvestre Varela became the 16th substitute to score at this World Cup.
.The Hanwha Eagles said the team was impressed with Morgans contact ability and base-running skills.The 34-year-old debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007 and hit .
. - The Carolina Panthers believe Steve Smith lost "top-end" speed, a big reason the franchise parted ways with its all-time leading receiver.
. It was just business as usual for the Thunder at home. Durant scored 32 points and the Thunder beat the Bulls 107-95 on Thursday night for their eighth straight win.
. -- Kansas City Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar will have Tommy John surgery that will sideline the pitcher for the season.
. It will then be back to business once the puck drops as the two clubs battle for key points in their respective playoff races. Watch the game live on TSN Canadiens and listen on TSN Radio 690 starting at 7:30pm et.Day 6 in 100 words or less There is a demand from the Brazilian public when it comes to their national team. Entertain and win. So far, Brazil are struggling to tick either box. There will be many negative words written about Brazils performance but Brazil are not in the World Cup to convince now. They are in it to win it on July 13th. The result of the game may not be what the public wanted but the competitiveness of the match was exactly what this Brazilian team needed. Brazil 0-0 Mexico - Through two games at the 2006 World Cup there were very few people picking Italy to win it. Four points from a possible six will do that. Through two games at the 2010 World Cup there were very few people picking Spain to win it. Three points from a possible six will do that. Through two games at the 2014 World Cup fewer and fewer people are picking Brazil to win it. Just last Thursday, prior to the tournament kicking off, their bandwagon was full. Now people are jumping off it very quickly. - Of course, they need to be better and there are questions about the hosts, mainly around how they can change a game when it isnt going their way. Bernard for Ramires, Jo for Fred, Willian for Oscar; different piece, same puzzle. It was a game that screamed for a playmaker from a central area to link up with the front three. A man who can play as a third midfielder and match up against opponents in defence but ignite an attack with penetration and vision going forward. A Kaka in his prime, for example. - However, Kaka is only in Brazil as a fan. This team is what it is and Luiz Felipe Scolari seems very hesitant to move away from a disciplined 4-2-3-1 shape. He is a stubborn man with belief and faith in what got him here and he loves stability. - It is a shape that will likely find a high gear against minnows Cameroon in their next match but in arguably their biggest test of the group stages they became too predictable. - Mexico were magnificent. It took until Bernards run inside, in the 76th minute, before a ball was played in behind their defence and Jo poorly shot wide. - Their back five were compact and extremely organized. Their shape meant they had outlets all over the field with technical players demanding the ball. Many of their players excelled and for the second straight game their trio in central midfield of Jose Vazquez (#23), Andres Guardado (#1Cool and Hector Herrera (#6) impressed, making a number of ball recoveries to start transitions stats powered by Opta - No one was better, however, than goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa who made a number of brilliant saves highlighted by his stop from Neymars thunderous header in the 26th minute. Weve been given many gifts by this World Cup and that was one of the greatest saves you will ever see. - Mexico have given many people a lesson in Brazil, including those who put a lot of faith in qualification processes months ago. Miguel Herreras team are night and day different to the way they played last year and is it really a surprise? Finally they have a coach who has a gameplan, a system he has stuck to and players he believes in. On the biggest stage, so far, it has worked out for them and theyll only need a point vs Croatia to get to the last 16 once again. Belgium 2-1 Algeria - With twenty minutes to go, Belgium coach Marc Wilmots had laid all of his cards on the table. He was all in. The sexy upstarts were in trouble, down a goal to the organised Algerians, and with the world watching now was the time to deliver. - The past 25 minutes, since half-time, had been a much needed improvement from a slow, predicable style in the opening half of the game. - Wilmots has been successful with Belgium because he has leaned heavily on depth - half of their goals in qualifying came from subs - and he was at it again in Brazil. Off came Nacer Chadli at half-time, a disciplined wide player with little creativity, not needed when you are chasing a game. Dries Mertens, unlucky not to start, provided some width and an increase in tempo that the attack needed. Yet it remained 0-0. - Off came Romelu Lukaku for young 19-year-old Divock Origi on 65 minutes. And yet five minutes later they still trailed. - Off came Moussa Dembele, inserting a more attacking threat, in central midfield, with Marouane Fellaini getting his chance. Wilmots was done. It was up to the players. - Kevin De Bruyne, so crucial to their system, linking up centrally between the defensive-minnded six and the three forwards, then took over.dddddddddddd His delivery into the box for Fellaini to head into the net was one of the finest crosses so far in a tournament full of fine crosses. - It has also been a tournament of counter attacks. Algeria attacked and De Bruyne produced a brilliant tackle to start a transition, led by the creative guile of Eden Hazard and finished off with the power from the right foot of Mertens. - It was far from an ideal performance but Wilmots learned quite a bit about his team in the game at Belo Horizonte. They trailed for 46 minutes, seven more than they did combined in the two years it took to qualify to get there. Just like against Croatia early in qualifying, his players answered back and will gain a lot of confidence from it. - Question marks remain, of course, about just how good they are. Some minor changes can be made, such as Mertens for Chadli, possibly, against Russia on Sunday but there are some deficiencies that can not be solved. - Playing four centre-backs is his only real choice at this tournament but the wide men across the back four got exposed in the buildup to Algeria winning their first half penalty. - Initially the back four look like they are in a good position to deal with an attack..... - Then left midfielder Riyad Mahred makes a move inside that causes Toby Alderweireld to follow him, just as centre-backs often do... - This leaves a gap on the left side for Faouzi Ghoulam to run into... - He gets the better of De Bruyne to cross into the box and by now left back Jan Vertonghen isnt quick enough to get back, instead looking in front of him for the threat, rather than behind. - The cross comes in and Vincent Kompany, centrally, puts his arms up thinking it will be easily dealt with but Vertonghen has fallen asleep and allows Sofiane Feghouli to get goalside, forcing him to foul him and giveaway the penalty. - If a fairly limited side like Algeria can expose Belgium in this area expect future opponents to concentrate on exposing the positioning of their full-backs. Russia 1-1 South Korea - It was far from a classic. If you missed it all you need to know is Igor Akinfeev had a Rob Green howler moment midway through the second half to ensure Fabio Capellos World Cup started with a very similar 1-1 to four years ago. - The Italian manager responded by finally placing his ace goalscorer Aleksander Kerzhakov on the field and within five minutes he had leveled the game, bundling home the rebound inside his office, the six yard box. - The commentator gave Capello credit for the goal but it was clearly a bizarre decision by not playing the Zenit striker from the start. - Russia were many peoples picks to advance from this group but based on todays display the slot to go through with Belgium is very much alive for all three other members of Group H. - It will not help that Russia play Belgium next and they will have to be much better. Man of the day Nominees Kevin De Bruyne – The former Chelsea man took over the game in the second half for Belgium and two moments of brilliance swung the game his teams way. Axel Witsel – The central midfielder was clearly the most consistent performer on the day and looks poised to have a very good World Cup. Sofiane Feghouli – The Valencia man won the penalty, dusted himself down and scored the countrys first World Cup goal in 28 years. Neymar – Brazil were frustrated many times with Mexico but we were still fortunate to watch a few special moments from ‘Mr Box Office as he dribbled his way around his opponents. Guillermo Ochoa – Yesterday many people looked up the Wikipedia of John Brooks. Today that man was the Mexican goalkeeper. The winner… Guillermo Ochoa – The Wall of Ochoa dominated day six. He had his moment, brilliantly denying Neymar in the first half but he produced three more magnificent saves and fully deserved his clean sheet. He is on the look out for a new club team and I think his agents phone has been very busy today. What comes next? Australia vs Netherlands (12pm/9am), Chile vs Spain (3pm/noon), Cameroon vs Croatia (6pm/3pm). Burning question for tomorrow What will Spain do differently to keep themselves alive in this tournament and prevent a loss to Chile? Key stat of day 5 Through 17 games the teams that have scored first have only eight wins, drawing once and losing six times. ' ' '
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