Great World Cup weekend has U.S., Brazil and Aussies dancing

June 18, 2006

As an American soccer fan living in Brazil, it’s been a good World Cup weekend. Extremely good, actually.

First Ghana did Africa proud by blasting Czech Republic, 2-0, in a game that helped leave the door open for the U.S. team. The U.S. then earned some respect back with an impressive and thrilling 1-1 tie with Italy.

So for the U.S., it comes down to this. If Italy wins and the U.S. beats Ghana, the U.S., as unlikely as it seemed a few days ago, will advance to the KO rounds.

To finish off the weekend, my wife, her father and I went to a bar to watch Brazil beat Australia, 2-0. Not the most impressive performance by Brazil, but the goal by Fred was great to see, as he’s a former Cruzeiro star and I’ve seen him score about 12 goals live in Brazil.

Oddly enough, the bar I went to was one that a group of 30 or so Australians also went to, creating a small rivalry between the Aussies and the Brazilians. Of course, the Australians weren’t really expecting to win, so their spirits were high.

And after the final whistle, Brazilians and Australians danced together for well over an hour at the bar. Surreal stuff, and a great end to a great soccer weekend.


World Cup Game 1: Germany controls Costa Rica

June 9, 2006

Host Germany avoided the fate of other first-game favorites by dominating Costa Rica, 4-2, in a game that saw Alexandre Guimaraes’ men benefit from two suspect onsides calls to keep within striking distance.

Lateral Philip Lahm was the man of the match, scoring the tournament’s first goal while generally creating havoc for the Costa Rican defense. Miroslav Klose scored twice for the hosts, while midfielder Torsten Frings struck from 35 yards out on a brilliant goal to close out the scoring.

Former Manchester City man Paulo Wanchope twice finished strongly on goals that could have easily been called back for offsides, replays showed.

For Germany, the game showed two things. One, that as the hosts, they must be considered as much a favorite as Brazil. However, the second thing is that it appears the Germans don’t have the team speed to match the Brazilians, or other quick teams like Argentina.


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