Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
WOITALLA: Expecting thrills from final eight
June 28th, 2006 12:47PM

MOST READ


By Mike Woitalla
in Hanover

Predictably, German tabloid Bild provided in-depth coverage of David Beckman vomiting on the field during England's 1-0 win over Ecuador.

Under the headline, "David Barfman," Bild ran sequence photos of the incident accompanied by possible reasons why he lost his lunch.

"Did he drink English beer instead of German beer?"

"Can a metrosexual get pregnant?"

"Did he see his wife's credit card bill?"

"Did the quality of the game make him ill?"

The last is the least far-fetched. Like half the games in the round of 16, England's victory included little entertainment.

The knockout round began promising enough. Germany beat Sweden, 2-0, with a relentless attack and scoring opportunities abounded. Argentina's 2-1 win over Mexico provided the most spectacular goal of the tournament and a fair serving of exciting, skillful ball.

Then came four games -- including the England game and the scoreless Ukraine-Switzerland overtime snoozer -- in which three goals were scored. That's one goal for every 130 minutes of soccer.

That may not be emetic, but sleep-inducing for sure.

On the last day of the round of 16, the tournament woke up again. Brazil scored early against Ghana, which meant that Ghana could not execute a defensive game plan even if it wanted to. Both teams created numerous chances. The Brazilians won, 3-0.

Spain, one of the few attack-minded teams at this tournament in which playing with a lone striker is a popular strategy, faced a patient French team that focused on defense but found the net, beating the Spaniards, 3-1.

So heading into the quarterfinals, with 56 games played, this tournament is averaging 2.36 goals per game.

The 1990 finals set the mark for fewest goals per game at 2.21. The 2002 World Cup was second lowest, at 2.52. It would take 30 goals in the last eight games of this tournament to top the 2002 mark.

As at the 2002 World Cup, scoring here has decreased in the knockout stages. When there's more on the line, teams get more defensive, take fewer risks, and produce fewer scoring chances. In 2002, the four quarterfinal games
produced just five goals.

This World Cup's quarterfinals begin on Friday. Seven of the final eight teams are soccer powers. Six are former World Cup winners. Besides Ukraine, none can use the underdog's excuse for packing the defense and depending on the counterattack.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent World Cup Watch
Hexagonal Countdown: Reggae Boyz off to the Bahamas    
With its World Cup 2014 qualifying on the line when it hosts Mexico and the USA ...
Maracana is open for business    
After years of renovations, the fabled Maracana Stadium has reopened in Rio de Janeiro.
'Exceeding expectations' won't be hard    
Last week was not a good week for Brazilian World Cup organizers. It became evident that ...
Brazilian soccer's place in a globalized world    
Soccer greats Franz Beckenbauer and Bobby Charlton recounted old stories and discussed young players in the ...
Spain won't risk stars against France    
Seven months remain in Europe's World Cup qualifying, but defending champion Spain already finds itself in ...
Serbia coach hopes for win-win situation    
For no one does Friday's Serbia-Croatia World Cup qualifier mean more to than Serbia coach Sinisa ...
Hexagonal Countdown: Snow shouldn't bother Ticos    
The forecast is for light snow when the USA hosts Costa Rica on Friday night at ...
Spain on edge before key qualifiers    
Winner of the last two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup, Spain finds itself in ...
Beckenbauer: Brazil will have huge advantage    
Rio de Janeiro recently hosted the Laureus Sports Awards and provided a forum for World Cup ...
FIFA nervous about Maracana for Confederations Cup    
Two days before Thursday's scheduled visit to the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, FIFA ...
>> World Cup Watch Archives