And the fallout over England's World Cup failure continues. Alan Shearer's criticism was pointed and biting. It's easy to rationalize now. After all, hindsight is 20/20. As much as Fabio Capello made mistakes, the bigger ones were committed on the field by the players. And how repressive can it be to ban cellphones during the dinner meetings? What TF! That's grasping for straws and things to hurl against the Italian. Capello still did a good job whether England crash out or not. The writing has been on the wall for years now. Time to look for solutions rather than point fingers, gentlemen.
I was hoping that Japan would beat Paraguay last night. I thought they were the more cohesive side and with better scoring chances. But they were unable to find the back of the next. Any time you go to penalty kicks, it's all about luck, guess work, and well, guts. Yuichi Komano's missed PK was so huge. It immediately placed pressure on keeper Elji Kawashima. He could have stopped the first two shots that came his way but the Paraguayans adjust so he no longer had a chance of stopping them.
I keep hoping for an Asian win hoping that the effect of a team moving to the round of eight will trickle over to our shores. I have theorized that the US making it to even the semis or finals would be so huge that the effect will be felt all over the world. Japan and South Korea had their chances but they went out.
The Japanese midfielders have to do a better job of controlling that ball and not giving it away.
On to the Spain-Portugal match. I've posted it before that the Portuguese clearly miss many of the players on the '06 team. Their current midfield corps isn't up to snuff. I like Tiago but he isn't like Kaka or even Mesut Ozil. There's no one to feed the ball to Cristiano Ronaldo. Speaking of Ronaldo, this was the perfect venue to strap that team on his back but instead he was hardly a factor. I guess missing Rui Costa, Figo, Deco, Maniche, and Postiga had a huge effect on the team.
As for Ronaldo being captain. I'm not sure now. That burden of having failed in La Liga with Real Madrid and now in the World Cup must be heavy for him because he showed poor leadership at a time when Portugal needed it. And post-game, I don't know if you caught it on TV but it looks like he deliberately spat on the cameraman trailing him. So much for sportsmanship and leadership. Maybe you should hand the captain's armband to Eduardo or Pepe. At least they have passion and fight in them.
Oh, and Spain having ball possession for over 60% of the match? They worked for that win and deserve to move on. The memory of Portugal's 7-0 pasting of North Korea is but a memory.