USA x Spain preview and Group B thoughts

June 23, 2009 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

The first semi-final kicks off tomorrow and I’ll take today to catch up on the action so far and preview US x Spain.  Tomorrow I will preview Thursday’s semi after some post-game thoughts.

Let’s start with Group B as it featured both of the teams I have a vested interest in: Brazil and the USA.  I could’ve made an optimistic prediction ahead of opening day that both would qualify.  I wouldn’t have expected it and after the first round of games I had dropped that optimism and would have revised my prediction.  Yet here we are at the semis and guess who made it through?

The biggest disapointment then has to be Italy.  Current World Champions who rely too much on aging players, they’ve looked best with Giuseppe Rossi, a 22 yr old, on the field, but he hasn’t played a full 90 minutes.  Of course adding only Rossi does not solve the problem of an aging defense or midfield and that was seen clearly against Brazil who dominated the first half and scored 3 quick goals.  An earlier loss to Egypt meant that Italy were out and the USA had a shot at the semis if they could score 3 of their own against Egypt.

Sure enough, the US beat Egypt 3×0 despite previous rounds showing Egypt to be the stronger team among the two.  It’s harder for me to say good things about the US right now than it usually is.  They’re my “second” team if there can be such a thing but they have consistently underperformed in competitive games this year – giving up early goals, struggling to maintain possession early and doing very poorly on the offensive end.  Stringing two solid performances together in a row will not be easy but is, in my eyes, necessary for the morale of the team.

The US put in a solid effort against Italy but saw it fall apart following a rash tackle.  Against Brazil they fell apart early and compunded problems with another red card.  They need a better performance against Spainm win or lose.  They can’t beat themselves and make it easy on the higher-ranked team.  I’d love to predict an upset and the US is certainly capable, but doing so would be overly optimistic based on recent performances.  I want to see the US do better on offense – counterattacks especially where they need to make better decisions.  If they make good decisions on the offensive end and don’t overcommit defensively I won’t be too surprised by an upset.

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Entry filed under: Country, USMNT.

Halfway there Group A thoughts

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