I’m back into it. After a lull on day five I’m right back into action for day six boosted by the chance to watch four of the world’s top ten teams (according to the fifa rankings at least) in action. The day began with 9th place Denmark against 10th place Portugal and ended with 3rd placed Germany against 4th place Netherlands who desperately needed something from the game, I was feeling fresh and ready to attack another day of football.
Denmark versus Portugal
What do you know about Nicklas Bendtner? He’s been around a long time now and he’s only 24 but he already has 50 caps for Denmark. He scored eight times for Sunderland this season whilst on loan from Arsenal and he is one of the best strikers in the world in his own mind. I was impressed with Bendtner in Denmark’s victory over Netherlands but against Portugal he went that one step further and scored… twice.
In contrast Cristiano Ronaldo had a shocker, he was horrible in front of goal, wasting chances like a child throwing popcorn around in a cinema from an oversized bucketed almost too big for them to hold. He kept getting in great positions, his team-mates kept finding him with the ball and he kept missing. They weren’t even good misses or unlucky misses or the kind of misses you can say “hey, at least I made the keeper work” they were more along the lines of “oh god oh god what have I done? how have I missed that? am I really a footballer?” the chance he side footed around the post was especially delightful.
Anyway, Portugal were cruising and even Helder Postiga managed to score with a crisp finish after a slide-rule pass from Nani. Then Bendtner got involved and with a little bit of help from Pepe simply refusing to mark him made it 2-2. Before Varela sliced his chance like a ninja chopping a cabbage only to be presented immediately with an opportunity to atone which he smashed home to win the game. I was pleased for Varela, I didn’t know much about him except that he played for Porto and thought it must have been a nice moment for the young lad, then I discovered he was 27 and had just been largely mediocre for a number of years and that kind of ruined it a bit. Still, it was a great game to watch and put me in the mood for what was to follow.
Germany versus Netherlands
I love a grudge match, although sadly this never quite got going in the way that I wanted. I was hoping it would get nasty. I wanted to see the dark orange monster that is hidden deep within the angry Dutch escape and kick bits off the German players, it never happened and Mark Van Bommel got subbed at half time.
Satisfyingly, Mario Gomez showed that he’s actually really good. I’ve been wondering if my faith was misplaced but I think I’d put too much stock into one game, a common mistake. Yes he had a shocker in the Champions League final against Chelsea, but usually he bangs in goals for fun and against Netherlands that was once again the case. He’s got an unorthodox technique, he doesn’t strike the ball in a conventional way and watching him I find it hard to guess where exactly he’s going to put the ball. This was certainly the case for Stekelenburg who totally misjudged both finishes. I’d rather praise Gomez than blame the keeper, although for the second goal he probably should have stood up longer.
Germany dominated the game, even though Van Persie had a couple of chances and fluffed them early on. Schweinsteiger was imperious and set up both goals. But the good thing about international football is at 2-0 against a top side which I maintain Netherlands still are, you are never safe and RVP finally found his form and pulled a goal back making the end to the game far more awkward than it should have been. Still, the Germans saw it out with consummate professionalism and now look like they’ve all but won the group.
On Day six I ate a twix
So at the end of the day the Dutch are clinging on, they are properly Sammy Clingan to their tournament dreams. They need to spank Portugal and hope that the Germans do them a favour and beat Denmark. It could happen, but a far more wonderful scenario would be Portugal and Denmark to both win big eliminating the Dutch and ze Germans. Even though this would mean Portugal doing well which I wouldn’t normally like to see, the fact that it would be such a massive shock and upset and would also totally ruined everyone’s predictions would give me a certain sort of sadistic pleasure.
Highlight of the day: Mario Gomez turn and finish for the opening goal was splendid, as was the pass from Schweinsteiger, a very nice goal. But my highlight of the day was seeing Nicklas Bendter’s pants.