Monday, July 5, 2010

Just When Cup Had Its Theme, Story Takes a Sudden Turn

The World Cup turned on its axis over the weekend. Before Friday, virtually every soccer expert was certain that the power in this tournament belonged to teams from Latin America, that European soccer was stale.

And what happened? Predictions were shot through with holes and grown men were reduced to tears.

First, Brazil was outplayed in a 2-1 loss to the Netherlands in Port Elizabeth. Then Ghana lost in a shootout after a deliberate use of hands by a Uruguayan player at Soccer City in Johannesburg.

Next, Argentina was overwhelmed by Germany, 4-0, in Cape Town. Finally, David Villa, Spain’s savior once again, scored with seven minutes left in regulation time to eliminate a spirited Paraguay team at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

Four fields featuring four contests that confounded the critics.

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