Thursday, June 17

Not quite enough

The final member of CONCACAF, Honduras, at the World Cup did not have a great showing in their opener as they were dominated by the Chileans. It was not exactly surprising though as the confederation has really become a twosome of the Americans and Mexicans with whomever the third side is needing a fortunate draw and some luck to really compete at the world’s highest level.

The game of the day though for me, and many others was Spain-Switzerland. Not only was it a thriller to watch, but it reminded me of watching the Montreal Impact CONCACAF Champions League run of two years ago as they played much like the Swiss did against a possession-oriented Latin style attack. They absorbed the pressure continually throughout the match and did well to cut off passes in the box, poke the ball of the feet of the attackers and make last-second blocks.

But like the Swiss, and arguably as South Africa should have done later that evening, the Impact had the skill and abilities to provide more pressure offensively in their matches. In the end, it cost Montreal as they sat back in a shell that finally gave way. Switzerland got a little lucky that Spain never found the back of the net, although the woodwork was another matter, and South Africa gave Uruguay too many opportunities.

I understand some teams have to play a bunker style because they can’t get into a shootout due to a lack of quality in their own attack, but if that is the plan why even bother with fielding one or two strikers. Why not just field 10 defensively skilled players and prey that someone manages a breakaway that results in a penalty, free kick or corner that sets up a decisive goal.

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