Please give a warm gibfootballshow welcome to Stefan Kelly. One of a host of new writers that will become regular fixtures of the GFS family.

Brazil is in a peculiar situation at the moment. With the impending pressure placed on the national team, or Selecao, growing greater in light of the recent fall from grace in the eyes of the samba nation. Last week’s 0-0 result against Holland hardly delighted the home fans in Goiania. The European based players were thrown out of their comfort zone and given the job to impress their own fans. If Brazil fail to live up to the expectations of people around the world in time to win the world cup on home soil in 2014, it would simply be a disaster.

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10 goals, 3 games, 1 red card, 1 missed penalty, 1 record broken, and a first goal since February 11th 2009, a great day of football.

PORTUGAL

7

 

KOREA DPR

0

RAUL MEIRELES (29′)        
SIMAO (53′)        
HUGO ALMEIDA (56′)        
TIAGO (60′, 89′)        
LIEDSON (81′)        
Cristiano RONALDO (87′)        
         
1.EDUARDO     1.RI Myong Guk  
2.Bruno ALVES     2.CHA Jong Hyok OUT- 75
6.Ricardo CARVALHO     3.RI Jun Il  
7.Cristiano RONALDO     4.PAK Nam Chol OUT – 58
8.Pedro MENDES – Y     5.RI Kwang Chon  
11.SIMAO OUT – 74   8.JI Yun Nam  
13.MIGUEL     9.JONG Tae Se  
16.Raul MEIRELES OUT – 70   10.HONG Yong Jo – Y  
18.HUGO ALMEIDA – Y OUT – 77   11.MUN In Guk OUT – 58
19.TIAGO     13.PAK Chol Jin – Y  
23.Fabio COENTRAO     17.AN Yong Hak  
         
Subs     Subs  
5.DUDA IN – 74   16.KIM Kum Il IN – 58
9.LIEDSON IN – 77   15.KIM Yong Jun IN – 58
14.Miguel VELOSO IN – 70   16.NAM Song Chol IN – 75

MY THOUGHTS:

I feel quite sorry for the Koreans, they started brightly showing more attacking purpose than against Brazil but come away with nothing to show for it, and their defence collapsed and Portugal kicked off their World Cup with 7 goals, for 20 minutes I thought we could have a shock on the books, but it wasn’t to be, again Jong Tae-Se ran the line on his own, and Korea lined up with what was either a back 4 with a very deep defensive mid, or a flat back 5, but when they got the ball they looked to break with purpose, Portugal seemed to be struggling to penetrate the Korean defences, until Raul Meireles made a great run inbehind and he was found by Tiago and the finish was very neat. Meireles was insprirational all match running from deep, passing the ball really well, along with Tiago they bossed the midfield and was the bass for Portugal’s attacking play, another of the very impressive players was Fabio Coentrao, I picked him out in the last match but he improved again, not being caught out defensively and charging forward and playing in many great crosses one of them setting up Hugo Almeida’s goal as he headed in Fabio’s great cross.

Simao and Tiago’s double added to the scoreline, but it was Ronaldo’s goal that will please the management and fans, his first goal since February 09 and there was a slice of luck to it, after trying to go round the keeper the ball bounced up and landed on his back, he composed himself to place the ball into the empty net, the 7-0 victory pretty much qualifys Portugal, Ivory Coast will have to turn around a 9 goal deficite to qualify, the game against Brazil will decide if it’s in 1st or 2nd.

CHILE

1

 

SWITZERLAND

0

Mark GONZALEZ (75′)        
         
1.Claudio BRAVO     1.Diego BENAGLIO  
3.Waldo PONCE – Y     2.Stephane LICHSTEINER  
4.Mauricio ISLA     5.Steve VON BERGEN  
6.Carlos CARMONA – Y     6.Benjamin HUGGEL  
7.Alexis SANCHEZ     8.Gokhan INLER – Y  
8.Arturo VIDAL OUT – 46   9.Alexander FREI OUT – 42
9.Humberto SUAZO – Y OUT – 46   10.Blaise N’KUFO – Y OUT – 68
14.Matias FERNANDEZ – Y OUT – 65   11.Valon BEHRAMI – R  
15.Jean BEAUSEJOUR     13.Stephane GRICHTING  
17.Gary MEDEL – Y     16.Gelson FERNANDES OUT- 77
18.Gonzalo JARA     17.Reto ZIEGLER  
         
Subs     Subs  
10.Jorge VALDIVIA – Y IN – 46   7.Tranquillo BARNETTA – Y IN – 42
11.Mark GONZALEZ IN – 46   18.Albert BUNJAKU IN – 77
22.Esteban PAREDES IN – 65   19.Eren DERDIYOK IN – 68

MY THOUGHTS:

Before the start of the world cup would anyone have thought the second group game between Chile and Switzerland would have seen both teams top of the group, the Swiss again stuck to their defensive style tactics, not great for the spectator but great for frustrating attacking teams like Spain and Chile and the possibilties of the Swiss attacking was all but ruled out when Valron Behrami was sent off for throwing an elbow at 2 Chile players, the first was a bit tame, but it looks like he really connected with the second and my instincts were it was a red, maybe a little soft from the replays, but you can’t lift your hands, this put the Swiss in a 4-4-1 formation, parking the bus so to speak and hoping to frustrate the Chile attack.

The first half remained goalless and this saw Switzerland 22 minutes from breaking a World Cup record the most time ever without conceding a goal, 4 clean sheets in 2006 and 1 against Spain in 2010, unsurprisingly the reached that mark and now hold the record not exactly as impressive when you learn they only scored 1 goal in these 6 matches, not the most fan friendly football, luckly they only lasted another 8 minutes, substitute Esteban Paredes got to the byline, crossed to the back post and Mark Gonzalez was there to head into the net, a well deserved goal and it was the start of the Chile bombardment, Alexis Sanchez was very impressive again and had a couple of half chance and also a goal disallowed  unfairly for offside, his goal is coming you can bank on that, and should find more space against the Spanish, Valdivia was also a stand out player once he came on, showing neat little touches and skill and helped to open that stubborn Swiss defence.

For all Chile’s attacking play and the Swiss being a man down, they’re chance came in injury time, Erin Dedriyok found himself unmarked 12 yards out, it seemed harder to miss, but miss he did, the goal would have been against the run of play and it shows why you have to finish off teams when you are so dominant.

It will be interesting to see how Switzerland play against Honduras knowing they will be the better team and need to attack instead of defending, Dedriyok will have a chance to redeem himself and maybe Alexander Frei’s bad luck will end, Lichtsteiner and Ziegler were very impressive in the full back position and will have a great chance to get forward, Switzerland have the players to trouble teams when they go for it, I can’t see them slipping up, will all go down to goal difference.

SPAIN

2

 

HONDURAS

0

David VILLA (17′, 51′)        
         
1.Iker CASILLAS     18.Noel VALLADARES  
3.Gerard PIQUE     2.Osman CHAVAZ  
5.Carles PUYOL     3.Maynor FIGUEROA  
7.David VILLA     8.Wilson PALACIOS   
8.XAVI OUT- 66   11.David SUAZO OUT – 84
9.Fernando TORRES OUT – 70   13.Roger ESPINOZA OUT – 46
11.Joan CAPDEVILA     15.Walter MARTINEZ  
14.Xavi ALONSO     19.Danilo TURCIOS – Y OUT – 63
15.Sergio RAMOS OUT – 77   20.Amado GUEVARA  
16.Sergio BUSQUETS     21.Emilio IZAQUIRRE – Y  
22.Jesus NAVAS     23.Sergio MENDOZA  
         
Subs     Subs  
10.Cesc FABERGAS IN – 66   7.Ramon NUNEZ IN – 63
12.Victor VALDES IN – 70   10.Jerry PALACIOS IN – 84
13.Juan MATA IN – 77   12.Georgie WELCOME IN – 46

MY THOUGHTS:

It was a time for redemption, Spain failed to live up to their own high expectations in the first match, and have been criticised heavily for it, they came out all guns blazing looking at Sergio Ramos heat map on FIFA.com shows he was very rarely near his own box, constantly attacking down the right, combining with Jesus Navas, these two cause no end of problems, and with David Villa cutting in from the left it spelt bad news for the Hondurans, realistically it could have been 4 or 5, Villa’s goal was a superb solo run and needs to be seen, the second came just after half time and had a slight deflection, however Torres, Xavi and Villa again himself had many chances to score, not forgetting Villa’s missed penalty, a great Spanish performance but they need to finish better.

My hat goes off to Honduras, they didn’t just sit and defend they tried to attack, long searching balls for David Suazo he never really got a chance to go at Puyol and Pique, Chavez in defence looked good, a few goal saving tackles, and could do better in a good club side, also Nunez that came on was very bright, tried to get involved showed some nice touches, would like to see more of him, the Honduarans should hold their heads up high they have not been disgraced and for 45 mins when it was 1-0 one Spanish slip could have brought them back into it, they should be proud of themselves and go out against the Swiss and try and get something.

We could get the scenario that 3 teams have 6 points and it would go down to goal difference, if the Swiss can score some goals they could knock out Chile or Spain, not an advert for attacking football but an advert for organisation and discipline.

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GROUP G

Ramires – Brazil – 12 caps (2 goals)

First saw Ramires in the 2009 Confederations Cup and I really thought he added something to the Brazil team, with the defensive play of Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo and the attacking flair of Kaka the team needs something in the middle, recently Elano has been that player, however when Ramires plays he adds a pace and a drive to Brazil’s midfield, scoring 2 goals against Tanzania hopefully will give him a chance to start against North Korea.
He played 30 games for Benfica this year as they won the title scoring 5 goals in the process, his speed and stamina can last the whole 90 minutes and at only 23, he has a long career ahead of him.

 

Jong Tae-Se – North Korea – 22 caps (15 goals)

Born in South Korea, he decided to play for his mother’s birth country and received a North Korean passport to let him play for North Korea, the reason I have picked Jong is that he has made a bold statement that he will score in every game he plays in South Africa, that is a bold statement for a player in a team that everyone considers as one of the weakest, I know nothing about him as a player, so looking forward to seeing what he can do.
 

 

Seydou Doumbia – Ivory Coast – 5 caps (1 goal)

One of the unknown quantities in a Ivory Coast team full of stars, Seydou has been picked for his great form for Young Boys in Switzerland in 2 years he has scored 50 goals in 64 games, a fantastic record whatever the league, and with Drogba possibly being out Seydou could get a chance to see what he can do on the International stage.
 

 

Liedson – Portugal

A player regarded as one of the best ever to wear the the Sporting jersey scoring 111 goals in 201 games a remarkable record, however at 32 he is a late starter to International football but could be the spark that Portugal have been missing in front of goal.
Posses a great eye for goal, and his instincts in front of goal are deadly, looks very lightweight, but he plays alot bigger than he looks, and a great foil for Ronaldo and Deco for Portugal.

 

GROUP H

Juan Mata – Spain – 7 caps (3 goals)

The young Valencia midfielder was a surprise inclusion in the Spain squad, a great season with Villa and co earned Mata his spot, he can play on the left or upfront, great pace and an eye for goal he has been a revelation for Valencia scoring 20 goals in 2 seasons making the blow of losing Villa and David Silva a bit of a softer blow.

Mata adds depth to an already impressive Spain midfield and be there an injury to any of the starters Juan Mata will be a very adequate replacement.

 

Xherdan Shaqiri – Switzerland – 1 cap (0 goals)

Before last week I had never heard of Xherdan, a massive surprise inclusion in Switzerland’s 23 man squad the 18 year old is one of the youngest players going to the World Cup, played 32 games for Basle this year, scoring 4 goals, he must be a talent to get so quickly called up to the first team, will be interesting to see how much game time he gets.
 

 

Carlos Pavon – Honduras – 100 caps (57 goals)

A 36 year old Honduran legend, has moved clubs 20 times, played in Serie A the MLS and now back in Hoduras with Real Espana, Honduras leading all time scorer, and has also tried his hand at a music carerer, but failed, an absolute legend in his hometown, this will be his swansong upfront for Honduras, and I hope he makes an impact on the biggest stage.
 

 

Gary Medel – Chile – 24 caps (3 goals)

Known as the Chileian Gattuso this 22 year old plays for Boca Juniors and is very highly regarded, a talented defensive midfielder known for his intensity, Gary is a player to keep an eye on.
Chile are being picked as a surprise package in South Africa and they could surprise a few and make it through the group stage, and if they do you can bet Gary will have played great in the process.

 

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