In a thrilling football match in Port Elizabeth, in which brave Chile fought as hard as it could, yet still lost 1:3, cool and clinical Brazil polished them off without even a burp!
Five-time FIFA World Cup winners, Brazil, is looking every inch the uncrowned 2010 champions already. They are skilled, unified, masterful and a sheer joy to watch with their instinctive passing and lethal goal scoring. What is so awesome about this team, unlike Argentina, is the complete absence of drama or diva-like behaviour. There is no fanfare around them; no emphasis on any 'stars' within the team, though we all know who they are, and no pronouncements or hype to fuel expectations. They simply deliver every game with great panache and style. In fact, they have not lost a game in two years, and that is some record for a football team at that international level. One wonders if the psychological fear of them by the other teams paves the way to make their achievements even easier.
Chile fought as hard as they could with professional play, very good skills and great sportsmanship. On another day, they would have made short work of the other team, but, no matter what they did, they could not pierce Brazil's defences or outrun them. I kept hoping they would have scored at least one goal as reward for their valiant efforts but it was not to be. Pity, because the final score did not do justice to the keen resistance they put up against Brazil. However, they can take some comfort in the fact that they played their best and had a good time.
So who will win the FIFA 2010 World Cup for football?
It seems easy to predict on the face of it: Brazil, Argentina or Germany, going on their strong performances so far. But there are also Spain and Portugal, who are clashing today, who will certainly give a run for the money. Either of those two teams could rob one of the other top teams of a place in the final.
Most intriguing of all are the dark horses, Ghana - who dispatched the USA - and Japan, who made mincemeat of Denmark. They are not expected to win but I have a sneaky feeling that one of them could cause a big unexpected surprise. That's the wonderful thing about football. It is all about who is best on the day, no matter their pedigree, history or experience. The result is never certain until the final whistle blows. Exciting times are ahead!
PARAGUAY vs JAPAN - 3 pm GMT (I tip Japan for this one!)
SPAIN vs PORTUGAL - 7.30 pm GMT
(I am rather torn on this as Spain has the edge on recent form. But I will still go for Portugal, especially after their 7:1 defeat of Korea DPR who were no pushover.)
For comparison of each team's statistics and background
For a blog blow by blow account of the match: MatchCast
Video highlights of all the matches:
For ALL information on the FIFA football (soccer) World Cup