Missed the Netherlands match due to beer. Cameroon, my pick (and the consensus) to come in 2nd in Group E looked downright pathetic. Eto'o looks out of place on the right side, and some dude named Honda on Japan was the best player on the pitch...scoring the loan goal.
But the big match of the day featured my beloved Italia. As a fan, I can admit this Italy team has its weaknesses. They're old, they lack a big time goal scoring striker, and they're not very creative in the midfield. And without Pirlo for the Group stage, goals are going to be even harder to come by. They're rather pedestrian in their attack, and prefer to play a defensive minded game...usually irking footie fans outside of Italy. That all said, the "analysis" from ESPN commentators after a 1-1 draw with Paraguay was not only off, but sort of irresponsible.
It sounded as if the post game analysis was written before the game was played. According to ESPN experts Steve McManaman and some other ass clown whose name I forget, Paraguay was an offensive force, despite the fact they crossed the final third of the pitch only twice in the first half. It was the same old Italy, "dinosaurs" as they called them. True, the Italy strike force lacks some creativity and relied heavily on desperate crosses into the box, but they at least attempted to attack. Basically, Paraguay out-Italied Italy the entire match, deciding that offensive possession was unimportant. That would have been a more appropriate analysis. Instead, McManaman and Unknown Ass Clown chose hate as the avenue of analysis. Shame, shame.
Seeing Mauro Camoranesi enter in the 2nd half was a plus. The De Rossi goal was a plus, seeing he'll be relied on much more in 2010 (although the goal against was his fault). The Gigi Buffon injury is a huge blow. I liked what DiNatale brought to the match. Pepe was the only player in a blue jersey who showed a sniff of taking on defenders one-on-one. And we desperately need Pirlo back in the line-up to replace Montolivo, who looked lost. The draw salvaged a better chance at winning Group F, but the chances appear dim much further after that.