Friday, June 25, 2010

First Round Rewind

Friend of the PWT-blog and former RCU coach, Greg Petersen, gives us his thoughts on the first round of the World Cup.



Uruguay veteran striker Forlan has been outstanding in this tournament. Not only in his play, but in his leadership. Uruguay was not expected do to much in this tournament and they have been one of the nice surprises so far.

Mexico also has played very well so far in this tournament. Young players like Dos Santos, Hernandez, and Barrerra have been very exciting to watch. Veterans Salcedo and Marquez have been outstanding. Uruguay and Mexico coaches and players need to be applauded for there quality of play in the first round. Both teams came in well prepared and have shown in their matches.

South Africa, the first host team not to make it to the second round, just was not good enough. Their defeat of France gives them a little satisfaction in their exit

France Or should I say FC CATASTROPHE? Very disappointing showing from some of the better players in the world.  We will hear more about this in the future, but my friends from France say very similar to USA WC 1998 minus players sleeping with other player’s wives.


Argentina has been the class of the tournament so far. I predict they will win the cup. They need to make sure is that their defense is not their worst enemy. This team is so talented and their attacking abilities are scary!  Maradona seems to have everyone in such a positive and focused state of mind even the players on the bench seem happy! Palermo’s goal was so rewarding and deserving of a player who has done so much for Argentina football, especially his club Boca Juniors! Even if you’re not a fan you needed to applaud this moment!

South Korea deserves to be in the second round. I don’t think they will go far in the next round, but you have to give this country their due respect for how they play.                            

Greece  BORING!

Nigeria has no one to blame for not being in the second round except them. Sani Kaita's red card against Greece was just completely irresponsible.  Yakuba's miss against South Korea is still having everyone scratching their heads wondering how he missed that, but this is African football where one minute you seeing something amazing, like Enyeama’s goalkeeping against Argentina, and the other minute you see something and ask yourself “ did I really just see that? “ Unfortunately, my prediction about the African teams came true.


USA I will have a separate article analyzing of the USA team after they have finished the tournament. As everyone knows there has been some amazing and unforgettable performances and moments from the USA team and individual players in the first round, but further analysis will show we still have some work to do to be considered an elite team at the world stage. We also had some glaring consistent deficiencies in our game. Remember, with all the excitement and emotion of the last minutes of the Algerian match, we were 2 minutes away from soccer in the US going backwards?

England, overall, has had a poor showing in the first round. Is this a result of the players being fatigued from demands of the EPL?  Or is this team and English football in general just over rated? They did have a very convincing qualification and Capello has brought a lot of positive changes and some much needed discipline, but the way this current team is playing is far away from being one of the great teams in the world. Based on we are seeing English football and their players are in real trouble. Maybe, it's time English football starts focusing on developing and giving their own players more opportunities to play first team football in their country. Their coaching also needs a lot of improvement. Recent Barcelona coaches that were hired to take over and run the Liverpool Youth Academy said the academy was in such poor shape, they were five years away from producing a player for the first team.  This not to say England does not have their exceptional coaches. Yes, they have their Tony Carrs, Dario Gradis, Roy Hodges, and Sir Alex Fergusons, who is Scottish, but generally, the tactical knowledge of their coaches are not that good, especially outside the environment of British football. I have a feeling many people in England are worried about the future of England’s football and they have every right to be. It just raises the question why do we have so many English coaches coaching are kids in America? Again not to say there are not some good ones, but Beckenbauer was not so far off when he said “kick and rush” recently.  Let’s see how England does against Germany on Sunday?

Slovenia should be very proud of what they have accomplish at this tournament, but at the same time regretting not getting 3 points against the USA. Both Slovenia and USA could probably say that? It was also very naive to think Slovenia was not a very good team before this tournament started.

Algeria is another team of whom it was naive to think they where not that good. Not to say this was a strong group, but Algeria has been a very worthy opponent in recent competitions.  If Algeria's finishing was better, we could very well be saying something different about the USA?


Germany looked phenomenal in their match against Australia. Oezil is a real talent. Look forward to them being a real difficult opponent in the 2nd round and beyond.

Serbia was a major disappointment. They looked good in the qualifications and Partisan and Red Star are again producing very good players for western Europe, but that old Yugoslavia under achieving mentality popped it’s head up again in World Cup competition.

Australia started off on the wrong foot in this tournament, but ended on a high note. A lot of positive things going on in Australian soccer world! Is Tim Cahill one of the best goal scorers with his head in the world?

Ghana I cannot tell you how happy I am for this coach and his team making it to the 2nd round.  Defensively, they are very disciplined. They've made huge improvements since the African Cup of Nations. I don’t think we have seen the best of their attacking players yet? Only team from Africa to get to the 2nd round.


Netherlands is one of the better teams in the tournament. Elia is an up and coming talent. His performance in the 2nd half against Demark was incredible. Serious team to challenge for cup. We have not seen the best of this team yet!

Japan surprised their fans more than anyone. They did not have high expectations for this coach or team team, but after that performance against Denmark, they deserved to be in the 2nd round. NICE FREE-KICKS!

Denmark coach Morten Olsen has to be disappointed in his team’s performance. After an extremely difficult group in the qualifications, which they sailed through, their game was against Cameroon was probably the only time we saw what Denmark’s true capabilities.

Cameroon was never a threat. At least Eto can tell his children he scored 2 goals in the 2010 World Cup.


Paraguay did what I thought they would, but nothing really exciting in their play, just effective as collective group of players.

Slovakia beat Italy squarely. Deserve to be in the 2nd round.

New Zealand should be very proud in this tournament. Defensively, they where very good. A few more goals they could of made it to the 2nd round, which would have been a huge accomplishment.

Italy was old and missed an opportunity to prepare for the future.


Brazil finished top in their group, but this team has really been uneventful so far, reflecting the nature of the Head Coach Dunga. Now that they enter the second round, expect a much sharper Brazil. This team is loaded with talent and experience, but still don’t think this team has the mentality to win the Cup.

Portugal showed their true attacking potential against North Korea scoring 7 goals by 6 different players. Now they know that they are capable.  It will be interesting to see Portugal play against a quality opponent in the future rounds. Nice training session against Brazil.

Ivory Coast has some very special players and demonstrated they can be a very capable team, but they're currently not as good as Portugal or Brazil. I was extremely happy that Drogba was able to play.

North Korea was the least talented team in this group, but let’s give them respect for their honest play and for never giving up.


Spain started off on the wrong foot against Switzerland.  Their stars returning from injury were not in the best of form. Then in the last 2 group matches, Spain found their form and reasserted their status as being one of the tournament's favorites by finishing on top their group.

Chile was one of the most entertaining teams to watch

Switzerland, thankfully, is not making it to 2nd round, but you have to respect coach Ottmar Hitzfeld for his coaching abilities.

Honduras has to be given thanks for tying Switzerland!


  1. Nice job Greg and Ryan. Very comprehensive. Greg: Asians are better at football than Serbs are at making cars!

  2. True, but Serbian Baba's are better at making homemade soups than Asian are at making noodles!