(Results: Paraguay 0(5)-0(3) Japan, Spain 1-0 Portugal)
Team of the day – Spain:
Pre-tournament favourites finally look to have found rhythm. They put on their best display so far against a stubborn Portuguese defence which had conceded just once in last 12 games. Spain dominated the game from the start to the end. The enjoyed a lion’s share of the possession & looked incisive while going forward. Villa & Torres linked up well with the midfield, Iniesta was at his sublime best. Ramos kept Ronaldo in check for 90 minutes. Casillas & Capdevilla still look shaky & that can be a potential cause of worry. Otherwise Spain are in ominous form.
Goal of the Day:
David Villa (Spain): Obvious isn’t it? There was just one goal to boast about on day-19. He started on the left side, out of position. But that never deters Villa. He was a constant menace to the Portuguese defence & never shrank back from taking a long ranger when he didn’t find space. The goal was a tad lucky, his first shot was saved by Eduardo but the rebound fell kindly to him. A grateful Villa didn’t make a mistake.
Player of the day:
Eduardo: The Braga ‘keeper was a big reason why the modest club finished 2nd, ahead of Porto in Portuguese League. His form had made Portugal one of the best defensive teams in last few months. Last night he was the difference between Spain & a hammering. He was unfortunate for Villa’s goal.
Damp Squib of the Day:
The 90 minutes of Japan – Paraguay was a sad, drab affair. None of the teams showed intent or ability to score a goal. Forget scoring goals, they didn’t even look like stringing a decent move. No Asian team has ever beaten a South American team. Japan didn’t show any signs of changing the trend. Round of 16 games in this world cup has been brilliant. This was a standout exception.
Celebrity look-alike of the day:
Remember the old Godzilla films? Each film would have a scientist who worked with the military to stop the rampaging monster. Meet Japan coach Takeshi Okada, who can walk into any Godzilla film set to portray that role.
Quick, Godzilla is escaping !
Bruce-Lee moment of the day:
Nothing feels better than being whacked across the jaw by your own goalkeeper. Tulio was solid for his team throughout the game. Near the end of the regulation time Kawashima suddenly decided to test his flying abilities in a diagonal ball. He didn’t manage to get the ball but ended up landing a well timed jab on Tulio’s jaw.
The warm, fuzzy feeling of your teammate’s knee on your jaw
Crybaby of the day:
Cristiano Ronaldo: Whiner on & off the field. He switched to an invisible mode in the match. He has scored just one goal in last 12 games for Portugal. After the match the most expensive player in the world promptly pointed his finger towards his hapless coach.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Award of the Day:
Fernando Llorente: Replacing an off-color Torres, Llorente added much needed physical presence & energy up-top. He partnered Villa beautifully & created space for him by being a constant head-ache for Portugal defence. The Athletic Bilbao man enhanced his reputation in this mini-cameo.
Nike, for their accurate foresight. The players Nike picked to be stars in the world cup all turned out to be huge disappointments. Rooney, Ribery, Ronaldo, Cannavaro, Drogba were all pathetic & have been ousted. Ronaldinho didn’t even make it to the squad.
Pepe, came back from injury with a crop of curly hair. It might be result of a transplant, but you never know.