But God bless the Germans (!?) for showing the world how offensive soccer can be played. But through 8 games, we still only have 13 goals, which is a record-low pace (1.63 per match, far lower than the 2.21 allowed in 1990, the lowest-scoring Cup.... in 2006, the average was 2.30). Of those 13, three came off set pieces and two were blatant goalkeeper errors; that leaves just about one normal run-of-play score per match. I appreciate all the lyrical business about the cruel and austere beauty of soccer, and I don't doubt the beauty of the right kind of 1-0 game, but this is still too low.
Is the unpredictable Jabulani ball destroying passing accuracy? Are defensive tactics gaining the upper hand? Or is this just a puny sample size? I hope the latter; at this rate, even the most statistically-informed talk about 2010 shaping up to be a high-scoring World Cup looks like hopeful rubbish.
OK, on to tomorrow's games:
* Netherlands 3, Denmark 1. I see goals. Denmark has a solid defense, but Robin Van Persie (who reminds of Tommy Keeffe somehow; weird) and the Dutch are going to open this fucker up.
* Cameroon 1, Japan 0. I always like to see Japan do well, but they lost all their warm-up friendlies, unimpressively, and haven't convinced me that they can make a mark on this tournament.
* Italy 2, Paraguay 0. My feelings about the Italians are well known, but their group -- the weakest of the Cup by some margin -- shouldn't be much of a problem.