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Sunday, July 04, 2010

World Cup 2010: The Final Four

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UPDATE @ 1300hrs July 8th Looks like Walski’s 50% track record holds – Spain beat Germany in their semi-final match, paving the way to the Spaniards being featured in the World Cup finals for the first time in their footballing history. They will meet Holland on Monday, July 12th at 2:30am (Malaysian Time). We will be discussing the finals in a separate post, coming up real soon.

UPDATE @ 0800hrs July 7th With the first of the two semi-finals done and dusted, it looks like one of the teams in the finals on July 11th will be the Netherlands. Early this morning they beat Uruguay 3-2 in a thrilling game. The poll, incidentally is closed, and we’ll discuss the results after the second semi-finals between Spain and Germany, at 2:30am July 8th (Malaysian Time).

South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup logo, image hosting by PhotobucketThe good news is, some of Walski’s World Cup 2010 Quarter-Finals predictions were accurate. The bad news, only half of them were. A mere 50% – not a good thing if he were a gambling man (which  he fortunately isn’t, Vincent Tan, or no Vincent Tan).

Argentina and Brazil, both whom Walski predicted would feature in the semis, were decisively knocked out by Germany and the Netherlands, respectively. And by decisively, they were whooped real good – Argentina succumbing to 4 unanswered goals, while Brazil lost to the Netherlands 1 – 2 despite scoring two of the goals in the match. Okay, so one of them was an own goal.

And that can mean only one thing – we need to do another poll: which teams do you think will feature in the finals. There are, of course, four possibilities:

  • Netherlands vs. Germany
  • Netherlands vs. Spain
  • Uruguay vs. Germany
  • Uruguay vs. Spain

For the heck of it, Walski threw in an additional fictitious choice – Referees vs. Linesmen. So far no fights have broken out between them, but with this World Cup tournament that’s been full of surprises, you never know… 
(Walski’s picks, and more, in the full post)

To be fair, this poll will be a very short-run one, and will close at 2:30am (Malaysian Time) on Wednesday morning, July 7th, which incidentally will be when the first semi-final match kicks off, between Uruguay and the Netherlands.

So, spread the word around, and get your friends, family and pet iguanas to vote – Walski wants to make this poll as inclusive as possible.

As for his picks, Walski wants to believe that it’ll be an Uruguay vs. Spain final. Now, that may go against the grain and momentum shown by Germany and the Netherlands, but it’s still within the realm of plausibility.

Germany have been formidable – their youth, inventiveness, and mechanical efficiency have proven to be a devastating combination. Spain, on the other hand, have still yet to play to their fullest potential. To overcome Germany, therefore, they’ll need to step up their game several notches. As demonstrated in Germany’s demolishing of Argentina, flair, skill and playing the beautiful game too slowly can be a fatally bad strategy when going against the German juggernaut.

Uruguay have been resilient – not quite the best side on paper, but Walski thinks they have what it takes to put the squeeze on the Oranjemen. Pun intended. Personally, it is Walski’s totally biased opinion that Brazil were unfortunate victims of less than perfect refereeing. It’s also testament that skill and flair don’t always cut it against a more physical team, something that Uruguay should be aware of.

So there – Walski’s called ‘em. He may be way, way off this time, but there have been more surprises in this World Cup than there are half-tones on a vuvuzela, so you never know.