Confederations Cup: No alarms and no surprises

David Villa scoring his goal (Getty Images)

David Villa scoring his goal (Getty Images)

Today’s Confederations Cup action saw no surprises.

Spain 1-0 Iraq: I suppose one could be surprised by the fact that Spain only scored one measly goal. And that it took them 55 minutes to score. I suppose I could criticize David Villa for not appearing to be worth the absurd amounts of money being thrown around. But at least the goal he did score was really good.

Iraq’s tactics were clearly based on Chelsea’s tactics versus Barcelona in the Champion’s League. That is, they packed, at times, all 10 outfield players in front of the ball. The thing that sort of impressed me was that they closed the ball down quickly, unlike New Zealand, which attempted to slow the game down on Monday. It’s a credit to Iraq’s coach, legendary wanderer Bora Milutinovic, that they were able to push Spain as far as they did.

In any event, Spain is through to the semi-finals. Perhaps they’ll play someone good there. Oh, and that’s 35 straight wins, tying Brazil’s record.

South Africa 2-0 New Zealand: New Zealand are clearly the worst team in the field because South Africa is not nearly as good as they looked today. Though Bernard Parker’s goal celebrations were interesting. Anyone know where that comes from? I feel sort of bad saying this, but I’m going to anyway: Oceania’s champion should not be in the Confederations Cup. In fact, Oceania should probably be folded into the Asian Confederation because the former is not nearly competitive enough.

That said, South Africa looked good. They might qualify for the semi-finals but they’ll need New Zealand to win or draw against Iraq. I doubt it, though. So South Africa really needs to hope the Kiwis allow fewer than 2 goals.


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