One of the great things about the World Cup, as in all sports, is when the narrative gets turned on its head. The narrative going into the Poland-Ecuador was that Poland would definitely handle Ecuador, beacuse the match was in Germany, Poland's neighbor, and that the match was at sea level, where Ecuador have not won at competitive match in their last 11 tries becasue they are a 1 trick pony who win all of their matches at home (Quito: elevation 9,250 ft) but struggle at "normal" altitudes.
Ecuador turned the narrative on its head today, beating Poland 2-0. They apparently dominated the fist half (I only watched the 2nd), went ahead, played bend-don't-break defense, then put the game away in the 80th minute. Poland fans will feel hard done by, since they hit the post twice in the last 5 minutes. Also, they had a goal disallowed for a 50/50 offside call that was probably 51/49 in favor of onside (although it looked like the Ecuador keeper "switched off" seeing the linesman's flag go up), while Ecuador's 2nd goal was another 50/50 offside call that was probably 51/49 in favor of offside but was given as onside. What Poland didn't know was that they were never going to score on Ecuador, because they failed to game plan for Ecuador's goalie going Will Clark meets The Ultimate Warrior and painting his cheeks with the national flag. Looked silly as hell, but the mojo worked.
Polska forgot to gameplan for crazyface
Tough luck, but full credit to Ecuador who played really well, especially defending all of Poland's crosses into the area. It sure would be fun to be in Quito tonight, where I am sure a massive, massive party has recently begun. They are also in great shape now to go through, as they play Costa Rica next. If they can beat Costa Rica, they will basically be through no matter what else happens. Poland, on the other hand, are up against it and in their next match face their toughest match against huge rivals Germany. They really will need to beat the Germans to have a solid chance of going through; a draw and they will likely need help, and a loss and they are likely done.
When will I ever get another chance to gratutiously
throw up a picture of a pretty Polish girl?
In the early match the narrative held true to form, that Germany, despite missing their best player Ballack, would have too much talent for the pesky Ticos. Costa Rica never backed down and kept coming, but the Germans saw them off in the end 4-2.
Highlight videos available on the Official FIFA World Cup site (will they show controversial offsides decisions thereby making their refs looks bad, after the bad refereeing in 2002? Probably not, they'll instead go MLB and purposely ignore replays of controversial calls).
As much solid writing as I have seen recently on the World Cup, this article was forwarded to me and is the best one I have read yet. If you only read one article about what the World Cup is all about, read this one. Or, you could just go here and get Claudia Shiffer's hard-hitting "analysis". I highly recommend the former.