This World Cup has been one of the most exciting and interesting ever. There seems to be a new order in the football world. The traditional football powers seem to be underachieving, while teams from minor football countries are doing surprisingly well.
The two finalists from the last World Cup, France and Italy, have been eliminated. I was glad to see both of them go. I have been to France several times and think it's a beautiful country with a lot of great sights, good wine, beautiful scenery, and fantastic food. But for some reason I just don't like the French football team. I especially didn't like them this year because they cheated to make it into the World Cup. The goal that gave them the victory over Ireland that they needed in qualifying was a hand ball that the referee missed. Since the last World Cup I've thought that Italy was overrated. I used to cheer for the Italians because they had the best looking players (that honor now goes to Spain). I also thought that the dramatics that accompanied their dives and fake injuries were the best. But I felt that they benefitted from a lot of bad calls by the referees in the last World Cup. Italy didn't live up to its potential in the European Championships two years ago and certainly didn't in this World Cup.
Germany, England, and Spain seem to not be playing up to their potential. I felt that England was overrated and not really a title contender, though many experts felt that this would be England's year to win it. The Netherlands has also looked a little out of sorts at times.
The South American teams all look fantastic, especially Argentina and Brazil. I think that Argentina is the team to beat. Argentina's Lionel Messi is showing why he's one of the top players in the world. He doesn't have any goals so far; but he has done an excellent job setting up his teammates for scores. It looks like all 5 South American teams will go through to the next round. I'm cheering for Uruguay as a dark horse. Diego Forlan is playing very well for Team Uruguay and is fun to watch. It's nice to see Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay doing well because they haven't had any football glory since the 1950s. I think that the South Americans along with Spain have the most exciting and dynamic style of football. They show why football is called, "The Beautiful Game."
Japan and Slovakia are two teams who made the second round for the first time. Japan looked very impressive in beating Denmark last night. The Blue Samurai are also another dark horse. It's good to see some new blood in the later rounds, though I think that the Netherlands will beat Slovakia in their upcoming match.
The USA has a good team and an easier path to the later rounds due to its bracket. Team USA is a good team, not a great one, but they're also part of the new world football order. While the great teams, like Brazil, Argentina, or Germany, are deep, the USA is not. The USA also doesn't dive and have fake injuries like the better teams. If the USA wants to become a great team, it will need to work on its theatrics. It's amazing how drama influences the referees.
Now it's time to watch the Brazil-Portugal game. Both of these teams will go through to the second round. I'm cheering for Brazil. Whatever the outcome of this game, and the Spain-Chile and Switzerland-Honduras matches later, this World Cup will continue to be very interesting.