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Bob Weiser started playing soccer as a youth and has been following the sport ever since, dating back to days of watching the Bundesliga on PBS on Saturday afternoons.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Quick thoughts on semifinals

Netherlands 3, Uruguay 2

Like others, I was stunned when the Uruguayan coach took Diego Forlan out with about 10 minutes left and his team down 3-1. Were they conceding? No. Forlan was nicked up. Nicked up? Are you kidding me? It's the World Cup semifinals. My leg would have to be falling off down 3-1 if I was my team's best player. Very strange. The Dutch were the better team, but Uruguay had plenty of 'moments.' I thought Uruguay was really dangerous pretty early in the second half. And then - Holland lowered the boom. First Wesley Sneijder, then Arjen Robben in a 4-minute span. It was 3-1 and it was all but over. Uruguay got a late goal to make it close, but Holland held on to reach its first WC Final since 1978. Congrats to the Dutch and congrats to Uruguay on an outstanding tournament.

Spain 1, Germany 0

Spain has never won a World Cup title. Never even been to the final. Sure, the Spanish have been the best tournament over most of the decade, were favored and beat Germany, 1-0, in the Euro 2008 final. Still, this is Germany. A team that had scored 13 goals in the tournament. Instead of coming out and putting the pressure on Spain, maybe forcing Spain to choke a little in light of its past World Cup history, Germany seemed to be playing for 0-0 and overtime, possibly getting a goal on a counterattack. Now, I'm OK with counterattacking, but ... not when you're Germany. You're not supposed to be afraid of anyone when you wear that uniform and the Germans played like they were convinced they had little if any shot. Spain buzzed around the German net and were it not for a couple of Manuel Neuer saves, it could have been 3-0. Spain dominated possession and it almost seemed like Germany was letting it make all the short passes it wanted in the midfield. A brilliant header by Carles Puyol gave Spain the lead on a corner kick - he had just missed one in the first half. I don't know. Maybe Germany heard the octopus picked Spain.

Now, it's on to Spain vs. Holland and someone is going home with the World Cup for the first time in its history. Hope we get a great game - we'll definitely have a great pregame show - Shakira is scheduled to perform.


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