Yesterday felt like the first proper ‘World Cup’ day for me, as I managed to catch at least two and a half of the three games on TV, in between a Father’s Day BBQ in classic British overcast weather.
What we were treated to was certainly a bit of surprise and with Germany going ‘Full Arsenal’ on us it was hard not to feel a little sorry for Mesut Özil. He’s just spent an entire season in a malfunctioning football team and now he looks like he’s also in the same boat this summer.
I actually thought he didn’t play too badly yesterday. His passing distribution was ok, his chance creation was better than some of his teammates, and it was the profligacy of some of his other forwards, as well as complete indiscipline in midfield, which made the Germans look like they were playing some kind of basketball game.
The good news for them is that there are still two other games to play and Mexico are probably the best of the three teams Germany will play. So I still think they’ll probably go through and as with all things with the German national team, what they’re good at is peaking at the right time.
The other game I watched was with our new boy Lichtsteiner and Xhaka taking on the roley-poleyness of a silky-haircut inspired Neymar Brazilian team. I thought the game had a decent ebb and flow to it and was glad to see the Swiss get a point against the Seleção because it was hard worked, earned, but also meant that we got to see that Lichtsteiner can still perform at the highest level and against some of the world’s best.
The Coutinho goal was a cracker but he does that and perhaps it’s my clearly biased viewpoint but I think he is one of the most overrated players at the World Cup. I say that because Coutinho is one of those players who scores three or four of those worldies a season, yet the rest of the time he’s lashing balls high, wide and handsome. He’s a half decent playmaker but nothing more, yet people go mad when they see goals like that, because he does it once in a while. Then sure enough yesterday I saw him lash a few shots miles wide and now all we hear about is his one moment.
Anyway, it ultimately didn’t win the the game and now that we’ve seen most of the favourites play in the first round of games, it really doesn’t feel like anybody has been overly impressive. Perhaps they’re all just waiting to peak in the knockout stages but I personally think that some of these teams have been built up to seem a little better than they actually are.
Anyway, as you can tell there’s not too much going on Arsenal-wise at the moment, so I’m filling my time watching players who I have little emotional investment in.
There’s an England game tonight and I’ll watch it, but I suspect given the troubles of some of the other big nations in the opening games, it won’t be as clear-cut as we suspect.
Catch you all tomorrow.