Now that's what I'm talking about.
What a great day of soccer at the World Cup. For all the criticism about the lack of goals through the first games in each group, things have picked up considerably. In the second matches of group play, there have been 13 goals in four games. All three of Thursday's games were a blast and if you have a chance to catch them on ESPN Classic, do so. Here is what
THE WINNER: Gonzalo Higuain. If teams are going to focus on Lionel Messi, then Argentina has plenty of other players who can step up such as Higuain, who had a hat trick against South Korea.
THE LOSER: France. That hole is too deep. In the final game of group play, the French are going to need to need help from Uruguay or Mexico and then score a bucket of goals of their own. At this point, the French are averaging a Blutarsky-like 0.0 goals per game.
FOOLISH MOVE OF THE DAY: Nigeria was in control of its game against Greece when Sani Kaita was shown a straight red for kicking a Greek player in retaliation for a slight bump. Nigeria was up 1-0 at the time and ended up losing 2-1.
GOAL OF THE DAY: Higuain's third was a work of art. Messi played the ball to Sergio Aguero, who crossed for Higuain, who had an easy goal.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We're not going to go out of this tournament without winning a match. It's shameful to lose like that. It's a question of saving our honor.” | France's Florent Malouda
OTHER OBSERVATIONS: What a great early Father's Day for the Little Green Pea. That's the nickname for Mexico's Javier Hernandez, who emulated his grandfather by a scoring a World Cup goal against France. ... It's a day late I know, but the Wizards' Roger Espinoza looked sharp for Honduras in its loss to Chile on Wednesday. ... Argentina pulled away from South Korea and has all sorts of offensive firepower, but its defense may be its downfall. ... Hyundai pulled an ad featuring fans who worship soccer, but really, this ad is their best:
Feel free to post your thoughts about the day's games or about the United States game against Slovenia tomorrow.
| Pete Grathoff, firstname.lastname@example.org