Make Arjen this happy again, Holland. (Also, who knew that Dirk Kuyt had abs?) (Photo by Steve Haag/Getty Images)
While I love, love love the opportunity to watch two football matches per day, I had no idea it would be so exhausting. Watching players run around for 90+ minutes really tires out my eyeballs. Now, with only eight matches to go, World Cup fans get their first day of rest since June 11th.
Here's what to look forward to when we return from the two day hiatus. It's extremely biased commentary, so feel free to add your opinions in the comments:
Friday, July 2nd (ESPN, 10am ET, 7am PT)
A match-up of two squads whose teams are playing in manners contrary to their nation's historical style. Holland, previously known for beautiful football, has been eking out goals, whereas Brazil, famous for their ability to combine dancing and football, have spent a lot of their time concentrating on defense.
Somewhere during the Brazil/Chile game I started actively despising Brazil. The decision was probably made between a dive and an elbow. Meanwhile, the Oranje showed some brilliant flashes in their match against Slovakia, especially with Arjen Robben back on the field. Robben lit up the play with his first goal, which came on a Wesley Sneijder 60-yard cross, with Robben slipping the ball past two defenders to drive it past the Slovakian keeper, Jan Mucha. I really don't want to dissect the Dutch squad, but I'll tell you to keep your eyes on Robben and Sneijder, who has magic in both his feet, and be envious of the fact that their frequently used replacements are Eljero Elia, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Ibrahim Affelay. The Netherlands make me salivate.
Friday, July 2nd (ESPN 2:30pm ET, 11:30am PT)
This is where FIFA has conspired to make me bite my nicely manicured nails all day long. Since the second match of the World Cup, I've been cheering on La Celeste, and no, it's not just because of Diego Forlan's abs. Even though France turned out to be a failure, I loved the way they started out the tournament by hanging on to a draw after going down a man. Uruguay are comfortable playing both offense and defense, and they're not overly reliant on their star striker, Forlan.They got a bit sloppy against South Korea, but they were able to snap out of it and put another in the goal.
Ghana's the squad that nearly every American will be cheering toward failure, but as a neutral observer I have to say I love me some Asamoah Gyan, and Richard Kingson's been quality in goal. Still, The Black Stars' defense has shown weakness, much more so than that of Uruguay. Forlan will torment the back line and if he doesn't manage to get behind it, they'll be so intent on keeping him from scoring that Luis Suarez will wedge his young self in there and put a goal in. Ghana winning would be an upset.