The World Cup 2006 is almost over with only four games left.
It’s going to be an all-european teams semi final which proves again that European countries are very strong when they host the World Cup. Only Brazil has been able to win a WC in Europe when they did back in Sweden 1958.
The semi finals are:
Germany vs Italy
The only favorite left. Being the host country can play in your favor or against you. The referees are always going to be localists, but playing at home has the extra preassure that your crowd expects you to win. Germany has won all their games easily except the game with Argentina. In that game the Germans looked nervous and didn’t play the great soccer they have shown in the other matches.
Italy had to play in one of the most difficult groups in first round and they have not lost a single game so far. They have been helped a lot from the referees, specially in the games with Ghana, USA and Australia. The Italian defense and goalkeeper are very strong and has only allowed one goal (scored by one of their defenders) and their strickers have done their part scoring.
If Germany plays as nervous and conservative as with Argentina, this game could end up with a tie (0-0, 1-1) or with one team winning 1-0. If the game goes to penalty kicks, we are going to see two of the worlds best goalkeepers Buffon and Lehman.
France vs Portugal
France had one of the easiest groups of the WC but they played horrible, and made it to the second round in second place after Switzerland. But then it was like the French team turned on the ‘Jogo Bonito’ switch and they played perfect games against Spain and Brasil, two teams that we all thought were favorites to win the WC. Zidane showed his best soccer against the Brazilians and proved the world that he still has lots of soccer to give.
Portugal had to play against two very physical teams: Netherlands and England, and they won both games with lots of guts. You can tell the Portuguese have fun on the field and I think it is because of their coach Scolari. I think Portugal has a much younger team than France, although they do have a man with lots of experience like Figo.
Figo vs Zidane, Ronaldo vs Henry…