World Cup: Recaps

Keeping up with the Cup: Day 5

Germany 4-0 Portugal

One of the worst performances in Portugese history?

Quite possibly.

An early penalty, an early red card, an absent Ronaldo. Portugal committed all three deadly sins: Give up an early goal, lose your cool, argue amongst yourself.

The penalty was debatable, but the Portugese reaction was unacceptable. Instead of responding as a unit, they became more selfish; a team defined more by the directness of Nani than by the elegance of Joao Moutinho.

And Germany was brilliant. Thomas Muller dragged Pepe all over the pitch before the Portugese defender took an early shower for a rash headbutt. Sami Khedira strode through the midfield unmarked, Mario Goetze pinned the entire right side of the Portugese defense deep with incisive runs, and Mesut Ozil sought to push the ball into space from the right. It was untrackable, it was played at pace, and it was breathtaking. The only negative on the night was Mats Hummels’ late injury. The big defender, with a first half goal to his name, went down awkwardly and twisted his right knee on an aerial challenge.

How does this affect the United States?

Portugal will be without Pepe and possibly without Fabio Coentrao, who was stretchered off with a groin pull. Starting striker Hugo Almeida also went off injured, though he was, frankly, putrid before leaving. Portugal’s backup striker, Eder, was a non-entity aside from earning what should have been a penalty on a rebound; the referee wrongly waved off appeals for a spot kick.


  • To make their system work, Portugal need Joao Moutinho on the ball. Moutinho can make the outlet pass to release Ronaldo in 1v1 situations. Without that quick counterattack, Ronaldo is simply a red shirt not playing defense.
  • Goal differential. That scoreline helps the US quite a bit.
  • Germany’s 4-6-0 has no time for your diamond midfields. If the United States wants to take a point or more off Germany, they’re going to have to pull Bradley deeper and play a flat three-man midfield in front of Beckerman or Jones. The German movement is going to overload any zonal scheme and pull the holding midfielder out, leaving Besler and Cameron far too exposed.
  • Portugal’s response. Portugal does not suck. They are a good collection of players who don’t – and never really have – played well together. A loss like this one could sink them into infighting or provoke them to be more cohesive.
Nigeria 0-0 Iran

This game was so, so, so boring. Nigeria couldn’t break down Iran. They might not have been trying. Victor Moses certainly didn’t seem to be.


  • Victor Moses needs to get behind defenses if Nigeria want to do anything more than play for 0-0 ties.
  • How did Iranian striker Reza Ghoochanejad commit 7 fouls and not pick up a card?
USA 2-1 Ghana

Full PSP recap here.

One Comment

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    I know it was after midnight by the time I finished watching Nigeria-Iran but I thought I heard talk of a third game after the two above were done.

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