World Cup - Round 1 review

Hi guys!

I know the World Cup is not of particular interest to the community, but since I did go through the trouble of watching pretty much all the matches so far, I thought I'd post a little review of the action for those interested and maybe get a few opinions to see if others saw things differently from myself.

Below I split the teams up into a few categories based on how I feel they performed compared to the expectations for each team:

Teams that looked like world beaters:

The Netherlands
Thrashing the defending champs and number 1 world ranked team is always enough to announce yourself as early tournament favourite.

Completely annihilated a supposedly high caliber team in Portugal. I saw no weaknesses in their game.

Teams that looked good against quality opposition:

Wonderful passion, energy and attacking versatility. Lost because of an unlucky own goal and an unstoppable Messi move. Otherwise had Argentina on the ropes for large stretches.

Were poised, worked hard and defended well against a usually high-scoring Bosnian team

Costa Rica
Energetic, determined play, showed excellent composure and maturity to hand a beating to a supposedly world-class Uruguay team

Teams that looked good against limited opposition:

Excellent start from France, demonstrating both a flamboyant, tireless midfield and a world class attacker in Karim Benzema

Did the expected damage against an even-worse than expected Greek team. Remains to be seen how they can handle a quality opponent

Cote D'Ivoire
Very good win against an arguably solid but offensively challenged Japanese team. Now find themselves with a real chance of progressing.

Got the expected win against the underdog Australia. Always good to start with a win but a very motivated Spain will stand between them and the last 16.

Teams with problems to solve:

The machinery has yet to click for Brazil who still seem to be lacking a second spark outside Neymar. But on the bright side, the defense looks good and they have one or even potentially two easier matches coming up to figure things out.

Managed to challenge Brazil but somehow they never looked like they might win. While they will never be expected to beat the world class teams, not getting out of the group would be considered a serious underarchievement for them so they need to step up and be more assertive on offense.

Even taking into account the two goals that should have stood, Mexico struggled to find a rythm and a clear vision in what should have been their easiest group game against Cameroon. Their defensive performance against Brazil in their second game was good, but they still struggled to score.

The US showed a lot of character to not let themselves be demoralized by the late Ghana equalizer, but their defense up to that point had been far from impeccable. Their left side defense in particular needs improvements.

Like the US, the Swiss never gave up on the game and turned it around on Ecuador. But despite the character they showed, their midfield passing game was bad. It's a bad sign that that they needed every ounce of energy to beat an Ecuador team that was looking pathetic in the buildup to the World Cup.

Struggled with being treated like a dangerous team worth playing safe against. Are dangerous when they get running but seem clueless in the halfcourt. Perhaps the team really is too young after all?

They lost but with Uruguay looking tired and out of ideas, they have a real chance of qualifying. Even a draw against Uruguay might be enough.

Winning what looks like it could have been their most difficult group game is a great way to start. Still overly reliant on Pirlo's midfield play, they potentially have 2 easier games coming up to fine-tune their offense.

Looked like Arthur Abraham in there: retreating behind a tight and very traditional defense, letting the supposedly inferior adversary attack all they want, not even trying to force mistakes, and trusting that openings will reveal themselves. This is a bad idea but in what is looking like a weak group, they might luck their way into the last 16.

The underrated Algerian team almost upset group favourites Belgium, but ended up with 0 points. Still, with the group's most difficult game out of the way, they can believe in themselves going into the matches against the underachieving Russians and Koreans.

Seemed bland and unspectacular. Attacked with conviction but without a real plan. Struggled to unlock the wing play. Were never seriously challenged defensively so that too remains a question mark. Seem to be lacking in both the player quality and coaching departments.

Teams that need massive improvements urgently:

Everything that could have gone wrong for Spain is actually going wrong for them. As one of the most experienced world class teams, they can bounce back.

Looked exhausted against Germany. They need rest, calm and better team play. You could argue that this is a game they were likely to lose anyway. Their realistic goal was always beating Ghana and the US and that is still achievable.

Bad loss against the Ivory Coast. Both Columbia and Greece are beatable, so they need to pick themselves up.

Gave an unexpectedly good account of themselves against Switzerland but ultimately lost the game and with a game against the obviously peaking France still to play, they will need a miracle to go through.


Like Portugal, they looked exhausted from the long season most of their players have had. The loss against Costa Rica is so bad that it might not even be forgotten with a win over England or Italy. They need to improve every single aspect of their game.


Looked dynamic and creative against the US but at the same time very volatile emotionally. They need to calm down and finish their chances. Their defense will be vulnerable so they will need to score several goals each time out, which seems plausible against Portugal but not against Germany

Teams going nowhere:

No offense, no flair, the same old slow team they've always been, but without the world class defense. A disappointment.


No identity, no ideas, too many turnovers.


Arguably the single worst team of the entire first round - showed absolutely nothing.

Couldn't even trouble Iran, lack of cohesion, lack of individual quality. And their difficult games are just starting.

Visibly improved from previous iterations of their team, but still not creative and not decisive enough. Will struggle to score any goals at all.

Probably would have looked better in an easier group but with games against Spain and The Netherlands, they face the real prospect of finishing with 0 points.

<strong><font color="red">FanPosts are user-created content written by community members of Bad Left Hook, and are generally not the work of our editors. <em>Please do not source FanPosts as the work of Bad Left Hook</em>.</font></strong>

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bad Left Hook

You must be a member of Bad Left Hook to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bad Left Hook. You should read them.

Join Bad Left Hook

You must be a member of Bad Left Hook to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bad Left Hook. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.