Wow - Group E showed some class today. We'll start with the Yanks and the Czechs. The game started true to form Koller getting a header in at the 5 minute mark. Then the second biggest thigh muscle in the Cup (Crouch has an inch on Koller) got yanked on his hard run down the middle. Man does that look painful. The US were simply outclassed from the start. The sight of the mouth breathing Arena on the sidelines was a bit embarrassing at least the assistant with the crazy nose is talking tactics to players! Final score 3-0 with Rosicky getting the prettiest brace of the Cup so far. He is going to look great in the Arsenal midfield next season. As for the fate of the Yanks, I don't know, but if I'm running a Euro team I am on the horn right now about getting Johnson up front on my team and Onyewu in the back - solid players for sure.
On to the main event. Ghana's midfield certainly lived up to my billing as one of the best central mid pairs in the Cup. Essien and Appiah really set the pace, thank goodness for the Maestro, Pirlo was the calm needed while De Rossi wilted a bit, Perrotta was his usual wasteful but hardworking self, and Totti, well we hope Totti comes to form by the knock-out round. The Maestro controlled tempo and got us on the board with a sublime 25 meter curler off a corner kick. Ghana, as is the problem so far with the African teams, was far too wasteful in front of goal. Poor Kuffour finally did in the debutantes with his errant back pass and Iaquinta cashed in our second as Italy secured the 3 points with a 2-0 win.
Looking ahead in Group E. US vs. Italy: it is really hard to see the US getting it together against such a well balanced team as the Azzurri. As for Ghana and the Czechs, I think we could be in for a surprise with Ghana taking the 3 points, their physicality and pace will cause the Czechs problems, and Rosicky will NOT be running wild against Essien and Appiah. Without Koller they may struggle a bit to score. We'll see this weekend.
Man of Day 4: As much as I want to give it to the Maestro, Rosicky deserves it for his magnificent double. Cheers new Gunner: