World Cup 2010: What We Learned From the First Week
Our list includes the top five things we learned from the first week of competition.
5 - African teams struggle
Besides the quality win by Ghana, teams representing the African continent have struggled. In total, African teams have scored just two goals combined in seven games.
After a hopeful start, South Africa has faltered and they look to be the first host team to not make it out of the group stage since 1982. The Ivory Coast is talented but are stuck between a rock (Portugal) and a hard place (Brazil). Hopefully the next week will be more kind to the host teams.
4 - Germany is still Germany
No Michael Ballack. 2nd youngest team in the tournament. Still German made. Any doubts people had about the inexperience of the German squad were put to rest after their destruction of Australia in their opening game.
Their young call ups are not new to international play as they took home the under 21 UEFA European championship in 2009. New captain Philipp Lahm was the catalyst and Podolski and Klose woke up from their scoring slumps. Germany looks to be a strong competitor that has the offense and defense to go up against anyone in the field.
3 - The war over vuvuzelas
Players don't like them and broadcast stations want them gone. The battle has just begun and as of now, broadcasters like BBC are going to do what they can to filter the sound. No matter how you feel about it, the Symbol of South Africa has made an impact in the first week of play and will stay around (for now).
2 - Down with the goalies
This week was proof of the importance of goalies in the World Cup, but some faired better then others. Robert Green would love to forget his first week in South Africa. So would Algeria's Faouzi Chaouchi who failed to properly stop a strike from Slovenia's Robert Koren that cost them the game.
Tim Howard of the United States and Buffon of Italy both had impressive games but are down with injuries. Howard looks to be fit for Friday's match, but Italy could be without Buffon for the rest of the tournament.
1 - Spain is back to it's old ways of losing
No team that lost their opening match has ever gone on to win the World Cup. That is what Spain is facing now. The Euro 2008 winners had lost only once in the last 51 games.
Most experts picked Spain to win it all this year in South Africa, but after their 1-0 loss to Switzerland, that has been put into serious doubt. No offense from one of the most talented squads in the tournament is a major problem. They are in a weak group, but must pick it up and pick it up in a hurry. Their next match against Honduras is a must win.