Thursday, July 08, 2010


Spain are not the most exhilarating team to watch. That's because they're patient. But they may very well be the best team in the world right now.

Spain 1, Germany 0

Spain have lost twice in their last 54 games. That's absurd, especially playing in European Championships and competing against European teams to qualify for the World Cup. And they don't thrash their opponents, either. They're the masters of the 1-0 and 2-1 wins. And this domination was on display against Germany.

You can't counterattck if the other team keeps the ball. And that's basically what Spain did. In the few times they did lose possession in dangerous areas, their defense aggressively clamped down, not on the guy with the ball, but on the 2nd and 3rd guys with the ball. Guys like Schweinsteiger and Özil had no time or space to matriculate the ball forward to Podolski or Klose.

The Spaniards inflicted their game on Germany. And ironically, it was a set-piece that decided the matter. The Germans are historically the masters of set-piece chess soccer. But maybe so much focus on mobility and speed has reduced their adeptness at corner-kicks.

Whatever. Germany will win the World Cup in 2014. But for the 2010 World Cup, we are guaranteed to have a first time winner. We'll have a preview of the Finals on Friday.


At least this loss didn't hurt as much. With David Price facing Wakefield, even the most irrationally exuberant Sox fan could conceptualize losing this game. It was an easy night for catchers giving signals as Price threw almost exclusively fastballs, and Wakefield, of course, was 99% knucklers. But Price's fastball is better than Wakefield's knuckleball, and the Rays offense is better than the JV Sox lineup.

Walks killed Wakefield, and so did some second-rate fielding. It was a sloppy game for the Sox, who seemed resigned to defeat until Price left the game. But by then it was too little too late.

Then there's Youkilis, who did play, but did not look comfortable. If he does wind up getting the nod for the All-Star Game, he probably won't play. After the game, Francona said that the turf was bothering. Hopefully the turf in Toronto doesn't bother him either.

Part of me feels like with all these injuries, the Sox need to play Youkilis until he's clearly injured, especially as the gap with the Yankees widens. But the rest of me thinks that the Sox should be extra-careful with Youkilis. I'd rather bench Youk for 3 days than lose him for 6 weeks.

Sox at Blue Jays starting Friday. Lester vs. Ricky Romero.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo