Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed Martial Arts
Mixed Martial Arts

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Welcome to my blog which deals with mixed martial arts betting and preview with a detailed analysis on the world of MMA. This blogs covers anything relating to the UFC, Strikeforce, Dreams or any other MMA organization.

Friday, June 16, 2006

World Cup: No major surprises so far

The first round of group action has been completed and all 32 participants now have a game under their belts. The round featured a little bit of everything but has yet to see a major upset which has been characteristic of past World Cups. A quick recap.

Pre-tournament favorites England, Argentina, Italy, Brazil and host Germany all won their openers with the South Americans particularly sharp against eager opponents. Germany has since won again with an extra-time goal against Poland to become the first team to advance to the knockout round.

Dark horses Ecuador, Mexico, Czech Republic and Spain were all impressive in their wins. The Czechs struck in the sixth minute against the U.S. and went on to spank the highly-touted Americans 3-0. The Matadors also tickled the twine in the early minutes to derail the Ukraine train 4-0.

Africa has had a tough tournament to this point losing all matchups until Tunisia was able to salvage a point with goal in the 92nd minute to earn a 2-2 tie with Saudi Arabia. In their defense, the teams from the Dark Continent couldn't have drawn worse opening round opponents and all played relatively well. The Ivory Coast was especially tough in losing 2-1 to Argentina with Chelsea sniper Didier Drogba notching the goal.

England, Holland and Italy were all lackluster in their wins, although all three super powers are battling injuries to significant starting players. Wayne Rooney (broken foot five weeks ago) could be cleared to play as early as today. The Italians simply need to convert some of their many chances.
The round's most shocking performance was turned in by Sweden who was a prohibitive favorite in their opener against Trinidad and Tobago but was held to a 0-0 draw. Almost funny to watch, the Swedes were out-hustled and bullied by the Soca Warriors. Even reduced to 10 men after a 46th minute red card, TNT had the better of play.

Australia showed guts, determination, and resilience in their 3-1 win over Japan. A horrible blown call by the referee, who missed a clear goalie obstruction foul in the box, put the Socceroos down 1-0 after 27 minutes. It remained that way through 83 minutes before the Aussies were able to score three times in the final seven minutes to secure the win.
The tournament's best goal to this point came in the World Cup opener between Costa Rica and Germany. It will likely be the most important goal to of the tournament for the punters as well.
In the 87th minute with Germany leading 3-2 (-1 1/2), German midfielder Torsten Frings unleashed a bomb from better than 35 meters that found a home in the upper right hand corner of the Tico goal. Keeper Jose Porras never had a chance of stopping the laser much to the chagrin of sports books who reported as much as 89 percent of their action coming on Germany.