Some random observations after the first group fixtures:
Ghana 1-0 Serbia: No real caution in this game as both teams looked to get forward. Serbia trusted their height and defense; Ghana trusted their athleticism and speed. Ghana looked sharper in the final third, but the Serbian backline got physical (Nemanja Vidic really is that good). When Serbia got into the final third, Ghana used their quickness to cut off the passing lanes and get in front of shots. Better scoring opportunities for both sides in the second half, where both teams really opened things up and stretched the field. Considering how much scoring both sides did in qualifying the finishing was decidedly disappointing. I don’t think Lukovic deserved a second yellow on a 50-50 ball; a warning would have been enough. A number backline mental lapses almost sent Ghana down on a few occasions, but the keeper came up big. You just kind of knew a fatal error was going to cost somebody; A Kuzmanovic handball in the box gave Ghana a penalty that Asamoah Gyan had no trouble converting. Have to give it to Serbia; they furiously tried to get forward with long balls into the box to get back that goal. A surprisingly exciting fixture that belies the final score.
Germany 4-0 Australia: Obviously Joachim Low has kept Jurgen Klinsmann’s attacking approach. It took all of 7 minutes for Germany’s furious attack to get Lukas Podolski on the scoreboard from the left wing. Early on Germany displayed their ability to get shots on target by anybody and from anywhere. For most of the game the Australian attack stalled at midfield; Germany did a much better job of controlling the midfield than their opponents. Australia was getting into the German penalty area but not in numbers, so Tim Cahill and Jason Culina weren’t really getting any support. Wonderful wing play from Germany, who were taking great advantage of width ad providing accurate crosses into the box to the strikers, as evidenced by Philip Lahm’s cross into Miroslav Klose for their second goal. Definitely a late tackle by Tim Cahill but certainly not worth a red card, which basically made any comeback aspirations by Australia impossible. 68th minute goal by Tomas Mueller was a perfect example of how creative, complete and sustained the German attack was all game long. Brazilian-born striker Cacau was on the pitch for all of three minutes before taking advantage of that confident German attack against a dispirited opponent, scoring on a cross. By far the most cohesive, comprehensive and complete performance by a side in this tournament so far.