In the Germany-Portugal game I think the four central defenders all performed tremendously well. Nevertheless Mesut Özil received the man of the match award from ESPN (don’t get me wrong, Özil played well, but I would have selected Pepe, Alves, or Hummels). One astonishing fact strikes me from the stats: even though the Germans won in possession (56% vs 44%) and in total shots (12 vs 11) Portugal hammered them in the corner statistics (11 vs 2). One possible explanation for this may be that the Portuguese attack more from the flanks with Ronaldo and Nani, but I don’t have any stats supporting that.
Another interesting fact is the number of offside calls. Each team was only flagged for offside once in the entire game. I interpret this as an effect of two teams who defended deep, more afraid of loosing than playing for a win.
In the Netherlands-Denmark game the numbers didn’t match the result of course. The Netherlands had 28 shots against Denmark’s 8. The shots on target stats were more equal though (5 vs 4), indicating the poor finishing from the Dutch. After the game many compared it with Chelsea’s performance in the Champions League. I would disagree, Denmark did not play with all their team behind the ball (Rommedahl did not help his defender an awful lot for example) and the possession stats were fairly even (53% vs 47%)!
My man of the match award goes to Wesley Sneijder who set up his team mates for golden scoring opportunities the entire game.
In my opinion the referees so far have intervened too much with too many freekicks in the games. Tonight I will investigate if I agree with the ref in at least one of the games by counting the number of freekicks I would have given in the game and how many freekicks that actually were given.