3 things we learned today
Three things we learned today
1. Giovani Dos Santos is legit
He was mightily impressive in Mexico's opening game against South Africa. He was even better against France. His lethal runs, savvy interplay with fellow attackers and rocking shots from distance make him one of the tournament's first revelations. He's a player to be feared.
2. Argentina is no longer a bumbling bunch of underachievers
Having witnessed its romp over South Korea, the jury is no longer out on Argentina. This team is good. So good, in fact, it doesn't even need Lionel Messi to connect for a goal to win by a big margin (4-1 in today's case). Oh, we also learned that Diego Maradona likes to hug it out. Some lucky players even got pecks on the cheek. Maradona, ladies and gentleman, the players' manager.
3. Refereeing is rapidly deteriorating
Just a few days ago, we were commending the refereeing. Not anymore. Mistakes are starting to pile up. Yesterday, Uruguay's Luis Suarez got South Africa's Itumeleng Khune sent off for one of Suarez's world-famous flops, which won Uruguay a penalty when there was no contact. Today, Nigeria's Sani Kaita was sent off for kicking at an opponent without actually hitting him. Yes, the rulebook says an aggressive motion is enough for a sending off, but it was nonetheless harsh.
Three things to watch for tomorrow:
1. Is Germany for real?
The Germans were torrid in their 4-0 opening-game win against Australia. Will they be able to reproduce that form against Serbia tomorrow? If so, you're looking at an early favorite, even without its undisputed leader, Michael Ballack.
2. Will the U.S. make its own life difficult?
The U.S. will have to take three points against Slovenia or risk making its own life extremely difficult. So the question is: Can the Yanks break down one of the most defensive teams in the tournament? It's not exactly a specialty of this U.S. team.
3. Can England rebound?
The English were disappointed about tying the U.S., and rightly so, considering their superior manpower. Against Algeria, the Three Lions will have to amp it up, because there aren't many games to get it right before the knockout rounds come, well, knocking.
Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.