The criticism of Englandís 1-1 draw with the USA in the English media was predictably negative. A goalkeeping calamity, injury problems, star players underperforming - it appeared to mirror previous World Cup campaigns when high hopes were quickly replaced with the grim realisation that maybe it won't be England's year after all. The rigid formation, the tactics of getting the ball out wide and hoping for the best from a big man in attack failed to function. Credit to the USA and in particularly defender Oguchi Onyewu, who has endured terrible injury problems since moving to AC Milan but who stood up well to the English threat. With Ledley King out for what is likely to be the rest of the tournament - who would have thought the injury-prone Tottenham man would suffer a problem - it looks like Jamie Carragher will partner John Terry in the centre of defence against Algeria. Let's hope they won't be found wanting for pace again.
The Germans have been the most impressive performers thus far. Australia looked shell-shocked and incapable of handling the movement of the German runners from midfield during the 4-0 defeat. Although Tim Cahill's sending off was possibly harsh at 2-0, it had little bearing on the outcome of where the points were heading. Playmaker Mesut Ozil was impressive and although there may be some question marks defensively, the Socceroos, who looked like a side well past their best, were unable to take advantage. On the form displayed they look as though they'll do well just to score a goal.
Holland got their campaign off to a winning start by seeing off Denmark - the morale of the story being that the 3 points were more important than the performance. Another goalkeeping blunder earned Italy a deserved point, while of the other potential contenders Argentina - with Lionel Messi on top - if non-goalscoring form - in the victory over Nigeria. The worst? The stench of Greece's performance is still lingering. Here's looking forward to seeing Brazil and Spain in the next couple of days.
Germany will win the World Cup. They are a much better 'team' without Michael Ballack. Just wait, the best is yet to come. If you thought they played well against Australia, you haven't seen anything yet. Mesut Ozil is going to tear it up.