by Alexandre Guimaraes
Contrary to what people might think at first glance, I don't think that the results we've seen at South Africa 2010 are all that surprising. Switzerland's victory over Spain perhaps was in that category, given that they are European champions and one of the leading title contenders, but not the others. I think it is relevant to make the point that Serbia's win over Germany was not a shock. On the contrary, it was the result of an excellent tactical approach and taking advantage of a particular in-game situation in the shape of Miroslav Klose's dismissal. The Serbians were able to profit from that incident and secure a deserved victory.
This is a special Germany team, one that differs from the side that I came up against when coaching Costa Rica in the Opening Match of the last FIFA World Cup. And though some of the same players are still there, that side was more direct, played with a lot of intensity and used to try and find the quickest route to goal. The one we are seeing here, on the other hand, uses more combination play and short passes, and they do a great job. But yesterday they were not able to get over the psychological blow of having a man sent off.
The final result proves once more that there will be no easy opponents at this tournament. I experienced something similar at first hand at Italy 1990. Not many people knew just how good Costa Rica were and we managed to beat Scotland and Sweden and reach the Round of 16. Back then we deserved to be there, we had a quality side and we had put together a good qualifying campaign. This is the case with the national sides here in South Africa too, and Serbia are a good example of that. If any teams have not realised this then they are going to have a tough time making it through to the next round.