Written By Justin on Saturday, June 14, 2008 | 10:37:00 PM
For all the fears that the new ball would lead to goalkeeper errors, it hasn't happened yet. Oh, there have been a few soft goals, but none down to the erratic flight of the ball.
On the positive side of things, there's Edwin Van der Sar, who has looked very sharp and composed through the Netherlands' first two games. Despite the lopsided scorelines, Slim Ed has had plenty of work to do, and has done it well. Sharp-eyed observers noticed his level dropped off slightly towards the end of grueling Premier League campaigns in each of the last two seasons, but lifting the Champions League trophy has perhaps inspired the tall Dutchman to claim one of the few major trophies he has not already won.
On the other side of the coin, spare a thought for Gregory Coupet, who has been made (unjustly) to wait until now, at age 35, to represent France at a major international tournament. Through two games, it hasn't gone particularly well, as a French side with chemistry problems (Patrick Vieira and Patrice Evra had a spat in full view of TV cameras following their pummeling by the Dutch) has struggled mightily. Coupet was blamed by many for Arjen Robben's tight-angle goal which sealed the game. The French are still alive, but will need a heroic performance in their final game against Italy to avoid an early exit.
And what of Italy? Gigi Buffon's stunning penalty save from Adrian Mutu has kept them alive and kicking as well, tho, like France, they aren't earning many admirers with their football.