Watching Korea vs. Poland this morning - early this morning - was an eye-opener. Knowing that Poland breezed through qualifying, I figured that even though Korea was at home, Poland would come away with three points. What a mistake I made!
Before watching today's game I figured that the USA's two toughest games would be against Portugal and Poland. Watching Korea handle Poland with ease definitely changed my mind on that. Korea showed that they are going to be a big challenge to us as we try to get to the second round.
The atmosphere of that game was incredible. It seemed that every person in the crowd was wearing red, chanting and cheering the home team on. It really showed how Korea's performance was influenced by the beautiful stadium, fans and what has turned into an amazing home-field advantage. Korea dominated Poland in many areas, but what stood out were the Korean's superior intensity and work rate. In both areas they were superior to Poland, and I think those were the differences in the game.
Knowing that in every World Cup the home team has moved on to the second round really puts the U.S. in a pressure situation in all three first-round matches. And now that second match against Korea seems like it will be the biggest one.
After watching most of the Cup games to date, the biggest upset so far has without a doubt been Senegal's shock win over France in the Opening Game. That just shows that anything can happen at any time in this tournament. I think the biggest surprise at this World Cup is still to come, and the U.S. will raise some eyebrows on the world stage. Go USA!