It is time. It is now. South Africa – Mexico. The beginning of the best month of the the year, the beginning of the first World Cup in Africa. I’m headed to Puma City for the opener, which will be a blast, so put aside your soapboxes for a moment, folks, and let’s hear a hearty cheer for the Beautiful Game. I’m sporting El Tri’s jersey and rooting for South Africa. That is what the World Cup is all about.


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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Colby
    June 11, 2010

    Ramzi was so right. “I smell a Hector post coming on.” Not only do you have great ideas, you are also psychic. 🙂

    I think I just received one of the largest Hectorings known to mankind. 4 consecutive posts.

  2. lovelymofo
    June 11, 2010

    Yay so excited! Wearing my Mexico jersey and hope they kick South Africa’s ASS!

  3. ElShowDeJason
    June 11, 2010

    Yeah, I’m doing something weird Isaiah, I’m rocking my Mexico Jersey, and rooting for Mexico…

    Let’s set a good pace!
    If we can’t beat South Africa, we really shouldn’t have too much hope… So lets get it done 🙂

  4. Corrine
    June 11, 2010

    i don’t know if this will work outside of canada but here’s a cam that is focusing purely on rafa marquez, like that 21st century portrait zidane movie but MEXICAN


    • lovelymofo
      June 11, 2010

      DAMN! And I missed using it. That would have been awesome.

  5. JC
    June 11, 2010

    Fuck!! any bloggers watching the matches thru the Al jazeera card??

  6. Cule
    June 11, 2010

    JC, YES! FFS! You took the words out of my mouth.

  7. Cule
    June 11, 2010

    They were bragging about showing the math on 4 or 5 different channels but look now! FAIL!

  8. Cule
    June 11, 2010

    JC, switch to the WC channel that one doesn’t cut off.

    • JC
      June 11, 2010

      Are you on nilesat or arabsat? i swear this Jazeera guys have pissed me off.

      • Cule
        June 11, 2010

        Nilesat, and it turns out the WC channel does cut off…I know how you feel…We paid good money for this, better not happen again.

  9. barca96
    June 11, 2010

    damn it.south africa scored against the run of play

  10. barca96
    June 11, 2010

    isaiah, you’re an American but supporting Mexico?
    that’s really strange since mexico and usa are enemies in footballing world.

    btw, everytime i see dos santos play for mexico, it makes me regret that he left us

    • ElShowDeJason
      June 11, 2010

      there are no enemies in soccer, only opponents, or in this case Rivals.

      except the EE, they are enemies.

  11. Vj
    June 11, 2010


  12. vicsoc8
    June 11, 2010

    South Africa should have won right there

  13. lovelymofo
    June 11, 2010

    So, I think Aguirre’s line up is what kept Mexico from winning. El Conejo is our number one keeper? No Magallon? Is he injured or something? Not starting Chicharito or Guardado? Give me a fucking break. I would edit out the cursing, but come on!

    And as always, Rafa needs to rescue the team with a bit of class. You know we have issues with the front line when he’s our lone scorer.

    Bright spots, apart from Rafa, were Gio and Guardado.

    • ElShowDeJason
      June 11, 2010


      Perez and Osorio starting baffle me. And i personally wouldn’t start Vela…

    • vicsoc8
      June 11, 2010

      I only saw the second half, but South Africa looked solid in that half. I heard the first half was a massacre, but I can’t comment on that.

      Honestly, I think people have been underrating South Africa’s chance. Eight years ago no one thought the home nations would get out of their group, but there is something about playing in front of your home nation that lifts the players. This draw will give them a lot of momentum moving into their other two games.

      This is going to be a very tightly contested group, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team pass through with only 5 points.

  14. ElShowDeJason
    June 11, 2010

    Mexico was way to self-impressed with itself and it’s possesion based dominance that it couldn’t be bothered to put away the few good chances that this dominance produced.
    Mexico also displayed shit-tastic ability to defend a speedy break away.
    I didn’t like the selection of the starting 11.
    Aguilar was good, but Franco is clearly not good at heading, and once we put in Chicharito, who is, we never gave him and good crosses.
    Can anyone justify Vela starting? is it just because he plays for Arsenal?
    I’d rather Pablo Barrera, Andres Guardado.

      • lovelymofo
        June 11, 2010

        Right? I was baffled by the line up. BAFFLED. I just don’t even understand. Seriously, is Magallon injured? What is Franco doing in there? Why not start Chicharito?

        • ElShowDeJason
          June 11, 2010

          well, Maza is a defininte starter in the back, but Osorio??? when we have Marquez, Magallon, and Salcido who could play there instead??? Osorio is a RB anyways, and not a good one at that.
          I’d rather have Magallon start than Osorio, especially against France and Uruguay who will hit their counters better than S. Africa.

  15. Euler
    June 11, 2010

    This was a very symmetric match. Mexico dominated the first half and had a goal incorrectly taken away from them on a bad penalty call. South Africa was better in the second half and likely should have had a penalty shot awarded.

    Mexico today was a good example of a how a team that depends on possession can become very vulnerable to the counter if they don’t defend effectively as a team, particular through participation from the attacking players.

    Mexico had 65% of the possession. But in the second half S. Africa had much of the more dangerous possession. When Mexico was dispossessed of the ball they didn’t effectively close S. Africa out and gave them too much time to initiate effective counters.

    It exposed the relatively high defensive line they were playing and the limited pace of the Mexican defenders and wing players. S. Africa isn’t a particularly skilled technical team and for them to counter as effectively as they did isn’t a good sign for Mexico. This is a particular concern due to the way Rafa is allowed to step up from the back three into the center part of the pitch.

    Just as important tactically, was how playing 3 in the back can become very vulnerable to teams that have pace wings. S. Africa’s wide players became particularly dangerous due to Mexico’s tactical arrangement in the back without traditional full backs. Salcido and Aguilar didn’t have the pace to get back and support the three defenders, particularly in the initial moments when S. Africa would gain possession from Mexico.

    • Miguel
      June 11, 2010

      that goal wsa clearly not offside. mexico didn’t play well enough to win, but they should have. south africa played great one touch football & mexico didn’t.

      time to sober up before work in a few hours…or not.

      bar i went to was off the hook! the springbok! really cool south africans bbqing there. more bartenders would have been nice, but who wants to work @6 in the morning?

    • Euler
      June 11, 2010

      Correction to the beginning of my post – just saw a replay and Vela was in fact offside on that goal disallowed to Mexico. Trying to work and watch at the same time with the sound off!

      • Miguel
        June 11, 2010

        i watched it again, too. you’re right. the goal keeper lunged forward & there was only one defender in front of goal.

        still pissed.

      • El Tel
        June 11, 2010

        Yep, it’s unusual, but the keeper was ahead of the attacking player. I was surprised that on ESPN Efan Ekoku saw “nothing wrong with it” on the replay and that Martin Tyler didn’t voice a correction until the second half had got under way. Still, I like their commentary, and it almost gets the horror of Marcelo Balboa’s 2006 booth work and Lalas’s current ‘analysis’ out my head.

          • Luke
            June 11, 2010

            That goal was offside by the most base law of the game really. 2 players must be behind the pass, it can be any two players.

          • Ryan
            June 12, 2010

            VV has treated us to similar situations where he rushes the ball and in doing so puts the attacker offside. Great call from the ref.

  16. Eklavya
    June 11, 2010

    This was the 1st time I saw Gio Dos Santos play. Easily Mexico’s best player! He has one hell of a shot and dribbles very well! Marquez had one HORRIBLE give away (I was waiting for it, sadly) and SA almost scored on it. Franco guy was also good at the start then faded away.

    SA didn’t play good at all until their goal which brought life to them. Nice celebration 🙂 They almost won at the last minute when they touched the post. Tashabala guy is awesome!

    I suppose it’s an even score because both teams deserved to win in their respective halves.

  17. Eklavya
    June 11, 2010

    Also, Mexico’s goalie kept doing weird things! Where is Ochoa?

  18. Miguel
    June 11, 2010


  19. Lev
    June 12, 2010

    “there are no enemies in soccer, only opponents, or in this case Rivals.

    except the EE, they are enemies.”

    lol, don’t forget the Germans.

    Was at work for today’s games, so I only managed to follow parts of the game. Disappointed SA didn’t manage to hang on to their lead. The World Cup would have started of with a tremendous roar, for real. Also cause I predicted it would be 1-0 🙁

    At least I got France – Uruguay right, 0-0- That one was easy for some reason, only later I found out that those countries haven’t scored against each other for 25 yrs now (though I don’t know how many times they have played each other).

    I will pass on South Korea against Greece (2-0) at 7h30 tmw morning and opt to fully enjoy Argentina – Nigeria and USA – England, two games I find utterly impossible to predict. 1-1 and 1-3, say I.

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