World Cup Review #1: 6/11-6/13

It is I, Luke. Still guiding you through all this slog. Today’s review is brought to you by horrifically low-scoring affairs (except in Germany, where it is being produced by sheer, utter, annihilation). Anyway, let’s get to the recaps, what the games mean, and what all of you think. Also, please don’t forget to check out Isaiah’s post about the Barcelona presidential elections.


Group A

South Africa v. Mexico: Well this one was a tale of two halves, with Mexico dominating possession in the first and missing on a number of good chances that South Africa left open. Vela’s goal was rightfully disallowed and ESPN should be ashamed for stating otherwise in the first half. Anyway, in the second half we saw a wonderful goal to take SA into the lead 1-0 before Barcelona’s Rafa Marquez equalized for Mexico late into the game. All in all, a fairly exciting opener. South Africa 1, Mexico 1.

Uruguay v. France: Uruguay was playing for the tie or a squeaker goal the entire game, which made for some interesting play throughout. It’s not that this was a bad game per say, it was just, um… not good? France looked decent in spurts and then died a slow death, missing whatever chances were there, while Forlan looked the part the entire game but just could not break through. The best chance was wasted by Sidney Govou early on. A result Uruguay will like but France should have done better. They should install Kevin as a manager over Domenech. Uruguay 0, France 0

Mexico: 1 pt, GS 1, GD 0
South Africa: 1 pt, GS 1, GD 0
France: 1 pt, GS 0, GD 0
Uruguay: 1 pt, GS 0, GD 0

Group B

Argentina v. Nigeria: Messi was good, but Vincent Enyeama was better. The Nigerian keeper was easily the man of the match, keeping this from being a 5-0 rout. Heinze scored early on for Argentina and the albiceleste provided most of the pressure for the rest of the match until Obfemi Martins narrowly missed the net late in the second half. Argentina would have liked to have raised the goal difference, but a win is a win and Maradona must take it. Also, no one should criticize Lionel who played excellently throughout. Argentina’s back line however, left something to be desired with acres of space opening up at times. Argentina 1, Nigeria 0

South Korea v. Greece: Ugh. I’m not right a lot, but damn is Greece bad. After South Korea’s first goal from Lee Jung-Soo in the 7th, the only drama left was to determine if any of Greece’s players would start fist fights with one another and where this ranked on the “worst things to happen to Greece this year” list (I voted first). South Korea was out and running and were hands down the best side while Greece looked to park the bus, but could not do that effectively. Park Ji-Sung added a late goal to give the better half of Korea the edge in the group. South Korea 2, Greece 0

South Korea: 3 pts, GS 2, GD 2
Argentina: 3 pts, GS 1, GD 1
Nigeria: 0 pt, GS 0, GD -1
Greece: 0 pt, GS 0, GD -2

Group C

England v. United States: Holy wow. England come out with a bang, going up 1-0 on a Gerrard goal and an absolutely horrendous defensive showing by the Americans. After that the US had the better of the chances through the match until Clint Dempsey put a decent shot on frame and Robert Green made himself a household name with the worst bobble of the World Cup. Normally I defend a keeper to the death, but I was pulled in high school for miscues like that. Yeesh. The United States should have won if not for the post saving Green’s ass on a Jozy Altidore shot in the second half. Tim Howard was the MOTM and held the tie despite positive efforts from the English attack. England 1, US 1

Get yours now!
Slovenia v. Algeria: A thoroughly boring affair made even stranger by the awful goalkeeping for Algerian leading to Robert Koren’s 78th minute goal. The match was made better though by the Slovenian kits, which they apparently bummed off a Denver semi-pro team before the game (disclosure, I already bought two). Anyway, the teams were nervous but Slovenia eventually pulled it out, taking their first World Cup win ever and seizing control of the group. Slovenia 1, Algeria 0

Slovenia: 3 pts, GS 1, GD 1
England: 1 pt, GS 1, GD 0
United States: 1 pt, GS 1 GD 0
Algeria: 0 pt, GS 0, GD -1

Group D

Ghana v. Serbia: The Black Stars get a big win after a horrific hand ball in an exciting match. Serbia had some good chances but Ghana looked the better squad, although their shooting was subpar throughout. Ghana’s penalty was deserved and well taken, although Serbia’s vaunted defense did its job for the most part. The first win for an African nation on African soil in the World Cup, congratulations. Ghana 1, Serbia 0

Germany v. Australia: Wow. Apparently I had the Germans pegged all wrong because this was absolute masterclass and the best performance thus far in the tournament. Podolski used his assassin’s cannon of a leg to end it early on and the rest of the goals were just salt in the wound. Australia looked bad and might have buried themselves without a doubt when Cahill was handed what was, in my opinion, a harsh red. Either way, it did not affect the outcome as the Germans took a stranglehold in the group and should be giving a scare to the rest of Group D and whoever finished second in Group C. Germany 4, Australia 0

Germany: 3 pts, GS 4, GD 4
Ghana: 3 pts, GS 1, GD 1
Serbia: 0 pt, GS 0, GD -1
Australia: 0 pt, GS 0, GD -4

We will have more this week from the World Cup, the elections, and other such things.

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  1. ooga aga
    June 13, 2010

    a team of my gramma and her bridge club would have looked good against australia.

    i just wanted to say that for fun. i didnt even watch the match.

  2. Jnice
    June 13, 2010

    Nice post. Ghana FTW!

    Can’t wait for the Netherlands match tomorrow. Hope van der Wiel impresses.

    I’m going to repost this because it is so funny. Iniesta trying to play the vuvuzela= FAIL


    • vicsoc8
      June 13, 2010

      I’m so happy it is in the morning so I don’t have to pretend to work while I’m watching it.

  3. Kxevin
    June 13, 2010

    May I just say that, even at 720 instead of 1080, the hi-def feed is pretty damned magical-looking for World Cup. It’s just been glorious.

    And the Nike “Charlie Brown” shirt just cracks me up every time I see it.

    • Karo
      June 13, 2010

      isn’t 720p better for watching soccer than 1080i? I know 1080p is the top but I don’t think anyone broadcasts it in 1080p…anyone had the chance to see any of the games in 3D?? how does it look?

  4. Ramzi
    June 13, 2010

    Colby, I usually do not paste a comment I make on previous post, but you asked an important question in the previous post and I gave my opinion about it.

  5. Luke, this was a really really well written summary, I appreciate it so much. If someone needed a quick 5 min read about what has happened so far in the WC, all they would need to do would be read this, tremendous man. And ups to Kev and Isaiah for choosing you to be the man with the South African plan!!!

  6. Bundy
    June 13, 2010

    Luke TBH, you could say Greece was terrible, but I think they are actually not as bad as they were against South Korea, First things first, two of Greece’s best CBs didnt even play a minute in the game, and the other main CB was injured. So I think Otto was mostly to blame for the poor performance, he took a risk and didnt start our two main CBs maybe for reasons that the Korean forwards were too quick. Instead his decision fell flat on his face after the first goal and well Greece’s defence was not synchronized or good enough to handle being 1-0 down Because SK’s coach was tactically perfect that day.

    • greece monkey
      June 14, 2010

      a full-strength greece team is a joy to watch. a great footballing side. not.

    • Luke
      June 14, 2010

      Agree to disagree. But I like the analysis.

  7. Luke
    June 14, 2010

    In other news, Netherlands v. Denmark starting up now. The Dutch look glorious in their orange kits, seriously, I love these things. Denmark have their full side available, but I think Holland are going to make a mockery of this one early one.

    van der Weil starting on the right wing and Von Bronckworst, former Barcelona player, gets the start at captain as usual.

    • Ryan
      June 14, 2010

      0-0 at the half. Kinda cool watching the Arsenal strikers face off against each other.

  8. vicsoc8
    June 14, 2010

    Netherlands Denmark lackluster so far, and honestly the Danes have probably had the better chances.

    Van der Vaart is a serious step down from Robben

    • Dutchie
      June 14, 2010

      You do know that VDV and Robben are not even close to being the same type of players right ? he is not on to play Robben’s role but lets not let little things such as common sense get in the way

      • Ryan
        June 14, 2010

        They both have the EE taint on ’em tho.

      • vicsoc8
        June 14, 2010

        Sorry, but just all around he is a step down, the Dutch’s tactical system suffers because the role Van der Vaart plays doesn’t fit as well with the role the other three forward dutch players play.

        • vicsoc8
          June 14, 2010

          but let’s not let little things like common courtesy get in the way

        • Dutchie
          June 14, 2010

          i agree
          Well Elia is on now HE is more of a Robben type player 🙂

          • Dutchie
            June 14, 2010

            and so far common sense hasnt gotten in the way so no worries there 😉

          • vicsoc8
            June 14, 2010

            I should’ve clarified in my original statement. I think Van der Vaart is a good player, he just doesn’t fit well tactically in Robben’s place. He’d be better suited playing Sneijder’s role I think.

  9. Kari
    June 14, 2010

    Nooooooooo! I woke up late and missed most of this Netherlands-Denmark match 🙁

    Oooh! Sneijder off the bar!

  10. Kari
    June 14, 2010


    I’ve been impressed with Elia in the short time he’s been on!

  11. vicsoc8
    June 14, 2010

    GOAL! Really good to see all the Dutch players celebrating together, that’s the sort of goal that might have created resentment in past Dutch squads.

  12. Kari
    June 14, 2010

    How was van der Wiel guys? Good, bad, average, or needs to play more?

    • vicsoc8
      June 14, 2010

      He had a solid, if unspectacular game. He made some good runs forward but his teammates didn’t pick him out most of the time. Looked pretty solid at the back.

  13. Dutchie
    June 14, 2010

    yea thats true Visco , another problem is that when both he and Sneijder are on the pitch at the same time they tend to get in each other’s way as they both like to pull the strings from the center
    so you’re right in saying that the team doesnt look as good when robben is not playing
    perhaps Van Marwijk should make the two take turns

  14. vicsoc8
    June 14, 2010

    Ruud Gullit with incisive tactical commentary on ESPN. I almost fell over I’m so unused to these commentators saying anything interesting.

  15. Bill
    June 14, 2010

    Very good summary luke. I feel sorry for the england keeper. To make a mistake like that when the whole world is watching, especially when its their first impression of you is tragic.

    The dutch definately need robben. Elia was good in that he made them more threatening. But the vuvuzelas must really be disrupting team communications. lets see the next games now

  16. Kari
    June 14, 2010

    Ex-Barca alert:

    Samuel Eto’o and Cameron are set to take on Japan in a couple of minutes. Roger Milla and Eto’o are having a public feud that’s the focal point of this match. Apparently Milla criticized Eto’o before the WC and then Eto’o responded angrily saying he wondered if he should play for his country and all that kinda stuff.

    Ah, Eto’o and his short temper. Good times 😀

    Japan is a solid team, so I think it’ll be an interesting match.

    • June 14, 2010

      i bet milla wasn’t aware that etoo bought all his team mates expensive watches priced at 29k pound each after they qualified.
      or perhaps milla is just mad at etoo for not getting him one.

  17. June 14, 2010

    elia looks far more promising than di maria based from their respective 1st matches. but then again, di maria was played out of position.
    no wonder my friends back in holland has been raving about Elia. he looks like a street footballer.

  18. June 14, 2010

    i read that alves had a flare up with the beast,, not the beast wrestler but the football player, during training.
    what’s up with these brazilians? they are so daring. last time it was
    robinho vs gravesen and now
    lves vs
    funny match ups.

    • Jnice
      June 14, 2010

      It wasn’t that serious. Baptista went to shoot the ball and Dani was behind him and kind of got caught up with his leg. Baptista felt he was fouled and Dani tried to explain to him why it wasn’t intentional.

      Here is the video: *

  19. Ramzi
    June 14, 2010

    It makes me feel sick that a player gets selected to play in the world cup (The best exhibition around the globe)and suffer lack of motivation to play!

    Talking about Cameron performance.
    Just put me there instead! At least i will make the runs before stepping on my shoe tie and make myself a laugh before I making another attempt again and again…

    Breaking news: Italy-Paraguay will not be played today!

  20. Ramzi
    June 14, 2010

    Alright, the TV reporter announced now that the security allowed them and the fans to get into the stadium now.

    So the game will be played on time.

  21. Bill
    June 14, 2010

    Haha@kari. I have always thought Eto’o has extremely terrible PR skills. Plus he is amazingly thin skinned for a professional athlete. Of course players feel hurt when former stars criticize them (recently, urlacher vs gail sayers) but to go as far as to threaten to quit…is a bit much. He doesn’t understand that sometimes how you say things reveals more about you than what you are trying to say about an issue.

    From the game, i’m beginning to be very impressed at how well organised the asian teams are. How Japan defended and moved the ball revealed a very well drilled team, so was south korea. Cameroun is a very solid team with pace, skill and industry, but lack ideas.

  22. Stephen
    June 14, 2010

    Cameroon vs Japan, was physically painful to watch. I was so proud of the African teams, until this game took place.
    Hoping for some Ivory Coast-ness to bring those African teams back to lfie in my book !
    And wednesday is taking WAAYYYY to long to get here.

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