World Cup Review #4: 6/20-6/22

Things are becoming a bit more clear now that the second round of games are clear and two groups have been settled out. A bunch of surprises too in the form of New Zealand and Ronaldo actually scoring for Portugal. France have completely fallen apart and the goals come pouring in. A ton of fun games to watch and I still want a Ray Domenech wig. Come on in, and let’s review, shall we?

Such a beautiful coif

Group F

Paraguay v. Slovakia: In what I termed the Group of Snore, it appears some life is coming out of it. Paraguay, despite being one of the least heralded squads in the World Cup are holding their own against the big boys and have an excellent shot of going through on top after punching Slovakia in the mouth. The Slovakians were slow off the ball and were made to pay for their mistakes and failed to capitalize when they possibly could, similar to their first game. Lucas Barrios played very well and this game was over in the first half. Paraguay 2, Slovakia 0

Italy v. New Zealand: No matter what squad Lippi is running out against the All Whites, they should never tie. New Zealand is not very good at all, but they will be damned if they are going to be pushed around. Shane Smeltz takes a ball off Cannavaro’s thigh and places it in the net to take the lead and the Kiwis were playing for the tie for 80 minutes. De Rossi drew a bum penalty that should have never been called that tied the holders at 1, but nothing else was to come from it. Both teams will rue chances that were missed, but the Kiwis should hold their heads high because they pulled off one of the most shocking World Cup results ever and, with a little luck next round, could advance.

Paraguay: 4 pts, GP 2, GS 3, GD 2
Italy: 2 pts, GP 2, GS 2, GD 0
New Zealand: 2 pts, GP 2, GS 2, GD 0
Slovakia: 1 pt, GP 2, GS 1, GD -1

Group G

Brazil v. Cote d’Ivoire: The Samba boys were boring against DPRK, so what does Fabiano do? Why, he scores a beautiful goal and gets away with 2 handballs, in the box, to score a second. Kaka improved as the night went on, providing a nice, if ridiculously slow pass that somehow missed 3 defenders for Elano to nestle in the net. After that things got interesting. Yaya “Jesus” Toure provided an excellent assist to Drogba to bring it to 3-1. Then Kaka drew a silly yellow, then there was fighting, and shoving, and diving, and Kaka drawing a second yellow to be sent off (to much delight), and leading to a host of bitching and whining about the whole thing. The verdict: Yaya played somewhat poorly, Brazil looked a little better, and the referee should be shipped home on a slow boat. Brazil took hold of the group, guaranteeing qualification, and the men in orange (normally) are looking at needing a ton of goals to get by. Brazil 3, Cote d’Ivoire 1

Portugal v. DPRK: The boys of the lower Iberian finally find an outlet for their frustrations and the first live game shown in North Korea in many years turns into a rout in the second half. Dear Leader took a few minutes off from talking on his invisible communicator and the Portuguese pile on 7. Ronaldo scored his first non penalty goal for the national team since 2008, although it was a dubious goal at best. This probably changes little for Portugal who are going through second in all likelihood, but DPRK is eliminated after this drubbing. They put up a good fight but changing tactics and moving their line up too far gave their opponents all they needed. Portugal 7, DPRK 0

Brazil: 6 pts, GP 2, GS 5, GD 3
Portugal: 4 pts, GP 2, GS 7, GD 7
Cote d’Ivoire: 1 pt, GP 2, GS 1, GD -2
DPRK: 0 pt, GP 2, GS 1, GD -8

Group H

Chile v. Switzerland: The Swiss got hit hard with a dubious red card in the first 30 minutes on Behrami for a phantom call and played their natural asses off until the 75th when Chile finally broke through, but not before the Swiss were able to set the record for longest consecutive shutout in the World Cup with 559 minutes. They truly deserved a better result but a lack of attacking oomph (until a 90th minute miss) caused problems and Chile’s tactics eventually broke them down. Sanchez had another solid game by MOTM should probably go to Swiss keeper Benaglio, who kept the neutrals in for as long as he could. This result keeps the group as wide open as possible, leaving everything to the final day.

There Will Be Blood
Spain v. Honduras: La Furia Roja decided they would actually show up this week and the chances were all one way from the get go. Spain lined up in a 4-3-3 with David Villa on the left and he was something. Easily the MOTM, scoring 2 goals, missing a penalty, and hitting the crossbar again. Torres was bad, Xavi was somewhat anonymous through the middle, although he looked better this week. And of course, Pique was bloodied in the lip and hit in the balls, hard. He played well as did Puyol, but Capdevila was garbage in the back. Honduras had a few spurts, but this one was over after the 17th. Spain now basically holds its future in its hands: beat Chile and so long as the Swiss don’t go crazy with goals and the Spanish go through first. Spain 2, Honduras 0

Chile: 6 pts, GP 2, GS 2, GD 2
Spain: 3 pts, GP 2, GS 2, GD 1
Switzerland: 3 pts, GP 2, GS 1, GD 0
Honduras: 0 pt, GP 2, GS 0, GD -3

Group A

France v. South Africa: There is very little else to be said about France. They have gone from a bad joke, to a good one, to an embarrassment, and everywhere in between. South Africa played very well in the first and were up two by the half, with Gourcuff sent off with a dubious red (home cooking eh?), and France going a man down. France had nothing until Malouda put one in to bring the Blues within 1, but even Tshabalala, with his amazing name, could not bring the hosts back. France did just enough to ruin South Africa’s chances (combined with Uruguay), similar to Ireland’s. Thus ends the sad run of France and the glorious run of South Africa, who become the first hosts to ever fail to qualify for the second round. France 1, South Africa 2

Uruguay v. Mexico: With only the seeding to play for, Uruguay came out firing, while Mexico were somewhat stifled. dos Santos was good in attack and Rafa Marquez stepped up in defense but it was not enough as Suarez scored in the first half and everything was settled from then on. Luckily for everyone, it was a competitive game where the sides were not playing for a draw, but for first. Uruguay were solid in defense and depending on the rest of the draw, the two-time champions may have a favorable run after qualifying. Mexico played well and Aguirre had them prepared well, bringing on the best players for the situation in the second half. Mexico qualify on superior goal differential over South Africa. Uruguay 1, Mexico 0

Uruguay: 7 pts, GP 3, GS 4, GD 4
Mexico: 4 pts, GP 3, GS 3, GD 1

South Africa: 4 pts, GP 3, GS 3, GD -2
France: 1 pt, GP 3, GS 1, GD -3

Group B

Argentina v. Greece: Seeing as the Economic Disasters got their 2 goals allowed by Olympus every century in the last game, this one looked to be a clinker, with Greece looking for a Nigeria win and a tie. The Albiceleste played well enough with Maradona trying a new formation in a 4-3-3 with Messi moving between both flanks and trying to create. The Grecians stifled Messi and the rest until the second half when the chances started to come for the Argentines. Milito played poorly but Kun made some decent moves and Di Maria did well replacing Maxi. Messi eventually hit the post and had another shot that Palermo put in on the rebound. Maradona has, to this point, managed well, and Messi has impressed, causing’s sometimes football fan Bill Simmons to quip: “Also: After watching Messi this year on Barca & now in the WC, I’m convinced he’s better at soccer than any U.S. pro athlete is at anything.” That’s all positive for Argentina. Greece had little in the way of attack and were out with the loss. Argentina 2, Greece 0

Nigeria v. South Korea: Woo, the Super Eagles are a confusing mess. They were highly potent in the offensive 3rd, opening up numerous chances that led to two goals, and should have led to 2 more. South Korea played well enough to tie and go through, but the Nigerians stole the show. Whether it was Yakubu somehow missing a 5 foot sitter with no keeper in front of him, then cooly slotting home a penalty, or squandering a number of good chances throughout the match, or Enyeama playing very well and then being beat on an easy free kick, the Nigerians were a sight to watch. Congratulations go to South Korea who did what they had to and qualified for the Round of 16 for the first time on foreign soil. Nigeria 2, South Korea 2

Argentina: 9 pts, GP 3, GS 7, GD 6
South Korea: 4 pts, GP 3, GS 5, GD -1

Greece: 3 pts, GP 3, GS 2, GD -3
Nigeria: 1 pt, GP 3, GS 3, GD -2

Round of 16 Fixtures:

A-1 Uruguay vs. B-2 South Korea: June 26, 10:00 am EST
B-1 Argentina vs. A-2 Mexico: June 27, 2:30 am EST

First Update
Second Update
Third Update

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  1. jd09
    June 23, 2010

    how about domenech refusing to shake pererria’s hand at the end of the game? classy.

    • Auld Super
      June 23, 2010

      Ya that domenech is like an advertisement for french arrogance and that confirmed it.

      They made us learn french in school, thank god I was too stoned to remember any of it.

      • Kxevin
        June 23, 2010

        That’s the ticket. To hell with visiting any French speaking countries and being able to get things done in the local language. That’ll show ’em!

  2. Eklavya
    June 23, 2010

    Alexis Sanchez is awesome! I didn’t know he was only 21 and 1m68!

  3. Euler
    June 23, 2010

    U.S. defense once again horrible early in a match. Djebbour gets clear easily inside the U.S. box and hits the top of the wood work one on one vs the keeper. Jay DeMerrit is horrible.

    Outside of that there have been 3-4 other defensive mistakes already.

    Algeria isn’t going to play the same conservative game they have in the prior two games. They are fielding an extra striker. That gives the U.S. a real opportunity to score and win the grounp but they are very vunerable to conceding poor goals with that defense.

  4. nik
    June 23, 2010

    is there any chance that these mata to barca rumours to be true?

  5. ballbeav
    June 23, 2010

    well nothing on the official site yet

  6. Euler
    June 23, 2010

    The most skilled distributor of the ball on the U.S. side may be the keeper Tim Howard.

  7. poipoi
    June 23, 2010

    oh my, oh my … I really hope Del Bosque is bluffing with all that doble pivote nonsense, when he says “xavi alonso is not a 4, he is not a defensive midfielder like busi is” and makes them play together sharing duties and leaving xavi hernandez alone. Compare Alonso to iniesta or cesc and see who are the offensive midfielders in the team, who can get a ball and run with it going past a defender. All xavi alonso does is move the ball, he’s one of the best at it but he has no moves whatsoever, he doesn’t even run with the ball ’cause he is a “tronco”, a piece of wood. I hope Vicente is bluffing, keeping some surprises and when we play a big team he shows the card he’s got under the sleeve, the biggest ace of them all the XAVINIESTA.

  8. Kxevin
    June 23, 2010

    Jesus, that was crazy. Howard makes the killer save then distributes, starting the break while the Algerians are still throwing up their hands in chagrin at the missed opportunity, and bango.

    Now we get to see who they play. If they’re lucky, it’s Ghana. If they aren’t, it’s Serbia or Germany.

    –The Mata rumors came from an odd source. Valencia are denying contact, but there are actual transfer fees and terms being bandied about (20m fee, 5-year deal). Mata has said what they all say, that he is just focussed on the World Cup. Valencia has said that nobody, including us, have contacted them for Mata. But recall that they denied contact about Villa too, then there he was in the Camp Nou.

    My view on Mata is that if that deal happens, the Ibrahimovic rumors are true, and he’s on the move after one season. Because Mata does what we were all expecting Villa to do, only differently and not as well from a scoreboard point of view.

    I also don’t like us becoming, from the standpoint of our attack, a little chunk of Valencia. They finished about 98,000 points behind us last season for a reason. So we bring in their left winger and striker to lead the line? To what effect? That shows a lot of confidence in Messi to augment and improve those around him, IMHO. Yes, we become more Spanish (only the deluded would ignore our two highest-profile deals being the deletion of an African and Swede from the roster), but do we actually become better?

    Mancini at Citeh is praising Ibrahimovic’s dirty bloomers, and Citeh is really the only club that can afford him. Question is does Ibrahimovic want to go without Champions League football, and what would Citeh do with Adebayor, who is, at this point, unsellable thanks to transfer fee+wages.

    Raiola is saying that if Ibrahimovic were to leave Barcelona at some unspecified point in an unspecified future, he would love to go to prove himself in the Premiership.

    • nik
      June 23, 2010

      just cant figure it out how mata-villa-messi is better than a villa-ibra-messi

      • Kxevin
        June 23, 2010

        I think it will be worse, nik, if the rumors are true. I repeat, Villa can’t lead the line for us.

        • Benj
          June 23, 2010

          Im not so sure Kev, with the right service, which he can get from barca but maybe not from Valencia, it could just work.

          Mata Im not so sure about… Seems like a very expensive sub.

          Still, strength in depth as they say.

    • Jnice
      June 23, 2010

      I think Ghana could give US just as much trouble as Serbia.

    • Kxevin
      June 23, 2010

      Algeria will argue that they deserved it, as well. Those are the breaks of the game. It’s what makes it such a joy, and such a heartbreaker.

      • Museum
        June 23, 2010

        I’d disagree with Algeria on that. They needed to win by two goals, right? Or at least they had to win. But they looked like they wanted a draw. They weren’t aggressive in attack whatsoever. I thought it was very strange. I guess it’s their M.O. though, their combined score in the tournament until Donovan’s goal was U.S./England/Slovenia 1 Algeria 0.

  9. Blow-Grenade
    June 23, 2010

    OMG!!! The US team are real fighters. I was shouting in my office when that goal was scored.

  10. Euler
    June 23, 2010

    Hopefully the Mata rumors are just that – rumors. Even from a purely cynical standpoint it simply doesn’t make a great deal of sense for Rosell to do.

    Mata is just not a big enough player to be the trophy move Rosell likely will want to put his stamp on the team. The most direct way Rosell can mark a transition away from the prior regime and do so in a way which will be popular at home is to buy Torres and sell Ibra.

    Perhaps Fabergas is enough of a name. But right now they can’t be sure of even acquiring him and the glamour of a striker is still unmatched.

    Let’s say they do that – acquire (not that it’s a good move or that I’m supporting it). If they had Torres there is no room at all for Mata as they already have Villa. With Torres in the fold Villa would still likely play on the LW as I don’t see Pep wanting to use a two striker formation. That would make it considerably more difficult for Barca to defend on the press and would just worsen their problems with width.

    Mata only makes sense if they are willing to have Mata-Villa-Messi. That just makes no sense at all. That would give a front line in which every player is 175 cm or shorter. It would also create far too much redundancy in the skill sets on the team.

    But those are football reasons. Cynically, Mata isn’t a big enough name, isn’t Catalan, and only makes getting a big name more complicated due to available positions and the money spent. I don’t see them spending 20M on Mata now before they know that they can’t get a bigger player.

    Were they to sell Ibra and bring in Mata to play LW – that would be a watershed moment in the club’s history, a very cynical, narrow minded one. Mata is a nice player but he’s far from world class. And on Barca he just gives them more of the same skill sets they already have. Even if they wanted to get rid of Ibra and let Villa lead the line there are many better players for them to get to play on the left than Mata. Mata’s not even remotely a first choice candidate.

    It would be a very concerning precedent for Rosell to set and would signal a very difficult period of time to come for the club were they to sell Ibra and buy Mata.

    That problem only gets worse if they then top that with Fabergas. More of the same just keeps getting worse.

    The notion that one can create the best club team in the world prioritizing players from one country smacks of fairytale thinking and utopian dreaming.

    • Museum
      June 23, 2010

      I hear you on the “utopian dreaming” point, but we have to remember that we have a system that is difficult to just step into and be effective immediately, at least for midfielders and forwards. Spanish national team players are appealing because they’re familiar with our players and the way we play, and so their learning curve is lower. Also, I think the best national teams would compete just fine with the best clubs, though maybe that’s a different debate.

  11. Ramzi
    June 23, 2010

    Poipoi I’ve been repeating that since two years: Xabi is not a DM. Spain are not even playing 2 Pivots (destroyers), but two players who complement each other and the tactical structure in front of them (Offense) and behind them with the fullbacks moving forward.

    Again, Xabi is NOT a DM. Never been. Never will.

    • poipoi
      June 23, 2010

      2 players who complement each other AND BOTH PLAY BEHIND XAVI HERNANDEZ… all they do is defend and “organizate” no offense no dribble no risk at all (well maybe busi is the only one taking risks but sure xabi is not) not two trequartistas like before just one ALL ALONE and two not-so-skilled but tough mids in the back… so to me it is a subtle doble pivote, ok they are not both makeleles or anything but both are in the back unlike barça does with yaya or spain did with senna. Its a thing of 1 vs 2 period, a matter of intentions. no offense but he is a piece of wood has no waist and shouldnt play there in my opinion, Id like to see the real offensive players like iniesta or cesc. if alonso is not an organizador then I dont know what he is, he is the most similar player Ive seen to guardiola only pass pass pass, if you have no moves you go to the back… as it always happens

      • poipoi
        June 23, 2010

        xabi cannot throw a wall “(lanzar una pared”), run up to receive the ball back and then run with the ball looking up for a killer pass to the 9. Well, that is what andres and cesc asre know for 😉 and what at least I ask from an of mid. I just dont want the best spanish team ever to fall short to its potential, it makes me so mad

  12. Ryan
    June 23, 2010

    Donovan!!! Whew, I was worried after the first goal was ruled offsides that maybe luck was just not on the Americans side, but they pulled it off! USA top the group, who would have thought?

    • Kxevin
      June 23, 2010

      I would have. It’s a shitty group, so why not have the U.S. top the group? I would have (and still will) give them a better shot at proceeding than England.

  13. Lou
    June 23, 2010

    Tried posting this above but it got caught in the spam filter because of the link.

    I’ve been reading ESPN’s Eduardo Alvarez’s blog on the Spanish national team. I really like is writing (though he is a Madrista): he is Spanish and has a very good understanding of the way the media works and the Spanish FA works so his articles are always very interesting.

    The picture he paints doesn’t look good: he questions the form of several players, most notably Xavi, and says that some of the Spanish players have already been complaining to journalists about some of Del Bosque’s decisions.


    On the Honduras match:

    “With 15 minutes to go, Puyol had to give a good old boll***ing to the rest of the team, reminding them that one or two goals more could make the difference on Friday. He got pretty much no reaction. Not good.”

    He also has another article where he comments about Del Bosque’s remarks at a press conference where he said that slump in the last 20 minutes of the Honduras game was due to certain players “saving their energy”, and how Spain need to regain their attitude and hunger that led them win Euro 2008.

    Hopefully Spain can rally and go on to do well. They certainly have no lack of leaders in the team: Casillas, Puyol, Reina, even Pique.

    • Kxevin
      June 23, 2010

      Call me selfish, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Spain go out early. Let’s get our lads to training camp fresh, hale and hearty. Yes, they would be bummed, but Guardiola would get them over that pretty quickly.

  14. theMaginator
    June 23, 2010

    Fisrt of all I think that if Rosell does screw things up it won’t be this new season. Because he is new and he knows that though he is prez Pep is the boss. So at least for now I think pep decides who comes and who goes. And I do believe pep wants a villa ibra messi front line.
    Second as much as Iike Yaya and I love the Yaya. Busquets is a good player and now that he will be our primary DM we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

  15. Euler
    June 23, 2010

    Bastian Schweinsteiger is a great footballer. He is one of the world’s elite holding midfielders. Perhaps one of the 5 best.

    There’s been rumors of him being somewhat unhappy about some issues at Bayern. I can’t see them selling him, but if he could be acquired, he would be phenomenal for Barca. One of the best possible holding midfielders they could get to replace Yaya.

    • MarioSilva (tutomate)
      June 23, 2010

      Don’t you find too inconsistent though as well as hot headed at times. I’ve checked him out quite often and find him to be good but when he has an off day he really has a bad one. I guess consistency comes with maturity and he really young.

      • Euler
        June 23, 2010

        I think that’s related to him still being young and having shouldered considerable responsibility while still maturing. He made his debut for Bayern in the champions league when he was 17 or 18, IIRC. Even now he’s only 25. Settling on a position was also a factor – holding midfield is his position – not the wing.

        But in terms of technical skill, touch, strength, pace and defensive skill he is really terrific. Very few players in the world have the combination attributes he has at that position.

        • MarioSilva (tutomate)
          June 23, 2010

          Your right that is what I meant by maturity. But he really isn’t a box to box midfielder in YAYA’s mold, not that he should be. Personally I think that we need a harder man but can’t think of anyone except Ivory Coast’s number 19.

          Do you think though that he could give the team something different than what Iniesta, Busquets, Xavi, Cesc, and Keita bring to the table.

          If only we could make Keita 5 years younger.

          • Euler
            June 23, 2010

            I do think Schweinsteiger would give them something very different. Since moving to the holding midfield position he’s become a very different player and come into his own. He is a top notch defensive player. He tackles very well and dispossess opponents skillfully. He’s very physical but not thoughtlessly rough.

            A number of holding players can do those things. But what I particularly like about Schweinsteiger is that he has very good touch and is very good with the ball at this feet. His experience as an attacking player in the past shows through when he has the ball. That’s why even though he isn’t a true box to box guy it’s not as much of a concern because he has very good ball skills. He’s a much stronger, more physical defender than anyone Barca will have once Yaya leaves.

  16. jordi™
    June 23, 2010

    WTF , i checked the wimbledon scores and isner mahut is 54-54 in the 5th.I thought i read wrong.Wow.Talk about endurance.

    • Kxevin
      June 23, 2010

      Suspended for darkness at 59-all. Wow.

  17. Euler
    June 23, 2010

    Simply brilliant touch and strike by Ozil.

    Germany has looked tight and their inexperience was showing through this match.

    With Klose unavailable and Cacau, Mueller and Podolski playing poorly in attack Ozil puts home the first score.

    Ozil has one year remaining on his contract and will undoubtedly be sold this summer. He is a player clubs are going to regret not acquiring.

    • Helge
      June 24, 2010

      But aside from his goal, he was rather poor yesterday. First touch was off, passing wasn’t accurate enough either, he blew a 100% chance… I feel that he gets hyped too much from the international press.
      He wasn’t the outstanding player of Werder Bremen either. Take it a bit slower on him, he’s had one brilliant match against Australia, one so-so against Serbia and a pretty bad one against Ghana.

  18. Dave
    June 23, 2010

    Interesting defence of the French Kevin-might I explore a few points further.
    First of all this is not anti-French sentiment- people have not just picked on the French national team for no reason-they have created this themselves and deserve everthing they get.

    1 ‘Real Frenchmen’- before anyone decides to get on their high horse, I would like to explain that this has nothing to do with the country they were born in or skin colour. It solely means mentality. Ramzi offered an interesting replay nonetheless

    “time to hire real Frenchmen”
    Like Platini, Zidan, Turam, Viera, Lizzarazu (or however you write it )…
    Yea, I know what you mean!
    Now firstly I think its laughable to even consider comparing(referencing) what France brought to the 2010 world Cup with France’s Golden generation.
    The difference was that the people mentioned by Ramzi WERE PROUD TO PLAY FOR THEIR COUNTRY as evidenced in their effort on the field and respect off it(regardless what the manager was like)
    Instead now France are led by a group of spoilt wingeing mercenaries.
    If I was French, I would be ashamed at the conduct of those individuals giving no passion or effort.
    Gallas suddenly as mentioned in the Guardian starts singing the French Anthem after 80 something caps- a big baby everywhere hes been.
    Im glad you mentioned Malouda Kevin as a poster boy of effort-is this
    the same fella who started the trouble before even the plane took off.
    He might as well be playing with Guyana. To come to another country and try to dictate what way things are done-unbelievable. He should spend less time on his hair

    2 Oh yes the manager I hear you say- yes he’s clueless but what Anelka said was completely out of order and far too personal but thats ‘Le Sulk. Domenech conduct after the match summed up his teams attitude.Classless. Blaming the manager no longer holds strength. This player power led by a couple of imbeciles who came from nothing get paid huge salaries has gone too far. For starters there was a crisis of leadership-even as slow as viera was he was badly needed.
    Gallas- nasty individual
    Evra- hasn’t got it
    Henry- well most people remarked that he was more a suffocating influence at arsenal as captain. Make what you will.

    3“It serves them right because of the handball.”
    Fair enough you may say its Fifa’s fault etc they’ll take advantage of anything they can get but the arrogance shown by Evra when he said the only replay they would be playing was on the playstation-was low.
    Thankfully Patrice will have plenty of time to play his beloved playstaion now.
    The killer for me is to take a place and not show any effort.I just hope we never this again whether it involves the French or anyone else

    • Kxevin
      June 23, 2010

      I think that we agree on the shamefulness of it all, Dave. It makes me want to start crying every time I think about it. It’s difficult to think of a lower point for any national football side in World Cup lore. But in the circumstances, I am not sure that it would not have happened (pardon the double negative), no matter who the players were. Funniest for me is that Benzema was left home because he was a bad locker room influence.

      I don’t think it’s anti-French. My sole appeal is for not being kicked while down. It’s sufficiently awful (Evra, in post-match comments, regrets the whole thing …. I rather imagine that all the players do right now) that it can stand on its own. It’s like the 30+mph crash I recently had. No matter what anyone says to me, the fact that I racked up my very own self by being stupid on the bike is sufficient injury, ladled on atop the insult.

  19. Jnice
    June 23, 2010

    Ghana through to face the US! I LOVE YOU ALL!!

    • ajani
      June 23, 2010

      USA vs Ghana = my heart is torn!

      but I am SO GLAD these teams went through <3

  20. Kari
    June 23, 2010

    What a goal by Ozil! Amazing player, that guy. Anyway, Germany top Group B and set up a date against England (hoo boy!)

    Ghana, the first African team to go through! 😀 😀 😀 Congrats!!! Are you going to give up candy, Jnice (don’t do it! you won’t last 😛 ) ? Haha. Looks like it’s the US for you guys.

    • Jnice
      June 23, 2010

      Thanks! And yeah I have to stick to to my word and give up the candy! Haha.

  21. Euler
    June 23, 2010

    Congrats to Ghana. Very happy to see them go through. They are a very solid squad. Nice combination of tactical discipline and defensive solidity with pace in attack. They played an exceptional first half.

    If they had played like this against Australia they would have won the group and gone through easily. They seemed to get overwhelmed by having the man advantage against the Aussies and lost their tactical coherence in attack. It was impressive to see them rebound and look composed again today.

    Serbia – another poor international performance for them. They needed to win and instead they conceded two goals, and that despite their team being built around their backline.

    • Jnice
      June 23, 2010

      Thanks. I think we will be fine against the US as long as we finish our chances. We need someone to put the ball in the back of the net!

  22. Jose
    June 23, 2010

    USA, Ghana, South Korea, Uruguay… one of them will make the semifinals (saving us from another European final four)!

    Now Argentina, Germany, Mexico and England? One of them will reach the semis alright… but possibly having to face Spain. The bottom half of the knockouts looks to be the most exciting!!

  23. Ramzi
    June 23, 2010

    Dave, I respond to your comment here rather than up so there is a better chance you read it before getting Hectored.

    1) General term: We all came to our current countries from somewhere else once upon a time. All without exceptions regardless of how rooted we think we are in its soil. Nothing make someone whose family moved to a country 200 years ago more a country man than someone whose been there since 150 years. Its the same between hundreds and thousands. “True french” or “true anything” has nothing to do with your decencies. Some of the most “patriotic” people were behind the most tragic crimes toward their countries.

    2) I am not well informed about the origins of every french citizen, so I dont know about the purity of neither the FFF members blood nor the coach’s. But I expect them to be in the “True french” category. I don’t think they served better than the players. In fact they are behind all the mess after all. Its safe to say that Abidal is more french than Catalan. The fact that he doesnt behave at Barcelona the same as he -supposedly- did in the national team tells a lot. So yea, there is some truth in “true french who feel proud wearing the shirt”. But linking it to the players coming from colonies is absurd to say the list. In every segment of french community there are true and disgraceful citizens. The same as in every country. So put that “origin impact” aside, its not valid.

    3) I just cant stand the way people judge immigrants in general. Any of the so called “great nations” nowadays reached this level of development depending on the wealth of the colonies. Without exception, each and every nation. Including France and Uk from the past till new colonizations of US and co nowadays. I cant understand why someone from a certain ex-or-current colony who initially left his original country after its wealth (and future for generations) being systematically rubbed and the sensitive balance of its community been messed up (causing civil wars most often) for the favor of an empirical power has to prove day in day out he is more patriotic than the original citizens in the hosting nation. Or else he doesn’t worth the generosity of the hosting countries who are giving him back 1% of whats his in the first place. He owes nothing to anyone and he has nothing to prove. Live with it.

    Lets end this with a smile:


    • Ramzi
      June 23, 2010

      And its not just directed to your comment as this is the trend nowadays. In fact in my previous comment I made sure not to clearly point on the Colony Vs nationalist issue. But remarks like:

      “To come to another country and try to dictate what way things are done-unbelievable.” are unnecessary and invalid. As, again, it has nothing to do with that. He is on the same level in the right and wrong as any french. Is it wrong to dictate things the way some players did? True. But because it is wrong. Not because they came from whatever origins, as some of the players are “true french” and behaved the same. Thats where the moment “colonies and true french” phrases are mentioned, the whole idea lose its rightfulness and direction.

      • Luna
        June 23, 2010

        Spot on Ramzi!

        To Dave how does singing a national anthem of any given country represent how X nation you are? The term mercenaries is really loaded, and I think you intended it that way, please correct me if I am wrong. The representation of the French team, and folks reaction to it, is splitting wide open the facade on deeply entrenched histories of colonialism. Look up France/postcolonialism to get an idea of the many layers such relationships create, between metropole and colony, the movements that are created, cemented, then hidden away in projects, sky high buildings in suburbs and cities. Indeed the global impact of colonialism means that countries who might have never had colonies themselves are intimately tied with the human movement of these so-called former colonies, Les cités. As a nation we applaud the young gifted talent that hails from these places, but when they don’t behave just so, clearly it’s because they are from “there”. Too easy, and it’s a darn lie.

        And to add that much of what has gone on around the French team in the media in France (it’s actually a big focus of some media studies people) in the past and around this tournament, dissects the colony v nation dichotomy we see discussed without, it seems an understanding of this entirely complex ensembles of histories. But let’s favor a simple approach for the sake of length: it is the colony (i.e. black/and or Muslim) is always seen as other never truly french (i.e. white European/ non-Muslim), regardless of where they were born. There’s an attachment of savage, uncivilized, unrefined, vulgar etc. to the French team in a way that speaks to a construction of race (and religion) that is intimately tied to France’s role as colonizer. I have been watching the media treatment of France and I can’t help but SEE the layers and layers of what is being represented. How many of us have heard the term “thug” being thrown around to arouse particular images?

        google french national team thug and see what you find:


        some more:


        I’ll stop here. I hope we can take some interesting insights away, one of the most important, I think, is that this breakdown in the French team shines the light on the uneasy tensions, relationships that we live with in a global society, wherever we may be.

        • Dave
          June 24, 2010

          Firstly Ramzi and Luna I have clearly mentioned in my initial response that the term ‘Real Frenchmen’ has solely to do with mentality and standing up and being counted. AS intended and REPEATED it Has nothing to do with ethnic groups/skin colour or language.
          It is NOT MY arguments that are referencing race or religion.THIS HAS TO DO WITH SPOILT BRAT ATTITUDE NOT RACE, SO LEAVE THE RACE CARD IN THE DRAWER
          Please leave nauseating political correct sermons to the side.
          Quote from Ramzi
          linking it to the players coming from colonies is absurd to say the list.
          1Where was this done? Its a well known fact that Malouda threw a hissy fit.No argument-
          2 My mention of colonies has to do with the fact France has a population of close to 60mil and yet continues to rely on the sons of the colonies to win. This is not a slight on immigrants but a remark on how France got through by bringing in the ‘Artillery’
          3’So put that “origin impact” aside, its not valid.’ harsh dismissal considering YOU misread my post. This solely involves Race but not for me. For me it has to do with mentality. Are the players going to escape punishment from the authorities for fear they’ll shout racism?
          4 Luna ‘There’s an attachment of savage, uncivilized, unrefined, vulgar etc.- lets be colourblind and forget religion also for a moment- Im sure the ringleaders of this has disapproved those terms in their conduct savage(def not), uncivilized (no)unfefined (perhaps) Vulgar(Le Sulk certainly.)
          ‘5 has to prove day in day out he is more patriotic than the original citizens in the hosting nation’ more patriotic no, conduct himself in a manner that respects the nation of his birth or adoption-YES
          6 He owes nothing to anyone and he has nothing to prove. Live with it.- no he doesn’t but he must behave in a way that is acceptable when he represents his country black or white its the same.
          Furthermore it is the mark of pc decadence-to be unable to term a person a thug if he clearly acted like a thug. Sure it has connotations amongst French media but should have nothing to do with race. Has Anelka merited the term le Sulk or Gallas his usual paragon of virtue?(let me guess-thats racist)Has Ribery shown that he is not a whinger But again it is YOU that mentioned race.

          Finally the term mercernary or behaving in that fashion for me employs playing in a passive manner with no understanding or effort in the pride of the country.Clearly in the French case where we’ve come to see the likes of Zidane etc this becomes all the more remarkable. With the huge wages and other benefits these enjoy is it too much to ask for some effort whether genuine or not ?
          To be clear im glad its over, not that France are out but that we no longer have to listen to such childishness.

          • June 24, 2010

            Essentially, the French players were spoiled, rotten jackasses. I think that the complexity arises here in the notions of “Frenchness.” It speaks to a deeper issue that is related to the French, their nationalism and wrestling with the problems of unchecked immigration (as are many European countries).

            The French players let down the country, the Federation, the colors, the fans, you name it. But I don’t think that such a think makes them any more or less French. Just much more jackass. I rather imagine that they were and are as patriotic as can be. You wouldn’t sign on to potentially risk your professional career by playing World Cup if you weren’t.

            The simple problem is that a stupid team rebellion grew into something significantly more unfortunate. John Terry tried one, but screwed it up and nothing came of it. Spain has grumblings about Del Bosque but again, nothing came of it. I believe that in both cases it was because the situations don’t have the tenure of Dumbenech, who has been an inept jackass for what seems like eons now.

            Players make stupid decisions all the time, as the mutineers did in this case. Henry is meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy, where I rather imagine everything will be explained. But make no mistake, it was a stupid decision. But the side was playing like festering crap even before the mutiny, so perhaps a psychological one was already going on.

            Ultimately, who knows how the players justified their actions. They might have thought they were saving the side/Federation by trying to prune Domenech with their awful performance. Doubtful, but possible. I think they were so terrible because they didn’t have a plan or a system, a coach with a clue or a shard of confidence in that coach.

            Guardiola worked wonders with essentially the same players that Rijkaard had because of that intangible thing that a coach, and confidence in a coach, brings to a group.

            I don’t think that Dave meant anything racial (we’ve all seen Les Bleus called Les Blacks on various message boards, and such things are detestable), but I think that the notion of “Frenchness” and the true Frenchmen idea is what we are all reacting to.

            If you are a citizen, you are French, whether from the heart of Paris, or a colony. The players didn’t, for whatever reasons, live up to that standard. I don’t think it was because of reasons of patriotism. I think it was for the stupid, selfish reasons that people use to justify stupid, selfish, destructive behavior.

            They, the Federation and the fans will live with those consequences for years. Now we get to see what Laurent Blanc can do.

  24. Eklavya
    June 24, 2010

    Today, Messi turns 23! Happy birthday Messi!!! 😀

    • y2k156
      June 24, 2010

      That’s going to be a cracking game. Potentially i think it could be the game of the tournament but lets see.

      Good for you!

      • Kxevin
        June 24, 2010

        Good on yer, Andrew! Remember, first-person match reports are always welcome. Just e-mail, and we’ll give em a look, and can discuss pictures if you aren’t too frenzied to take any.

  25. Vj
    June 24, 2010

    Superdeporte is claiming that David Silva’s departure is imminent to Man f’in City.. This one leaves quite a bad taste in the mouth – I wanted Silva to fill that vacant LW position, until we signed Villa.. He could’ve also deputized for Xavi, sigh..

    Oh well, at least he didn’t end up at EE..

    • June 24, 2010

      i see it as a blessing.
      now we are packed in the midfield and even up front. and we already spent a lot of villa and probably will do more on cesc or torres.
      although i like silva, i expect him to fail in epl and we will get him later on at a cheaper price. and in the mean time we can see if jeffren can develop and if pedro can further improve on his game.
      thats how i look at it. as long as its not EE, im fine with it

  26. Kxevin
    June 24, 2010

    Crujff on Villa:

    But Cruyff, Barca’s honorary president, says Villa will be played as a winger: “That position is, I think, the place that Pep Guardiola has booked him for.

    “Pep does not want Villa to be a No9, there is Messi. I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays on the flank, dribbling, getting to the centre and, if there is no pass on, then shooting – one of his great qualities.”

    • nik
      June 24, 2010

      i saw that from sport yesterday and i wanted to discuss it here but i let that go because i dont want to be labbled as anti zlatan..
      the foration that crujff is talking about is the that we played in the last 4 games which zlatan was benched,messi was 9,and bojan was the LW that cut to center from time to time to dribble shoot and p! was the RW to create width ,cross ..we played with this formation in some of the most important games of the season(villareal away,sevilla away,..) and it not only didnt let us down but let not fool ourselves we were clearly more fluid than the games when we played with the our classic 4-3-3 format with zlatan as the 9.
      im not saying zlatan sucks,but he doesnt press the defenders the way pedro and messi does it(just watch last league game and see how messi press the defenders when we were 2-0 ahead),he doesnt make himself available for passes from xavi the way messi does.but ofcourse he brings somthing diffrent to the side like the end i wont be surprised too see us selling zlatan and buying someone like mata for depth at wings and play messi as 9,villa as RW or LW and someonelse like iniesta or pedro or mata on the other wing.

    • ballbeav
      June 24, 2010

      so cruyff doesnt mention ibra as the #9? hmmmm,,,,

      • Kxevin
        June 24, 2010

        Don’t read too much about Ibrahimovic into Cruijff’s comments. Recall that he is fully behind Ibrahimovic, and thinks he is one of the world’s best strikers that deserves more time at Barca. And he’s right.

        His comments, as read by me, are purely in the Villa and where he will be playing context, saying, as I already have, that Villa isn’t the guy to lead the line.

        Now. If we just have Messi and Villa, that isn’t going to work. Pedro! isn’t a full-time starter. Not for my club. In an ideal world, he is the first guy off the bench, for fresh legs, constant motion and instant pressure, a la Giuly.

        As for the “Ibrahimovic doesn’t press defenders,” don’t let the last part of the season define Ibrahimovic, just as the first part of the season should. The truth is somewhere in the middle. He was pressing the hell out of defenders the first part of the season, passing, moving and creating space for Messi to move into, even laying off assists for the likes of Messi and Pedro!.

        Guardiola has a plan, and that plan needs time. We might well end up selling Ibrahimovic. Who knows what Rosell has planned. But if we do, it will be stupid. Monstrously so, in my estimation. Because the quickness, size and mobility of Ibrahimovic, coupled with Messi and Villa in the Henry role, could be MORE devastating than Henry/Eto’o/Messi.

  27. Kxevin
    June 24, 2010

    I just realized that if Spain lose to Chile, and Switzerland beat Honduras, that would be rather unfortunate.

  28. Vj
    June 24, 2010

    As it stands, Italy are all set to meet France at the airport.. Ironic the fall from grace from finalists in the last WC to first round knockouts in the next..

  29. vicsoc8
    June 24, 2010

    Come on New Zealand! Score a goal and go through!

  30. ballbeav
    June 24, 2010

    so, so satisfying to see italy down 2-0…and going home…a victory for football…

  31. Euler
    June 24, 2010

    Italy is now going to try to tie this game with a penalty kick or getting a player sent off. Diving will be everywhere.

  32. Vj
    June 24, 2010

    My goodness what a game!!

    Slovakia win 3-2 and go through..

    At the end I was almost rooting for Italy.. yeah, almost :P..

  33. June 24, 2010

    yes yes yes..2/3 out(italy and france)
    hopefully england will crash out the next round.
    slovenia really disappointed me last night!

  34. Vj
    June 24, 2010

    Lippi follows DomDom’s lead and doesn’t shake Vladimir Weiss’ hands.. Those two are prime examples against the argument ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’..

  35. Kxevin
    June 24, 2010

    Both finalists are out in the group stages. Has that happened before?

    • vicsoc8
      June 24, 2010

      Nope, first time in World Cup history

    • lovelymofo
      June 24, 2010

      I think I enjoyed this group’s final matches the most. Well, I should say, I enjoyed Slovenia v Italy. Don’t hate the Italians, but I’m glad they’re out. I didn’t get to watch much of the Paraguay v New Zealand match, but the announcers I listened to on my way to work were talking about how Paraguay deserved to win b/c of how terrible New Zealand was. From what I watched, Paraguay didn’t seem too concerned with going for the goal. Least deserving group leader?

      • Miguel
        June 24, 2010

        lovelymoco! seriously. i picked the wrong day to sleep in but these early ass games are taking their toll on me. great last 15 minutes. good for hamsik & slovakia. i would have liked to have seen italy in the knockout stage of the competition, where they excel, but they were whack. you gotta play these games. your name/your coach’s name isn’t gonna win you a world cup.

  36. Miguel
    June 24, 2010

    nice article out of the economist magazine on the french national team fiasco. it’s titled: “three neuroses on their shirts”

  37. Kari
    June 24, 2010


    The Italians are out, having decided that they were going to play football for the last 10 minutes of match 3. Wonder goal from Quaglia—Number 18; but his playacting to try and get the Slovak goalkeeper sent off was despicable. I was rooting for Slovakia all the way. What a story; first win in their WC history against the reigning world champions sends them to the R of 16. Awesome.

    Now, I’m going for Japan to join the Netherlands. Gambare Nippon! Ikeeeee!!

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