Monday, June 14, 2010

The Weekend wrap up

So unless you were living under a rock for the past two months in the build up to it, this past weekend was the first of the 2010 World Cup. On first impression based on the lack of goals and the amount of ties one would assume it was a complete dud beginging to the tournament. However if you watched the games in full you would have found that most were enteraining from a tactical stand point.

The opening match between South Africa and Mexico was a fantastic back and forth match which provided the the goal of the tournament so far from Bafana midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala. His left footed rocket on the counter attack was magical. The moment was amazing as well as it seemed the entire crowd, aside from the Mexicans was rooting for Bafana Bafana. The fact that the the match ended in a 1-1 draw was surprising as many (including yours truly) believed Mexico would take this game. In fact South Africa should have won it in the dying minutes of the game as striker Katlego Mphela hit the post of another impressive counter.

The second game of the day on Friday between France and Uruguay was was completely bad from a goal/drama perspective. However the one thing that was interesting was the tatical decision by France manager Raymond Domenech to leave star left sided midfielder Florent Malouda in favour of Sidney Goviou. Considering Malouda and starting striker Nicolas Anelka had an excellent season with Chelsea in which they were each other playmaker was an eyebrow raising decision; but this is Raymond Domenech we are talking about here.

All I'm going to say about Saturday's games are that until Robert Koren scored; their match with Algeria was near sleep enducing as neither team really looked like they were playing not to lose.

Aside from Germany, who I'll talk about later. Argentina was the most impressive team of the weekend. The only reason the score was only 1-0 was due to Super Eagles keeper Vincent Enyeama who make 5 or 6 big saves. 4 of which were from the foot of Leo Messi, who continued to prove why he's the best player on the planet. Honestly it should have been 4 or 5 scored for Argentina.

England...oh England start of strong like they always do and score with the first minutes, then slowly let the U.S back into the game culmanting in another England goalkeeping howler by Robert Green. Now everyone has jumped on Green's back and basically have written off his career, but little credit is being given to the U.S who played a fantastic game. They weren't to flashy but they were effective and could have won in the second half. England should have won in the second half on a Emile Heskey break away...but it was Emile Heskey...nuff said!

South Korea looked great against a shockingly bad Greek side, all I really can say abou this one is that Greek supporters should not be happy with the effort of some members of the squad who after Ji Sung Park's second half goal looked like they threw in the towel. Georgios Samaras being the biggest culprit, at time he jogged around as if it were a training match.

Was very pleased to see Ghana win despite me picking Serbia to go through. This is not saying I have anything against Serbia, but I wanted to see an Sfrican team win over the first weekend. With that said Ghana could have lost this game as Serbia had some really good chances, including a reflex save on Milos Krasic in the dying minutes. No doubt on the handball either it was a clear handball.

Germany...look...scary! 4-0 thumping of Australia, Low played the young kids and they shawn, espically Mesut Özil (in my 5 next stars list) Thomas Müller, Sami Khedira and Holger Badstuber in defence. Honestly Germany could have scored 6 or 7 in this one as the Aussies were completely outclassed. I have to admit though the Tim Cahill sending off was harsh, that second foul for which he received the second yellow for wasn't all that much; it was just sold very well by the German player.

The last note I want to leave you on is about the crowd atmoshphere. I was mentioning to people at the football factory where I watched some of the games; on most World Cups the crown level in terms of noise is usually low aside form the supporters of the two teams. In this World Cup that is completely different, the crowds are active either dancing or cheering or blowing on the vuvuzelas (I'll be writing about the vuvuzela phnominon). I believe that this could be a World Cup that comes back to the true fans of the game. I wrote about this for the a few days ago but with the way tickets have found their way into the hands of locals makes the atmosphere a truely natural viewing experience.

Let's hope that the rest of the games this week provide us with a few more goals and maybe some serious upsets.


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