Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cup Review: The luck of the draws

The first two days of the World Cup in South Africa found Weston Hemispheric teams playing in five matches, four of which ended in a tie score. Each game had its share of action, however, and we’ll highlight some of the best and worst moments of the first 48 hours of soccer’s biggest tournament.

Lo Bueno (The Good)…

Thus far Argentina has been the only winner from the Americas after beating Nigeria on Saturday by the minimal score of 1-0. As we mentioned yesterday, the lone goal came from a wonderful diving header in the sixth minute by Gabriel Heinze. His tally came off a corner kick, which was indicative a game where los albicelestes were dangerous off the dead ball. The score could’ve been much greater had it not been for several opportune saves by Nigerian goalie Vincent Enyeama. Nevertheless a win is a win, especially in the World Cup debut as head coach of legendary player Diego Maradona.

Honorable Mention: Argentine referee Hector Baldassi made two key (and absolutely correct) calls late in Sunday’s 1-0 Ghana victory over Serbia.

Lo Malo (The Bad)…

On paper Mexico is a superior team to South Africa but it was the host country that nearly shocked el Tri in the opening game on Friday. Sisphiwe Tshabalala scored the opening goal with a stunning 55th minute blast that beat Oscar “el conejo” Perez. Rafael Marquez subsequently tied the game at one with eleven minutes until full time. Despite Mexico outshooting their opponent 16 to 10 and having a whopping 65% of possession, the game ended in a draw.

Honorable Mention: Uruguay played a strong defensive game in a scoreless tie against France that was marred by the ejection of Nicolas Lodiero.

Y Lo Feo (And the Ugly)

The English tabloids have had a field day going after keeper Robert Green whose gaffe was costly in a 1-1 draw against the U.S. At the time of Green’s mistake in the fortieth minute England dominated the game against their cross-Atlantic rivals yet the second half was a far more even affair. (Green partially made up for his error with a great save off a tough shot by Jozy Altidore). Ultimately both the U.S. and England shared the spoils and they will need to bounce back in their next matches against Slovenia and Algeria, respectively.

Honorable Mention: Was Pablo Ramirez racist or silly in poking fun at Siphiwe Tshabalala’s name?

Online Sources- CBC, The Latin Americanist,, Voice of America, AFP, YouTube, Los Angeles Times, ESPN, Christian Science Monitor, Guanabee

1 comment:

Carlos said...

Racist or silly? How about just plain idiotic with a tinge of racist. He just doesn't know any better. He's a terrible commentator.