2010 World Cup Diary – Day 1

Posted on 11 Jun, 2010, by in Soccer

The day started out wonderfully – waking up, going to the beach, getting mentally ready for the World Cup experience.

Then came the South Africa – Mexico game. South Africa aren’t exactly a quality side, with most of their side based on players who playing the local league, while the Mexicans boast much more god given talent and much more European experience. Still, despite Mexico controlling the first half including some nice moments from Dos Santos and Carlos Vela, the South Africans played a much better second half, counter attacking and beating Mexico’s slow defenders time after time. Siphiwe Tshabalala took advantage once, scoring the World Cup opener in impressive fashion.

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A lapse of concentration in the hosts’ D cost them the win, and Mexico got an equalizer, that by looking at the whole match, was deserved. A 2 hour rest and a nice dinner didn’t prepare me for what was coming next.

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A terrible match between France and Uruguay, our picks to advance from this group, left us on the verge of closing the TV set and calling it a night. Domenech has turned a very talented bunch into a dull, flat and depressed team, that hardly had any life in it until Malouda’s entrance and Uruguay’s Nicolas Lodeiro getting sent off. Still, it wasn’t enough, and the game ended at 0-0, closing Day 1 of the World Cup and the first round of games in Group A.

Table

1. South Africa, 1 point (1-1)
2. Mexico, 1 point (1-1)
3. France, 1 point (0-0)
4. Uruguay, 1 point (0-0)

Scoring Charts

1. Siphiwe Tshabalala (South Africa) – 1 Goal
2. Rafael Marquez (Mexico) – 1 Goal

Picture of the Day

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Fan of the Day

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What We’ve Learned

France – Raymond Domenech seems to have no idea what he’s doing. Leaving Ribery stuck on the wing while Diaby is supposed to deliver the key passes? Bad Idea. Replacing Anelka with Henry instead of taking out the useless Govou? Bad, again. If Ribery and the boys don’t wise up for themselves, France might re-live the 2002 experience.

Uruguay – Physical, strong, unappealing, hard to watch at times. The Uruguayans got a result they should be pleased with – drawing with the group favorites, keeping their reputation as group bullies (first red card of the tournament) and actually getting the more dangerous opportunities. Against weaker opposition, South Africa or the small Mexicans, it could be enough.

South Africa – They can’t play an organized game, but they have two very good wingers in Tshabalala and Modise, plus a very strong axe in the middle, the impossible name to pronounce – Reneilwe Letsholonyane. Their defense isn’t that strong, so can they keep the nice counter attacking style that worked well in the second half against Mexico? An entire nation seems to believe so. I’m still not a huge believer.

Mexico – Seemed like the most talented team in the group, with Givoani Dos Santos, Vela and Guardado producing some nice moments of flair and dribbling during the match. Problem is they seem to have a terrible keeper in Oscar Perez and a turtle-slow defense. Not sure that all the talent will be enough against France and Uruguay. It wasn’t against South Africa.

Tomorrow

Greece – South Korea – Snooze… But hopefully it can’t be worst than the terribly disappointing France – Uruguay.

Argentina – Nigeria – Nice potential. Messi’s first opportunity to show he’s ready to take this team all the way.

England – United States – Will the Americans try and get Rooney to explode in a bad way? Or will he do to them what he did to most English defenses this season? Probably going to be an intense match, maybe with shades of USA- Italy from 2006.