Friday – June 11th, 2010
8:00 AM – Tuned in to watch the Opening Ceremony. Not sure how many of you did, but I have to say it was pleasant. Granted it’s not at the same level, nor should it be compared to, the Olympics Ceremonies, but I have to say that I enjoyed it. Party atmosphere, vibrant, exciting, colorful and well orchestrated. Also, as of right now, with the option, even without full knowledge of Spanish, I will be watching through Univision rather than ESPN for two reasons:
1) The chaos that are their transmissions get you in the mood more effectively, rather than ESPN’s professional-ish type suit/studio broadcasts.
2) One word, four minutes long: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!
South Africa vs Mexico Review
The moments before kick-off were beautiful, historic and epic. The game itself started as I predicted, with Mexico mostly dominating and having the best chances, though not outstanding, amazing chances. South Africa barely threatened but held Mexico’s chances to a minimum (which was to be expected). In the 37th minute, Mexico scored off a corner kick, referee gave offside, except there was a South African defender on the goal line. Bad call? No! Superb call! There has to be two defenders between the player receiving the ball and the goal line. At the start of the 2nd half, South Africa started moreoffensive, though not extremely dangerous. On the 55th minute, on a counter attack, Mexico’s defense got caught sleeping and Tshabalala sent a missile past Perez to shut me up.The game then became more to South Africa’s liking, they could stay back on defense and play the counter-attack. On the 79th minute however, on a corner kick, Rafael Marquez received the ball, all alone, and scored to tie the game. On the 90th minute, Mphela hit the post almost giving South Africa the win, but in the end, it was a tie. Fair result since Mexico didn’t do enough and South Africa did just enough. Score 1-1.
Uruguay vs France Review
The game started pretty dead-locked, very few chances for either side and none too dangerous. As the game progressed, things started opening up, France’s Govou and Uruguay’s Forlan each had the best chance of scoring. In the latter part of the half, France had better control of the ball with better passes and touches, however it was not enough to break Uruguay’s defense. In the second half, Uruguay came back better, good enough to once again balance the game out. Slowly though, the game started becoming more physical, harder fouls, more divided balls and yellow cards ; which led to Uruguayan substitute Lodeiro being sent off for his 2nd yellow, at the 81st minute. After that, with Henry and Malouda coming on, France went on to attack non-stop, especially in the last 4 minutes. It wasn’t enough to score a goal and Uruguay survived. Score 0-0.
Saturday – June 12th, 2010
South Korea vs Greece Preview (7:30 AM Est.)
This will be an interesting match; a clash of two different styles, and considering the strength of the other two teams, this will be a hugely important match for both as well. It’s hard to say who has the edge on this one, maybe Greece with their physicality, though Korea could beat them with their speed and discipline. Prediction: Tie.
Argentina vs. Nigeria (10 AM Est.)
Should be an entertaining match since both have quality and both can be dangerous. The main question will be if the Argentinians will show up and play to their full potential under Maradona. At least in this game, I believe they will. Prediction: Argentina win.
England vs. USA (2:30 PM Est)
This is a must-watch/ can’t-miss game. Both teams are heavy favorites to go through the next stage so if the US loses, it won’t be the end of the world. England is obviously superior, but don’t be fooled, there is the chance of an upset here. They both play similar styles and the question is which US team will show up? If it’s anything like the one that played most of 2009 Confederations Cup, watch out, we may have a game here! A tie would be a great result. This one is tough to predict, my heart says tie, my brain says England wins. The odds are in favor of England, so I suppose I’ll play that, but here’s to hoping I’m wrong! Prediction: England win.