Disciplined Algeria battles hard to hold England to goalless draw

June 18, 2010

“England is looking nothing like the soccer power it’s supposed to be. Underdog Algeria held the Three Lions to a second disappointing World Cup draw, a 0-0 tie that left the Group C wide open and is sure to have English fans furious after their team arrived in South Africa as a favorite.” (ESPN)

England 0 Algeria 0: match report
“England continue to contest their own game at the World Cup – the Fear Factor. Alarmingly lacking in belief and energy, Fabio Capello’s side continue to splutter whether at altitude or now at sea level. Heaven knows what Franz Beckenbauer will make of this. England fans did: they howled in derision. After a second successive point, it’s back to the drawing board for Capello, who desperately needs to shake Frank Lampard into life and devise a system that brings more out of the dispirited Wayne Rooney before the final Group C match with leader Slovenia.” (Telegraph – Henry Winter)

World Cup 2010: Wayne Rooney’s woes reflect the despair of all England
“An anomaly Wayne Rooney was eager to correct was that he had picked up more red cards at World Cups than he had scored goals. Sendings-off led successful strikes 1-0 as the Premier League’s best player arrived in South Africa hoping to justify the extravagant praised piled on him by some of the world’s best judges.” (Guadian)

England 0-0 Algeria
“England’s World Cup hopes hang in the balance as they were held to a disappointing draw by Algeria after a wretched display in Cape Town. Fabio Capello’s side now need to beat Slovenia on Wednesday to ensure qualification to the knockout stages. England felt the full force of the fury of the thousands of fans who flooded Cape Town in the vain hope of seeing a performance that improved on their first draw against the United States in Rustenburg.” (BBC)

England 0-0 Algeria – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – World Cup – 18 June 2010
“England looked to respond from a disappointing 1-1 draw against the United States as they faced Algeria in their second group stage match. A loss for Algeria would mean they would have no chance to get out of the group stage while England can’t clinch or be eliminated with any result from the match.” (The 90th Minute)

Bradley’s late goal follows Donovan score as U.S. salvages draw

June 18, 2010

“Down two goals and facing an abrupt end to their World Cup, the Americans turned to their leader — and Landon Donovan turned around the match. Donovan scored early in the second half, and Michael Bradley tied it in a furious second-half comeback, giving the United States a 2-2 draw against Slovenia on Friday that kept alive the Americans’ chances of advancing.” (ESPN)

World Cup 2010: Slovenia 2-2 United States of America
“I’ve seen both of these nations in major competitions. As you may have noticed from the Slovenia-Algeria report, I saw the Slovenians at Euro 2000. The USA however, were one of the teams playing at my first live World Cup match in 2006 – their opponents were Italy, in what was one of the games of the tournament. And that was the point at which my view on American’s playing football changed. It was all down to the fans who travelled to Germany. On the upside, they were very enthusiastic about the game, and (unlike the perception from the more ignorant sections of our media – i.e. most of it) were very knowledgeable about the game, as you would expect people who’ve flown thousands of miles for as little as one game to be.” (twohundredpercent)

Slovenia 2-2 USA
“Michael Bradley struck a dramatic late equaliser as the United States came from two goals down to draw with Slovenia in a pulsating Group C encounter in Johannesburg. It seemed Slovenia were heading through to the last 16 when the superb Valter Birsa put them ahead with a curling effort and Zlatan Ljubijankic drilled in to double the lead shortly before half-time. But US coach Bob Bradley made a double change at the interval and the move paid immediate dividends, Landon Donovon racing clear on the right and firing high into the roof of the net.” (BBC)

USA Denied A 3-2 Win Over Slovenia By Referee Koman Coulibaly
“The United States rallied back in Friday’s match against Slovenia to get a 2-2 draw. This is a good result considering they went down early but the real story is the disallowed goal late in the second half.” (The 90th Minute)

USA Fight Back For Thrilling 2-2 Draw
“After falling behind 2-0, the USA fights back for a point with a 2-2 draw.” (ESPN)

Mexico 2-0 France: Organised v disorganised

June 18, 2010

“Tactics can only explain a team’s victories or defeats to a certain extent – this awful French performance was quite clearly a failing in terms of motivation, team spirit and countless other factors that aren’t directly concerned with strategy. Nevertheless, tonight did demonstrate something important – a well-drilled teams of decent individuals will generally triumph over a disorganised bunch of top-class players. France were woeful, but Mexico were excellent.” (Zonal Marking)

France 0-2 Mexico – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – World Cup – 17 June 2010
“France faced off against Mexico in a match that would likely determine the winner of the Group A. All four teams had a draw in the first match but now needed to start getting results to get one of the two spots to the knockout stage.” (The 90th Minute)

“Mexico! Mexico! Mexico!”
“The second of the three games in the World Cup group stage began two days ago. After the cautious play of many of the opening matches, this round of games promised a much higher level of intensity. A bad result here could spell the end to a team’s World Cup. On Wednesday, we saw the host nation’s defense break down in the second half, leading to a 3-0 Uruguay victory and, more poignantly, the complete loss of hope of the South African team’s supporters as fans filed out before the game’s end and radio stations later pleaded with the populous not to lose interest in the tournament.” (Vanity Fair)

World Cup 2010: France 0-2 Mexico
“It’s hotting up, you know. Two terrifically entertaining matches this afternoon in South Africa have continued the 2010 World Cup’s awakening from slumber, and this evening France play Mexico in Group A. France’s advancement to the finals wasn’t, of course without controversy, but there is no place in their starting eleven this evening for Ireland’s bête noire, Thierry Henry. Should he come on at any point, you will probably be able to hear the booing that will come from the other side of the Irish Sea from any point on the entire planet if you cup your ears and concentrate hard enough. Irish supporters could indulge themselves, keep the sound turned down and imagine that the green-shirted Mexican team is Ireland, should they choose to.” (twohundredpercent)

Images from Africa

June 18, 2010

“Below you will find photo series displaying different aspects of African football. The photos are kindly shared by Twenty Ten: African Media on the Road to 2010 (and beyond).” (Play the Game)

Handmade Soccer
“Children from the pastoral tribes of Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya are often responsible for household and community chores. Many of them do not have the opportunity to attend school.”> (Twenty Ten)

As Yet Within That House

June 18, 2010

“One of the hard things about forming an outlook on the World Cup is that when an event gets this much attention, the flow of commentary is so fast and broad that every possible angle is exhausted and trivial positions develop a kind of insubstantial politics. Conventional wisdom starts to seem like an ideology, and if you’re not careful, your own feelings about what happens will be dictated by where you want to stand in relation to that ideology rather than by what you actually think. There’s a pundit position, a cognoscenti backlash, an uber-cognoscenti counter-backlash, and so on till after midnight. Your heart and the stadium get farther and farther apart.” (Run of Play)

Notes from South Africa 2010: On the Invention of Tradition

June 18, 2010

“The clichéd tourist fare in South Africa outside the World Cup seems to mostly involve two components: big animals and ‘traditional’ dances. To the dismay of almost every South African I meet, I’m not much of a big animal person. The famous game parks, no matter how spectacular, are not on my itinerary. The ‘traditional’ dances, however, are harder to avoid. They are also, in my experience, harder to make sense of in this World Cup of vuvuzelas and the invention of tradition.” (Pitch Invasion)

Serbia 1-0 Germany: red card changes the game

June 18, 2010

“A game that was shaping up to be an interesting battle until Miroslav Klose’s unnecessary sending-off towards the end of the first half. Serbia won but failed to impress, whilst Germany had the better of the second half despite their numerical disadvantage. Germany predictably kept the same eleven which thrashed Australia 4-0 in the first game, and they set out in the same 4-2-3-1 system.” (Zonal Marking)

World Cup 2010: Germany 0-1 Serbia
“The German side who sparked this World Cup into life with their 4-0 win over Australia, a German side so effortlessly impressive that they brought all the very best paranoid and stereotypical utterances about “Ze Germans” out of the normally *cough* very reserved and neutral British press, were back in action today. But you’d have had to be a very brave man, or a very proud Serb, to have seen this coming. In fact, although Serbia were much improved on their opening performance against Ghana, it’s still difficult to believe it happened.” (twohundredpercent)

Germany 0-1 Serbia – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – World Cup – 18 June 2010
“Germany could come close to clinching a spot in the next round as they faced Serbia on Friday, June 18, 2010. Serbia lost their opening match to Ghana and needed to get a result to keep their knockout stage hopes alive.” (The 90th Minute)

A Blue Flame

June 18, 2010

“It’s strange to say, but I feel a powerful sense of relief tonight. I’ve been rooting for France steadily since 2006, through the crash-and-burn of Euro 2008, through a qualifying campaign that constantly seemed like Waterloo (with Serbs instead the English), through the ire of Ireland, optimistic to a fault. And today, all I can say is that I feel a weight off my shoulders: barring some miracle against South Africa, I don’t have to see Domenech again, don’t have to watch him twist, squeeze, and ruin a group of remarkably talented players any more, don’t have to watch figures like Thuram and Henry end their international careers in the worst possible way.” (Soccer Politics)