World Cup 2010: Slovenia 2-2 United States of America

June 19, 2010

“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)

For U.S., Only Frustration Is Clear
“In the 85th minute Friday, the referee Koman Coulibaly gazed into what was supposed to be a penalty area but was actually a mosh pit. Sure, the Slovene players were committing acts usually experienced during the arrest scenes on “Cops.” But the Americans were also doing their share of slam-dancing and assorted frisking maneuvers usually reserved for the security line at the airport.” (NYT)

On Feeling Cheated: Notes on USA – Slovenia
“Sport culture seems to be the one discursive space in which we can declare that we were robbed, that our team was cheated, that the game wasn’t fair – and we don’t come off as bitter or resentful. This sort of anger – at being kept out of the World Cup finals by someone’s handball, or at being cheated of the three points awarded to a win by a rogue referee – is perfectly allowed – a certain sense of injustice is in fact nursed into an art.” (From A Left Wing)

England 0-0 Algeria: shocking display from Capello’s players

June 19, 2010

“A terrible performance from England in a game completely devoid of any attacking inspiration. Algeria defended excellently in their unusual 3-4-2-1 shape and got the result they were playing for, but England made it easy for them. England made three changes from their first game against the United States. David James replaced Robert Green after his mistake, Jamie Carragher replaced Ledley King after his injury, and Gareth Barry replaced James Milner after his nightmare on the left.” (Zonal Marking)

World Cup 2010: England 0-0 Algeria
“It would appear that Wayne Rooney is of the opinion that the England football team (and, especially upon this evening, his performance in particular) is worthy of the undying support of the English people and, in particular, of those that have given up valuable holiday time and a fistful of cash that they may or may not be able to afford to travel to South Africa to watch their national team. That any of these people made actual, material sacrifices to be in Cape Town this evening has, presumably, never occurred to him. There are plenty of criticisms that can be levelled at England supporters, but to assert that they are not “football supporters” only serves to emphasise the unreality of the world in which the likes of Wayne Rooney live.” (twohundredpercent)

Hitler Hates Vuvuzelas In A Major Way (VIDEO)

June 19, 2010

“He’s baaaaacckk, and he joins everyone but South African fans in his complete loathing of the detested vuvuzela trumpet. Threatening to ruin World Cup coverage for fans everywhere, the ‘swarming bees’ noise is especially hurtful to Hitler, as Germany is supposed to meet Brazil in the finals and the Fuhrer was so looking forward to all the wonderful Brazilian singing and drumming.” (Huffington Post)

Brazilian football has moved from poetry into prose

June 19, 2010

“‘It’s just like watching Brazil,’ English supporters sing when their club produces a brilliant moment. Well, watching Brazil is no longer like watching Brazil. We all have in our heads past Brazilian sides playing jogo bonito, the beautiful game. Watching the current side puff and grunt against North Korea, on a freezing Johannesburg night on Tuesday, felt more like watching Blackburn Rovers. By the final whistle, Ellis Park was half empty.” (FI – Simon Kuper)

World Cup 2010: Ghana 1-1 Australia

June 19, 2010

“This game sees us pass the halfway point of the group stages. By the end of Friday, we’ll have lost half of the teams, and we’ll know the shape of the knockout stages. Once we reach the knockout stages, most of the contrasting games (whether in ability, age or experience) will be over, and the main contrasts we’re likely to get between opponents are playing style and location. Ghana and Australia are as big a contrast as you can get. Australia are an aging team, with a wealth of experience. The nucleus of the squad is from the team that reached the last 16 in Germany, with six of them being aged 30 or over.” (twohundredpercent)

Australia 1-1 Ghana – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – World Cup – 19 June 2010
“Ghana could move on top of the Group D with any result while Australia needed some points after their opening loss to Germany. A win for Ghana would put them three points clear of Serbia and Germany who both have three after two matches. Australia wouldn’t be eliminated with another loss but would be in very tough shape without at least a draw.” (The 90th Minute)

Not Watching the World Cup

June 19, 2010

“The World Cup is an experience. The sport is exciting, but it’s much more than that. A game is a narrative arc, fulfilling itself in an ending we all see coming. Cascading, pitching, reaching plateaus at completely obvious and utterly unexpected times. It is an arc only in the sense that before the game, there’s nothing but the promise of something. Moments of excitement—whether plentiful or scarce—pitch the game’s progression upward. Then once the 90 minutes are up, the arc once again comes to rest. Draw or not, there is some sort of resolution.” (Run of Play)

Soccer Music Politics

June 19, 2010

“By now, we have all heard Shakira’s edifying ‘Waka Waka,’ the official theme song of the 2010 World Cup. I promised myself that I would keep this post short, so please allow me just to note that I believe the majority of the conscious world has found this song to be, at various times, putridly abominable, horrifically terrible, terribly horrific, condenscending to Africans, ignorant, frivolous, foolish, a representative of the Gap commercial-ification of everything that used to be holy and complex and interesting, Exhibit A in the thesis that the Apocalypse is near, the death blow to optimism. Thank you, Shakira, you have done it again. And curses, you’ve already made me write a hundred words about you!” (Soccer Politics)

World Cup tactics: After the false nine, the ‘false 10′

June 19, 2010

“The concept of the false nine – a centre-forward who drops deep – is well established in modern tactical thinking, but in the early matches of the World Cup we have seen glimpses of another player, who facilitates the work of the false nine and operates in tandem with him to destabilise opposition defences: the false 10.” (Football Further)

Soccer Hatred Roils Brazil

June 19, 2010

“The extreme size of America’s extreme right became a trending topic in Brazil when Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck attacked the Brazilian national pastime, linking its concept of team play to Marxism and socialism. President Lula is a big futebol fan and 58 million Brazilians have gained internet access thanks to his ‘one nation for everyone’ strategy that projects the good side of globalism.” (Huffington Post)

Holland 1-0 Japan: Little tactical excitement

June 19, 2010

“There have been a few low-key games at the World Cup so far, but this was one of the worst. Holland continue to disappoint with a lack of attacking flair, whilst Japan were content with a draw, and didn’t threaten until the 90th minute. Both sides kept faith with their opening day line-ups. Holland continued to play both Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder despite the impressive substitute appearance of Elijero Elia against Denmark. Arjen Robben was not fit enough for consideration.” (Zonal Marking)

Netherlands 1-0 Japan – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – World Cup – 19 June 2010“The Netherlands, one of the countries who has yet to win the World Cup but always a threat, faced off against Japan in Group E on Saturday, June 19, 2010. The winner would be in great position to win the group while a loss wouldn’t hurt either side as both had three points going into the match.” (The 90th Minute)