New Zealand Notches Historic Tie With Italy

June 20, 2010

“We know, we know: Italy always starts slow. But come on. This is ridiculous. Italy, the defending World Cup champion, tied New Zealand, supposedly the worst team in the tournament, 1-1 in Nelspruit on Sunday. It was the greatest moment in the latter’s nearly nonexistent World Cup history and one of the lowest for the former.” (WSJ)

World Cup 2010: Italy 1-1 New Zealand
“When the World Cup was expanded to twenty-four nations for the tournament in Spain in 1982, the decision didn’t come without criticism. Some of it was reserved for the fact that twenty-four nations meant that the tournament had to take an almost absurd looking shape with two group stages (which was jettisoned after one tournament), but the majority of it was reserved for the notion that an expanded World Cup finals would lead to lopsided matches, with new teams getting thrashed out of sight by the old guard. The transitional period was difficult one (El Salvador’s 10-1 defeat at the hands of Hungary springs immediately to mind) but, over all, this expansion was required to make football more of a global game.” (twohundredpercent)

Italy 1-1 New Zealand – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – World Cup – 20 June 2010
“The reigning World Cup champions played their second match of the World Cup looking to get three points against New Zealand. They were the huge favorites heading into the match but New Zealand are a side that has surprised by making it to the tournament and getting a draw in their opening match.” (The 90th Minute)

World Cup 2010: Slovakia 0-2 Paraguay

June 20, 2010

“So, it’s Sunday lunchtime and time for the stout yeomen of Slovakia and Paraguay to enter into battle in The Group (so far) Of Parity. Slovakia need a win more desperately than Paraguay today, having been held by New Zealand in their opening match. They will, of course, finish their group matches against Italy. Paraguay, by contrast, will take on New Zealand in their final match and may well consider that a draw today will be enough to leave them in pole position to qualify for a place in the last sixteen. Curiously, though, Paraguay have chosen to play three forwards this afternoon. Are they going to go for it anyway? It would certainly seem that way. It may be that they already have one eye on the next round of the competition. Winning today could well prove to be the difference between playing the Netherlands and playing Japan or Denmark in the next round. A draw would do them today, but a win would be even better.” (twohundredpercent)

Slovakia 0-2 Paraguay – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – World Cup – 20 June 2010
“Paraguay looked to move top of the Group F standings as they faced Slovakia who could also do the same with a victory. Either team would be in great position to move onto the next round with a victory. A draw for Slovakia would put them in a tough spot with their final match against Italy.” (The 90th Minute)

Winning for “El Mariscal”

June 20, 2010

“There are several reason why I enjoyed Paraguay’s victory over Slovakia. First, there’s the obvious. As almost every Paraguayan team in history, this group understands football first as a physical game. It is no coincidence that Paraguay is one of the few teams in the world—and certainly in this continent—so clearly identified with the ancestral values of its indigenous people, the Guaranies. This is not ‘el equipo paraguayo’; this is el ‘equipo guarani”. The indomitable culture of the Guarani is as much a part of Paraguayan football culture as Maori tradition for New Zealand. This Paraguayan team lives up to its billing. The Italians had a terrible time with Paraguay’s midfield.” (TNR)

Facing Algeria

June 20, 2010

“Since last December’s World Cup draw, the Algerian team has been, to my mind, underestimated. They’ve certainly had their ups and downs, and the coach has taken risks by incorporating some new players who weren’t present in qualifying. And the goalie who played so well against England, Raïs M’Bohli, did so during his first full international game for the team. But what we saw against England suggests that, in fact, this team will present a very strong challenge next week against the United States.” (Soccer Politics)

Anelka’s Outburst Shows Up French Shortcomings

June 20, 2010

Nicolas Anelka
“Sitting an watching from the other side of “La Manche”, one of the few crumbs of comfort for England supporters over the first week of the 2010 World Cup finals has been the apparent disintegration of the France team over the same period of time. This reached its natural conclusion yesterday, when Nicolas Anelka was sent home from the tournament over a his refusal to apologise for a verbal attack upon the French coach Raymond Domenech during their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Mexico on Thursday evening. Anelka has, unsurprisingly, subsequently announced his retirement from international football.” (twohundredpercent)

US-Slovenia Analysis and Ratings

June 20, 2010

“As is my custom, I begin with three general thoughts about Friday’s 2-2 U.S. Men’s National Team draw with Slovenia at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Everyone knows how the Yanks responded to abject adversity last summer. They came out and pummeled one of the best sides in Africa 3-nil. With help from Brazil, this set the stage for the gargantuan effort and upset of Spain, and for forty-five minutes on the same field they played on Friday, they had Brazil on the ropes before succumbing in the second half of the Confederations Cup Final. Friday, the Yanks had no such grace period to recover and no top-three side in the universe to aid them in their quest for a miracle.” (Yanks Are Coming)

Brazilian media piling on the pressure

June 20, 2010

“Brazil approach their second game in the World Cup with anxieties about future opponents tempered by the insipid 0-0 draw between Ivory Coast and Portugal. History should also provide comfort for Brazil in relation to Ivory Coast – Sunday’s opponents would join Zaire, Algeria, Cameroon and Ghana as African teams who have succumbed to the five-time champions at the World Cup.” (WSC)

World Cup scouting: The 32 – Week One

June 20, 2010

“The following 32 names represent Football Further‘s players to watch at the 2010 World Cup. We’ll be following their performances closely over the course of the tournament, with weekly scouting reports rounding up their progress.” (Football Further)