long way round

World Cup 2010 Day 6 & 7 Review

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I really don't want to write this. I really don't. A loss is devastating, you see. I've braced myself for it, and I was very realistic about it, but when it happens it is crushing nonetheless.

But let me get onto other news around the World Cup scene.

Giants Beaten
The biggest upset from the tournament came on Wednesday when tournament favorites Spain lost to a very defensive minded Switzerland. All their finesse passing and harlem globe trotting didn't break through the stalwart defense of the Swiss. Pass after pass, the crowds were mesmerized and the commentators commentated on how beautiful the game is, but the reality is goals win games and Spain had none. 

It reminded me of many of Arsenal's games at the end of this past season, where the virtues of passing and playing beautifully didn't lead to results. It was as if the point of the game was on making the most intricate string of passes instead of netting the ball. If offensive mindedness was lacking, del Bosque should've put Fabregas, one of the best midfielders in the EPL, to provide some spark in the dying embers of the game. But alas, Cesc never even warmed up, leaving it to Xavi and Iniesta to provide something that wasn't there to begin with. 

How good is Diego Forlan? How many times have he scored when his team needed a goal most? He's done it plenty of times with Villareal. He's done it with Atletico Madrid this past season, especially against Liverpool in the semi finals of the Europa league (sorry, John). He is a clutch player that delivers clutch goals. 

And he delivered two to beat out tournament hosts South Africa. I still have hopes for  the Bafana Bafana, but after this loss, things look slim. As I mentioned earlier, Diego Forlan makes for a great story this tournament. Can he take Uruguay to glory? Can he repeat 1930? I still don't think they'll make it to the end, but a quarter final finish would definitely be a swan song for Forlan.

The Little Pea
France has a load of talent, but have been struggling to show what they are capable in their past two games. But don't let me detract you from how awesome Mexico was. They were composed, had a lot of passes completed, and kept their composure even when France was trying to hack their way through.

Javier Hernandez, also known as "Chicharito" (little pea), made an incredible goal, bringing Lloris out of his line and slotting it in the back of the net with a cool finish. Looks like Fergie made another good buy, although small strikers have never faired well in Manchester United. We'll see if Chicharito can turn that little piece of history around.

But let me talk a little bit about France, one of my favorite teams in the World Cup. Domenech's only good decision has been to convince Zidane to come out of international retirement back in 2006. That ultimately led the French to the final. Other than that, Domenech has shown so much incompetence, from choosing his starting eleven, team tactics, and antics in the dressing room. His new age influences have definitely not helped the team perform better either. Gignac and Govou have been such liabilities in front of goal, and Henry never even came off the bench. Why even have a player in your selection if you're not even going to play them? I feel the frustration with the team and I'm not even French!

Fighting Spirit Deflated
There's a tag line going around among the Korea national team, and it's 투혼, or "fighting spirit." It comes from the fact that all throughout Korea's history, they were underdogs and that it took a fighting spirit to make it through. The tagline is inscribed behind the shield inside the jersey. Yes, I'm a nerd for looking there. But looks like Messi and company undid the fighting spirit of the Taeguk warriors with relative ease and composure.

Unlike my compatriots, I had very realistic aspirations for the team. I know how much of a flop Park Chu Young can be. I know how uncreative the team can get under pressure from a much more physical, athletic, and faster opponent. A win over Greece is hardly an indication for greater things. If anything, tying with or beating Argentina is truly a statement. I had hopes, but my hopes were crushed by the lightning feet of Messi, who was pretty much involved in every goal, and by the "right place at the right time" Higuain who made a hat trick out of his uncanny ability to poach his way through. Consequently, my friend called it the "f—ing Frank Lampard goal". How much he hates Frank Lampard and his "right place at the right time" ability is still beyond me.

The omen was there as soon as the Park Chu Young own goal happened. If it were any player I would've brushed it aside, but the fact that it happened from Park, showed to me that the game was doomed from the start. Park has a real problem with confidence, and even though his position is as a center forward, he likes to play on the wings and give passes than take a shot at goal. And putting an own goal in your own net? Good job coming back from that. 

And a late substitution with Kim Nam Il? Tired legs are not going to bring a spark. And Lee Dong Gook? He's never done anything good in any international competition. NOTHING. Why he's even on the squad? I'm not even sure. If there's anyone more useless than Govou, it is Lee Dong Gook. And a brilliant goal during the first half injury time from Lee Chung Yong brought the game to 2-1. Why we didn't swarm the back and play solid defense, I'm not even sure. It seems that we've also adopted the fad of "playing beautifully" but we cannot beat the giants of Argentina at their own game. The North Koreans knew that. Kim Jong Il knew that. But supposedly the open and free South Korea, with its highest broadband penetration rate and free flowing information society, didn't know that. We continued to stubbornly pursue the "jogo bonito" with our deft passing and our simple trickery, only to be handed a lesson from the bulldog Tevez, the mesmerizing Messi, and a brilliant Di Maria.  By the way, how annoying is Real Madrid? There's already talk that they're going to swoop up Di Maria for 30 million. 

I'm done with my ranting. The next game South Korea will have is with Nigeria. It is truly win or go home. Again.

Posted via email from Long Way Round


Written by shindz

June 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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