long way round

World Cup 2010 Day 8 & 9 Review

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At work we have a live feed of the BP oil spill underwater cam on one of our screens. It's atrociously amazing how much oil is being spilled out, after its first burst in April 20. That's a full two months. The full consequence of the damage it will bring is still to be seen. But really, all is not right with the world because we have seen quite a few controversies on Day 8 of the 2010 World Cup.

Ze Germans Beaten
After Germany's fine display against Australia, I was hoping for another thrashing against Serbia. But the referee had other plans in mind. Klose was given two yellow cards for innocent tussles, and Germany was forced to play a more compact game against a very tough and defensive minded Serbia. A Khedira strike was denied by the third arm of the goalie, and Lukas Podolski had a chance to equalize, but failed to convert the penalty. The distinguished media noted that perhaps this is the end of the world as we know it, as Germany has not missed a penalty since 1982. I think this particular statistic speaks on Germany's efficiency, but really, does it matter? In another match, I remember ESPN spitting out stats like "this team has not won a world cup game since 2006," which to the casual observer might seem like a very big drought, but really all it means is the two games played this year, and a handful of games played in the last world cup, which is coincidentally in 2006.

Jogi Low's Slim Cardigan Was Not Enough To Pull A Win
Jogi Low and his staff came out with matching cardigans, which looked slightly more stylish than their previous powder blue v-neck t-shirt under a dark sport coat. Unfortunately, games are not won on looks, otherwise Germany would be the runaway winner.

Does anyone else think that ESPN's coverage is woeful and tragic? At least they don't have Dave O'Brien calling the games like in 2006, but seriously, some of the trivia is just horrendous. And the in-studio commentating by Alexi Lalas and crew are absolutely unbearable to watch. Oh, and if I hear another John Harkes comment, I might just stick a metal fork in the closest electric socket. The only silver lining is Martin Tyler and long time Champions league commenter Derek Rae calling certain games. 

The English Tragedy of Shakespearean Proportions
If there's any game more unwatchable than the Algeria v. Slovenia game so far, it's the England v. Algeria game on day 8. The English seemed to be resolute on proving everyone that they are not a kick and rush team, as expertly analyzed by Franz Beckenbauer. Why Beckenbauer, a German, decided to impart his wisdom to the English, I have no idea, but maybe it's a European thing. But their on-the-ground game was no better than their kick and rush game. In fact, it was just as bad if not worse. It was so bad that the English media has hit out on all four cylinders against the two and a half lions (as the Guardian's Marina Hyde calls them). This quote during the live coverage amply conveys the attitude:

"But Algeria seem to have hit upon the effective tactic of kicking the ball deep to Carragher and then waiting for it come back to them in a better position."

"David James flings the ball to Emile Heskey on the halfway line. He's standing alone under no pressure, the ball hits his shin and bounces to an Algerian player standing five yards away. Good hold-up player my backside, he's a joke. He couldn't trap a bag of cement."

You get the idea. Meanwhile Robert Green is now sighing with relief, as this game cannot be blamed on him. 


The only entertaining thing about the game was the constant slow motion captures of Fabio Capello's endless rage (Capelloface!), and something-for-the-ladies Beckham showing his rueful facial expressions, as if he knows exactly when the camera is on him. Another friend commented that anything in slow motion makes it awesome, even when players are elbowing others in the face (Dempsey), braving the cold on the bench (Thierry Henry), and biting their fingernails (LeBron James). Well done, ESPN.

Denied by Koman

How good is Donovan? He's come a long way from his awful spell in Germany back in 2005. He's made a killer goal at an awkward angle, unlike the rubbish that is the Maicon goal. Yes I still think that Maicon goal is non-sense in the fact that he "just went for it" and it happened to bend and go in. Almost as rubbish as a "f–ing Frank Lampard goal." The USA has come back from a two goal deficit and even made a third, only to be denied by a certain referee Koman Coulibaly. The Americans are at an outrage, and Koman Coulibaly has become public enemy number one. I've seen the highlights multiple times, and find it puzzling that he blew the whistle even before Edu had a shot at goal. He must have seen something, and perhaps it is as stated in this NYTimes Goal blog

Meanwhile, The Oranje marched on over Japan with a 1-0, with Dirk Kuyt dishing out some "fine" trash talking, by saying to the media that many of his teammates enjoy eating sushi, and look forward to eating it for dinner after the match. They shall eat sushi indeed, just as me and the mrs have done the night before. 

The real story behind this year's World Cup is not in that the games are not exciting enough, or that the Jabulani is horrendous, or that Cristiano Ronaldo's hair has too much product in it. The real story is that even the minnows are capable of holding their ground, and able to compete in a meaningful way. The USA is now a legitimate contender, South Korea is a respectable opponent, and North Korea can put up a fight that doesn't involve guns and nuclear warheads. This makes for a more exciting tournament with less blow-outs and less rubbish games at the end of the group stage, where teams rest their best players and the rest on the pitch play 90 minutes of monkey-in-the-middle.

By the way, it's becoming increasingly difficult to write these blog posts, with erratic sleeping patterns (4:30am for us west coasters), work (unfortunately can't take 30 days of PTO), and being in my first year of marriage (so many things to do, so little time). The fine folks at the Guardian seem to be watching and live blogging during work (oh, the productivity!), while I'm busily writing while I watch at 7 in the morning. Only if I can apply such efficiency and dedication to more important things like spirituality. 

Postscript: Anelka is going home after giving a mouthful to his coach, Domenech.  Bon Voyage!

Posted via email from Long Way Round


Written by shindz

June 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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