Tag Archives: Slovakia

Final thoughts on the 2010 World Cup

13 Jul

I am still slightly saddened by the fact that the most glorious month of football is over for another four years.  It all went by so fast.  I’m resigned to watching MLS and waiting on transfer rumours until the Premier League starts August 14.  Lame.  Anyways, I got the idea for this post from Sports Illustrated’s 50 observations story and figured it was a good way to do things since I have too many jumbled up thoughts in my head to actually write a coherent post.

My 27 thoughts on South Africa 2010 (in no particular order and which I’m sure to add to)

1. There was no better way to start the tournament than Siphiwe Tshabalala’s rocket shot.  An awesome start for the host nation.

2. I still can’t believe what a disaster the French team was.  Those players are going to be embarassed when they look back on this.

3. I lost track of the number of times I wished that Charlie Davies was healthy and able to play for the U.S. Robbie Findley’s inability to get a decent shot off was so damn frustrating.

4. The more replays I see of Nigel De Jong’s karate kick to Xabi Alonso’s chest, the more I’m amazed that he only ended up with a yellow card.

5. The emotion in this sport is phenomenal.  You can go from tears to cheers to outrage, all over the course of 90 minutes.  What a fantastic sport.

6. How awesome would it have been to be in Spain for the final on Sunday? 

7. Spain’s win emphasized the team over individual.  That team is full of all-stars, but they put their egos aside for their country.  Take note of that, England.

8. While entertaining, Diego Maradona is not fit for coaching.  Like I’ve said before, being a great player does not make you a good coach.

9. Germany was the most fun to watch (well, except against Spain).  The way they could move the ball up the pitch so quickly and finish so well was awesome. 

10. I still think refs needs to be held accountable for their decisions during a game.  There’s no real punishment if they screw up.

11. Landon Donovan’s stoppage time goal against Algeria was one of the highlights of my U.S. soccer watching career.  Absolutely amazing.  It made me cry.

12. Who would have thought Uruguay would make it to the semifinals?  Diego Forlan was a complete stud throughout the tournament and rightly won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

13. Italy’s failure to advance out of the group stage was all about cockiness. They thought they could cakewalk through the group and that wasn’t the case.

14. I think the vuvuzela will stay a South African tradition.  I’m sure a few will pop up in other places, but there’s no way it’s going to replace a good old-fashioned yell.

15. Tim Howard was disappointing for team USA.  Yeah, he had a couple of good saves against England, but he was otherwise pedestrian.  I expected more from a top-class keeper.

16. Fernando Torres was clearly not 100% fit.  His touch was off and he couldn’t find the back of the net to save his life.  An apparent hamstring? groin? injury was just the crappy end he needed.  Well, at least he ended up with a winner’s medal as consolation.

17. I think there should be retroactive punishments for horrible diving.  Example: Ivory Coast’s Kader Keita’s dramatic “facial injury” after running into Kaka, which earned the Brazilian his second yellow of the game.  The game does not need that shizz.

18. How did Lionel Messi not score a goal?  He had some pretty wicked shots on goal and had some goalies make some terrific saves.

19. I have absolutely no problem with what Luis Suarez did in the Uruguay-Ghana game.  Was it illegal? Yes.  Did he get punished appropriately? Yes. It was such a big deal because Ghana was the last African team left, but I’m glad FIFA wasn’t jaded by that fact.  If things had gone the other way around, I’m sure the Ghana fans would’ve said it was worth it.

20. I would not want to be a national team manager, especially for a team like England.  Too many egos involved.  Props to those managers that put up with that crap on a regular basis.

21. My call for biggest upset: tie between Slovakia 3, Italy 2 and New Zealand 1, Italy 1.  I hate the Italian national team so these results were amazing.

22. The World Cup brought out some really good journalism.  It also brought out some total crap.  After Rick Reilly’s horrible WC column, I refuse to read anything he writes.

23. For the love of all that is holy, Bob Bradley, what the hell were you thinking with the lineup against Ghana?

24. The whole Paul the Octopus phenomenon really amused me.  It was crazy to see how seriously people were taking his predictions.  It’s an octopus, people!

25. Game of the tournament: Uruguay-Ghana, hands down.

26. I don’t think Robert Green will ever live down his howler against the United States.  He’s just lucky that draw didn’t cost England a spot in the knockout round or it could’ve gotten a lot uglier.

27. The supposed “stars” of this World Cup didn’t shine, but I’m ok with that.  It allowed players that are equally as awesome like Diego Forlan, Xavi, Asamoah Gyan and more to get their deserved chance in the spotlight.

Advertisements

World Cup results – June 28

28 Jun

Well, the refs did not take center stage today.  In the day’s opening game, the Netherlands notched a 2-1 win over Slovakia.  Arjen Robben made his first start of the tournament and made his presence known with an 18th minute strike.  Wesley Sneijder added a goal of his own in the second half after Dirk Kuyt did all the dirty work and gave Sneijder a lovely cross.  Slovakia’s Robert Vittek scored on a penalty in stoppage time, but the final whistle blew before they even had a chance to get a equalizer.

Brazil ran rampant over Chile in the second game of the day with a 3-0 win.  Juan opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a header off a corner kick.  Luis Fabiano added one of his own a mere four minutes later.  Robinho put the exclamation point on the win with a goal in the second half.  

Both the Netherlands and Brazil are starting to get on a roll, so the quarterfinal match between the two teams should be stellar.  I can’t wait.

Monday, June 28 results
Netherlands 2 (Robben 18, Sneijder 84)
Slovakia 1 (Vittek 90 – pen)

Brazil 3 (Juan 34, Fabiano 38, Robinho 59)
Chile 0

Quarterfinal matchup
Netherlands vs. Brazil

World Cup round of 16 set

25 Jun

The group stage is officially over and the round of 16 match-ups are all set. I made some predictions earlier at the beginning of the tournament and it turned out that I picked 13 of the 16 teams correctly, not too shabby. Anyways, there’s some very enticing matches coming up.  Germany and England has potential, as does Spain and Portugal.  Of course, at this stage, all the games should be close and exciting.  Let the drama begin!

Saturday, June 26
Uruguay vs. South Korea
USA vs. Ghana

Sunday, June 27
Germany vs. England
Argentina vs. Mexico

Monday, June 28
Netherlands vs. Slovakia
Brazil vs. Chile

Tuesday, June 29
Paraguay vs. Japan
Spain vs. Portugal

World Cup results – June 24

24 Jun

Of course the biggest news of the day is Slovakia’s win over Italy which knocked the defending champs out of the World Cup.  I blogged about that game earlier, so I won’t repeat myself.  Viva Slovakia.

Paraguay won the group with five points after a 0-0 draw with New Zealand.  Paraguay was kind of a surprise group winner, but a deserved one.  New Zealand also had a successful campaign despite going out of the tournament  Going unbeaten in a group that included the defending champs has to be considered a success by Kiwi standards.

In group E, the Netherlands left no doubt as to who was top, winning all three games.  Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored the winner in a 2-1 win over Cameroon to close out group play.  Japan took second in the group with a 3-1 win over Denmark.  Japan scored two first half goals off some rather gorgeous free kicks.  Keisuke Honda had the first and Yasuhito Endo had the second.  Denmark pulled within one on a Jon Dahl Tomasson goal, but Japan put the game out of reach in the 87th minute.

Group E results
Denmark 1 (Tomasson 81)
Japan 3 (Honda 17, Endo 30, Okazaki 87)

Cameroon 1 (Eto’o 65 – pen)
Netherlands 2 (Van Persie 36, Huntelaar 83)

Group F results
Slovakia 3 (Vittek 25, 73, Kopenek 89)
Italy 2 (Di Natale 81, Quagliarella 90)

Paraguay 0
New Zealand 0

Group E final standings
Netherlands 9 (+4)
Japan 6 (+2)
Denmark 3 (-3)
Cameroon 0 (-3)

Group F final standings
Paraguay 5 (+2)
Slovakia 4 (-1)
New Zealand 3 (0)
Italy 2 (-1) – HAHA

Round of 16 matchups
Paraguay vs. Japan
Netherlands vs. Slovakia

Defending champs out

24 Jun

For the first time ever, both the defending champion and the runner-up have been dumped out of the World Cup in the group stage.  Slovakia’s stunning 3-2 win over Italy ensured that the Azzurri finished bottom of the group and out of the tournament.  Slovakia jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind goals from Robert Vittek, but Italy struck back in the 81st minute.  A third goal from Slovakia seemed to put the game out of reach with mere minutes to play, but Italy wasn’t done yet.  A goal from Fabio Quagliarella ensured a frantic final minutes as Italy searched for an equalizer that would send them through.  No such luck (thankfully).  Paraguay advanced with a 0-0 draw against plucky New Zealand and Slovakia took second in group F.

Italy fully deserved to bow out in the group stage.  They never showed the urgency needed to put teams away, especially in the first two games.  With 10 minutes left in the final group game is the wrong time to start playing with urgency.  The team lacked the chemistry of the 2006 squad with the old and new players struggling to get on the same page.  I’m trying to be objective here, but I really can’t hide how happy I am that Italy is out of the tournament.  A World Cup without such theatrical divers and cheaters is a much better World Cup in my opinion.

World Cup results – June 20

20 Jun

New Zealand notched the biggest “upset” of the tournament so far, earning a 1-1 draw with defending chanpion Italy.  The All-Whites struck early after Shane Smeltz poked home a free kick.  Later in the half, Daniele De Rossi further etched his name in my hate book.  He got his shirt tugged in the box before falling forward like he’d be shot and earning Italy a penalty. Sigh. Vincenzo Iaquinta converted the spot kick, but the Kiwis defense held fast to claim a famous 1-1 draw.  

Paraguay put itself in a good position to advance to the next round with a 2-0 win over Slovakia.  Enrique Vera notched a first half goal, while Cristian Riveros put the game away late in the second half.

In the day’s finale, Brazil put a 3-1 whooping on Ivory Coast.  Luis Fabiano struck twice and Elano scored once to give the favorites a 3-0 lead.  Didier Drogba pulled one back for Ivory Coast, but it was too little too late.  The game was not without controversy though as the chippiness escalated.  Kaka of all people ended up getting sent off after “elbowing Keita in the face” and by elbowing in the face, I mean Keita’s chest ran into Kaka’s elbow.  Horrid call to yellow card Kaka on the play, which ended up being his second of the day.  He’ll miss the final group game against Portugal, but it’s not a huge deal as Brazil has already advanced to the second round.

Group F results
Slovakia 0
Paraguay 2 (Vera 27, Riveros 86)

Italy 1 (Iaquinta 29 – pen)
New Zealand 1 (Smeltz 7)

Group G results
Brazil 3 (Fabiano 25, 50, Elano 62)
Ivory Coast 1 (Drogba 79)

Group F standings
Paraguay 4 (+2)
Italy 2 (0)
New Zealand 2 (0)
Slovakia 1 (-2)

World Cup results – June 15

15 Jun

New Zealand, of all teams, provided the most drama of the day. Slovakia had a 1-0 lead, thanks to a 50th minute Robert Vittek goal. In the waning seconds of stoppage time, Winston Reid headed in the tying goal for New Zealand. The day’s second game was billed as the battle between Ronaldo and Drogba. The end result? A drab 0-0 tie and a late substitute appearance from Drogba. Not exactly the stuff of legend. In the group G finale, Brazil notched a 2-1 win over North Korea. It took Brazil a while to break down the tough North Korean defense. Brazil’s breakthrough came on a stellar Maicon shot from the end line. Elano added a second less than 15 minutes later. North Korea then became the first losing team to notch a goal with a Ji Yun-Nam strike in the 89th minute.

Group F Results
New Zealand 1 (Reid 90+3)
Slovakia 1 (Vittek 50)

Group G Results
Ivory Coast 0
Portugal 0

Brazil 2 (Maicon 55, Elano 72)
North Korea 1 (Ji 89)

Group F Standings
New Zealand – 1
Slovakia – 1
Italy – 1
Paraguay – 1

Group G Standings
Brazil – 3
Ivory Coast – 1
Portugal – 1
North Korea – 0