World Cup 2010 Diary Part One

Sunday, June 20, 2010
* Italy draws with New Zealand, 1-1
– Italy initially looked very impressive. They play with a lot of calm and composure, and they were magnificent with their passing plays, both on defense and offense, the best I have seen so far among the teams. The problem is that despite them dominating possession and attempts, they just couldn’t seem to score. They kept attacking the All-Whites all game round, attempt after attempt … but just couldn’t get the ball in between the posts. I get the impression that the Italians play very well technically AS A TEAM, but just don’t have that extra individual skill that would enable them to dominate their opponents easily in terms of scoring. And to think this game was against a team ranked so far down compared to them. They are among the favorites, but the way this game ended up, I think its a wide open field out there for the championship.

* Brazil beats Ivory Coast, 3-1
– Wasn’t able to watch the match, but it seems Brazil was stretching its muscle and showing everybody who’s boss. After Germany’s second game meltdown, the name of game in this tournament is consistency, though. It still remains to be seen how consistent Brazil will be in the coming games.

Monday, June 21, 2010
* Portugal massacres North Korea, 7-0
– Surprised by the score, since North Korea was able to hold powerhouse Brazil to only two goals while scoring a goal on their own in their last game. Since the Nokors played so badly in this first televised World Cup game in North Korea, I expect some of the families of these players to be on their way to concentration camps after the Nokors play their last game. LOL

* Chile beats Switzerland, 1-0
– Chile dominated the possession and number of attempts, but it still took them 75 minutes to score their goal. The undermanned Swiss (Behrami got the red card on the 30th minute) weren’t losing most of the time, but they weren’t winning, either, due to their lack of offensive plays, just content on playing defense. In fairness, in the few attempts they made, some came mighty close.

* Spain beats Honduras, 2-0
– Well, at least Spain is living to its lofty billing, no more nasty draws, or gad forbid, losses.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
* South Africa beats France, 2-1
– The French initially played well, it didn’t look like the scandals were affecting their game, as they were stamping their class on the South Africans, with them gaining possession and attempts most of the time. But then suddenly the South Africans scored in the 20th minute off a corner kick. Then things went from bad, to worst, as a French player (Gourcuff) was given the red card afterwards, reducing the already embattled French team to only ten men. They never recovered, and so the FIFA ranked number 83 South Africans on their homecourt beat the number nine ranked France.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
* England beats Slovenia, 1-0
– England played much better, lots of attacks, and even close goals.
– Rooney continues to disappont, losing the ball a couple of times when challenged, looked very mediocre out there on the field. Undoubtedly the biggest flop in this World Cup. One wonders if he will ever regain his old form.
– Defoe was spectacular, probably the shortest, but also the quickest and fastest player on the field, scoring one goal, and had a couple more very close attempts.

* USA beats Algeria, 1-0
– I’m so darn happy to know that the USA, the team with undoubtedly the biggest heart in this World Cup, advance to the next round. If this were Philippine basketball, this team would be Ginebra San Miguel, with their never-say-die, give-it-100%-all-the-time attittude. At least we’ll see a little bit more of Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley and Altidore.
– This team is so unlucky with the referees. First, there was Coulibaly disallowing that shot against Slovenia, and another one on this game when Dempsey’s shot was disallowed due to a dubious offside violation call.
– Not only does the US advance, they are also on the top of their group.

Thursday, June 24, 2010
* Slovakia beats Italy, 3-2
– Wasn’t really expecting much from this game, mainly because I didn’t know much about Slovakia. But what a terrific game it turned out to be. So, after France, another Football giant falls.
– Italy wasn’t as fluid their game compared to the last time I saw them play. I think this was mainly because they were losing the challenges, and thus every time they attack, it was disrupted. The Slovaks just seemed more aggressive in the first half, to the point that they looked to be individually better than the Italians.
– The Italians normally played with a lot of calm and composure, but it backfired against them this time as they just didn’t seem aggressive enough. They were more aggressive in the second half, but still wasn’t enough to pull them thru.
– They did go out fighting, as even when behind by two goals, they went out and scored one. And even when Slovakia scored their third goal, they still went out and scored another goal. The game would’ve been tied, were it not for the damn offside rule again.
– I have now seen three goals all throughout the games that were nullified due to an offside violation.
– To add insult to injury, not only was Italy eliminated, they ended up at the bottom of their group.
– Lots of play-acting on both sides. A slight touch, and they go down as if half of their faces were torn off.
– Slovakia looked really good on the field, though. It’d be interesting to watch their next coming games.

Monday, June 28, 2010
Having just come from a country where they had three channels showing games or replays of the 2010 World Cup, its kinda hard to believe that they don’t have a single channel doing the same here in the Philippines. Okay, maybe my cable provider just sucks (Bacoor Cable TV), but, still, why can’t Solar show some love for Football and show the games live?

I think they have that on their Balls channel, but come on, that channel isn’t very accessible to the masses out there. Instead of showing games by the Minnesotta Timberwolves of an NBA season that was concluded weeks ago, why not the WC instead?

With this issue, I can sort of realize just how out of touch the Philippines really is with respect to the rest of the Soccer world. And just as I was starting to think that Basketball is a game for freak tall men. It seems in this country, the only way to follow a team sport event, is thru Basketball.

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