CommentaryUnited States

US Crash Out

June 26, 2010 — by Sean6

A rough day for the USA where nothing ever materialized in their offense third, while Ghana exploited a less-than-convincing centerback pairing that’s been shaky throughout the Cup. The boys simply looked tired on two-days rest, and with the customary goal given up within the first ten minutes of play, the struggle proved to be too much.

Who knows what the game might’ve been like if they hadn’t given up that early goal? Ghana was instantly content to sit back and block off routes into their half, and we’ve seen even the best attacking teams struggle to unlock stubborn, compact defenses during this tournament. The confidence and sharp movement we saw against Algeria was nonexistent, with poor touches and lofted balls bypassing the midfield the order of the day.

Surely it didn’t help that the entire support of Africa was behind Ghana. In fact, if it were any other team playing Ghana, we all would’ve supported them too. Now the Black Stars move on and the US is left adrift for another four years.

“The finality of it is brutal,” said Landon Donovan, who spent several long minutes alone on the US bench after the final whistle. “When you realize how much you put into it, not only for the last four years, but for your whole life. There’s no guarantee there’s another opportunity at that. It’s disappointing.”

The tournament continues, with some great matches yet to come. Tonight we lick our wounds, tomorrow we’re back!

Live Blog

Liveblogging Chile v Spain

June 25, 2010 — by Sean3

The tournament’s favorites before the start need a win today to ensure their passage to the knockout phases. Spain is sure to come hard and fast, and after that easy victory over the hapless Hondurans they may just have gotten back their swagger. They’ll need it against a Chilean side that has looked confident in their two wins. Will La Roja be able to pierce the usually-solid Spanish defense, or will the star-studded front line of Spain tear apart the South Americans? Chile need at least a point to guarantee advancement – expect all guns a’blazin!

Key men for Spain: every stinkin’ one of them.

Key men for Chile:  Matias Fernandez, and Carlos Carmona. Too bad they’re both suspended with two yellows a piece. Jorge Valdivia (Al Ain, UAE) will stand in for Fernandez, and Rodrigo Millar (Colo Colo, CHI) is probable for the midfielder Carmona.

All the action after the bump!

Live Blog

Liveblogging Brazil v Portugal

June 25, 2010 — by Sean9

In what promises to be the most entertaining match of Group of Death play, the 5-time cup winners take on their mother nation in what is essentially a showcase (as both squads are sure for the next round, unless of course Portugal lose and Ivory Coast win by 9 goals).

Lots of Portuguese being spit about the field, but we expect a pretty and clean game as Brazil are on the verge of finding their flair, while Portugal have quality peppered around the field, plus superstar gay icon Christiano Ronaldo.

We’ll cover the afternoon games as well, but for now, roubaram-me o relógio! Oops, we mean, aqui vamos nós!

Live Blog

Cameroon v Holland Open Thread (+ Japan v Denmark lookins)

June 24, 2010 — by Sean5

The Flying Dutchmen and the Indomitable Lions facing off right now! Open thread for comments, with Mr. Ganguli here in the second half to walk us through every pass.

[Update: Mr. Ganguli is here, but he most certainly will not be walking us through every pass. It’ll be more forest than trees..see below.

[2nd Update: Final scores:

Japan 3, Denmark 1
Netherlands 2, Cameroon 1

The Dutch finish 1st in the group & Japan advances in 2nd place, with the resulting Round of 16 matchups:

Netherlands v Slovakia (on 28-June)
Japan v Paraguay (on 29-June)


Sad but not unexpected developments from France

June 24, 2010 — by Simon4

Today, I decided to check out the French newspaper Le Monde to see what was new in the disaster which was the French excursion to South Africa.  At the same time I opened my online edition of the NYT to see general reactions to the World Cup.  Low and behold I see in both quite a bit.  But what was disturbing was the shift in rhetoric from one of technical and tactical abilities, having a lame duck coach, etc. to one of Race, Nationality, French Identity, and Patriotism.

The gist of the argument is that problem with the team had nothing to do with the age of players, the lame duck coach, but instead the fact that the team looked like the melting pot of French society, with players from many corners of the former French Empire—Senegal (Evra), Guyana (Malouda), Cong (Mandanda) to a name a few.  How could the foreigners, these not true French, be proud to wear Les Bleus.  They won’t sing Les Marseillaise! In fact the right-wing philosopher Finkielkraut, as well as right wing politicians, referred to the team as “a gang of thugs” and “black-black-black”, and equated them with the young men of Afro-French and Franco-Middle East descent that engaged in protest and riots that spread throughout France 5 years ago.  Never mind that stars of Les Bleus past and present included the likes of Zidane (Alegeria), Thuram (Guadalupe), Viera (Senegal) and other “immigrants”.