Monday, June 14, 2010

Slovenija - Forward in All Directions

An interesting opening weekend of World Cup 2010 action.  South Africa surprised the world and itself with a beautiful goal in the first game and almost hung on to a victory over Mexico before an unfortunate breakdown in their defensive posture.

Team USA survived a horrible opening 5 minutes, tied the game, and almost declawed the Three Lions of England with a victory in their opening game.  Both goalies in the game were spectacular.  USA's Tim Howard single-handedly kept his team in the game and England's Robert Green was over-the-top honest regarding his devasting mistake in letting the US tie up the game (he also made his own spectacular saves in the game to keep the tie intact).

Early Sunday morning, Slovenija came through with a 1-0 victory over Algeria, thanks to (shades of deja-vu) a goalie error.  The Algerians were at 10 men on the pitch at that point and Slovenia played apologetically for a while, seemingly embarassed to take advantage of their one man up position.  By game's end, Slovenia was on top of their group, a place they should enjoy thoroughly before they encounter Team USA this Friday.  But.. you never know.  Historically, 86% of the teams that win their first match go on to the next round.  While Slovenija is not known for their offensive prowess, defensively they're a wall so two ties in their next two games may do the trick.  I pity Algeria as they face England next, a team certainly fit to be tied at this point.  They'll be taking out their nation's frustrations on "Les Fennecs" (The Desert Foxes).   This Friday, England 4, Algeria 1.

The Serbia-Ghana game yesterday, a 1-0 victory for the African nation, was a great game to see.  Lots of offensive chances, much of the Slavic shoulder-shrugging by the self put-upon Serbs (who lost a player due to 2 yellow cards in the second half and then the game due to a penalty shot awarded based on a stupid hand penalty), and great dancing by the fans from Ghana.  The Serbs played admiringly well after being cut down to 10 players and almost pulled out a tie.  The Ghanians were strong to the attack despite a Gumby-like mid-defensive group.  Ghana next plays Australia this Friday.  The Aussies (Socceroos, they call themsleves...GEEZZZZ what a stupid name; I thought they would have dropped it from the last World Cup they played in....) were demolished by Germany, 4-Zip, on Sunday.  A very, very embarassing display of football.  I'd say Ghana over Australia, 2-0, which would almost guarantee Ghana's moving forward into the next round, a well-deserved advance in play.

I watched all of the games from the comfy couch of home.  Except for the England-USA match on Saturday, which I shoe-horned myself into Stoney's Pub, the only English pub in Delaware.  The small drinking establishment was packed, an 80-20 mix of Team USA fans to England fans.  The former grew louder and more ignorant as the game and the beers flowed on.  The latter grew glummer and more polite as England failed to put another goal past Howard after the first 5 minutes.  I was there for the game without any particular allegiances.  The level of football/soccer ignorance was depressing.  I could not believe how patient, hospitable, and lacking in sarcasm the English fans were to some of the come-latelys in the joint.  Better men (and women) than I, Gunga Din.

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I almost snored through that Slovenian goal... :-(
You know, a few months ago a (what was at that time) good joke was told on the sunny side of the Alps. It says Slovenes would drive to the Croatian border and when asked by Croatian border officials !Where are you going?", they'd say "To South Africa. And you?", grinning happily.
Well, if they keep on trembling on the assorted fields of South Africa instead of playing football, Croatians may come up with many better jokes and rightfully so.

They say you be singing "God Bless R. Green" nowadays, in America? :-))
 
Alcessa!
I'm appalled that you made such a derogatory comment. Looks like you won't get your shoes polished by the Prime Minister any time soon.

I simply thought that the Dragons were saving their fiery breaths for their next match against Team USA.

A brilliant move on their part.
 
Yeah, I may get polished soon if I go on saying ... the truth. :-)

My bet is: 1:0 for America. The Slovenian goalkeeper will simply do the Green. And then Slovenia will beat England. Ha.
 
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