Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup Thoughts: Friday, June 11th

When I woke up on Friday morning, I had but one goal. All I wanted to do when I came home from work was watch, it it's entirety, the game between South Africa and Mexico and I did not want to be spoiled on the outcome. With the game on multiple televisions at work, and my temptation to follow it live on the internet, I knew it was going to be hard. Also worrying me was the fact that many of my friends are into the World Cup, and I was afraid I'd get a revealing text message from them.

As I drove home from lunch to start at least watching the first half on DVR, I began to stroll through my texts from the morning. Yes, I was looking at texts while driving, it's a very bad habit of mine and it's surely going to get me killed. But that hasn't happened yet, so I'll continue. Here were the texts I was able to stroll through:

Mark: This is so awesome.

Shep: Dude! I'm all about the World Cup. Oh and fuck Nebraska.

Coyne: Just watched a full soccer game. Shoot me.

Okay, so not all of my friends enjoy soccer. But still, three texts about the World Cup and none of them spoiled the result for me, that's pretty good. Until I received this text, literally on the drive home:

Tucker: Ties are like kissing your sister. That's why the World Cup is less exciting than horse racing.

While I agree that horse racing is terrible, sometimes it is actually the tie games that are the most exciting games that soccer has to offer. Although that was both true and false with Friday's game. One of the games was an exciting game between host country and opponent that ended in a tie, the other was an absolute snoozer.

South Africa 1, Mexico 1

I figured that South Africa wouldn't get beaten in this game, as the emotion of 49 million South Africans was sure to carry this team towards success. It didn't look like that way early on, as I'm not even sure South Africa touched the ball in the first ten minutes. But they stayed with it, and got stronger as the game went on.

The first goal of this Cup was scored by Siphiwe Tshabalala in the 55th minute, in a goal that may end up going down as one of the most brilliantly placed goals in the entire cup, as he shot it across the goal mouth into the opposing upper 90. After a jubilant celebration from the host side, Mexico's Rafael Marquez eventually did tie it up at the 79th minute mark. The game finished with a tense ten minutes of play, including a near victory shot from Katlego Mphela that hit the left post in the 88th minute. So close to victory, yet so far. Still, South Africa gets a result, and avoids becoming the first host country to lose in their opening game in World Cup history. Great game overall, might end up being one of the best of the group rounds.

Uruguay 0, France 0

Then this game happened. Seriously, my main defense of why I love soccer is that no matter what you think about it, if you watch the World Cup you will understand how great the sport can be. But as Alexi Lalas said in the ESPN postgame interview, if you watched this game it almost appeared as if both sides were "bored" when they were playing. Both teams had just three shots on goal a piece, and it wasn't exactly the kind of game you'll be telling your kids about in five years.

So two game on Friday, two ties, which means that everyone in Group A is knotted up with one point a piece. As good as they played, I'm not sure if I see South Africa getting any more points, but if France and Uruguay continue to play as stale as they did on Friday, maybe the host country can pull of the miracle after all.

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