Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World Cup Thoughts: Tuesday, June 15th

Cristiano Ronaldo and Anna from V. I think they look alike, so I made a side by side picture. Now on to some World Cup thoughts.

Slovakia 1, New Zealand 1

I finally wake up and stay awake for a 6:30am match, and it happens to be probably the least anticipated matchup of the whole World Cup. It turned out to at least be an interesting affair, although the game was scoreless at halftime. Still, that was quite the accomplishment for New Zealand, as they had never held an opponent scoreless in the first half of a World Cup game in their history. Granted, they don't make it to the dance that often, but good for them.

New Zealand actually had the upper hand in the early stages of the match, but then Slovakia put one in the back of the net care of Robert Vittek in the 50th minute. The side began to feel as if they were indeed going to get the three points and get out to an early lead in a group that includes Paraguay and Italy, but then out of nowhere the Kiwis, as they are called, tied things up about as late as they could have. Winston Reid connected on a header three minutes into stoppage time in the second half to give New Zealand their first point in their World Cup history. You think the USA tie was big? This tie for New Zealand may have been their greatest soccer moment, ever.

Rick Reilly Continues to Suck

So Rick Reilly wrote a column today about the World Cup, and what things he would like to change. Mainly, it's just a column about how annoying vuvuzelas are, which has become the most trendy thing to talk about ever. Now I know that Rick Reilly is an accomplished, professional writer making millions for what he does, but these are the lines he comes up with:

* (Hearing the vuvuzelas is...) like having a desk in the center cubicle at American Bee, Inc.

* My god, they should take them into the mountainous caves region of Pakistan and play them until Osama bin Laden comes running out, screaming, "OK, OK! I give!"

* As of Tuesday morning, in the first 11 games of this World Cup, there have been five ties. You will not see more ties at a J.C. Penney's Father's Day sale.

Seriously, I know that I'm not the best writer and that I often forget to do a little thing called proofread, but again, this is a guy that is an accomplished, professional writer making millions for what he does. Here's a fact I can't believe - he's been voted the National Sportswriter of the year eleven times. Eleven! I don't think I have to explain to you why his aforementioned jokes are so terrible. Nobody is worse at analogies than Rick Reilly, and I'm pretty sure that's the twelfth time I've seen him use the J.C. Penney's joke.

Ivory Coast 0, Portugal 0

I don't care what Reilly says, this was a game that ended up tied at zero and it couldn't have been more exciting (well, besides goals of course). In the early part of the game, it was Christiano Ronaldo that stole the show. Ronaldo hit the post in the 11th minute which proved to be the game's closest chance to a goal, and then ten minutes later earned a yellow card basically as a warning to stop flopping when he was hit. Ronaldo has a reputation of overacting a bit, and that was quite apparent as he spent half of this game on the ground.

It was the Ivory Coast though who actually outplayed Portugal, and it looked as if they would eventually be able to sneak one through the net, at least until Didier Drogba came on the pitch. Drogba is one of the best players in the world, but he did not start Tuesday because he had broke his right arm in a friendly last week. He did somehow play in this game, but when he came in with about 25 minutes to play, it seemed that the Ivory Coast attack stalled a bit. Drogba really never touched the ball either, although he did miss an opportunity in the box in stoppage time. With Brazil and North Korea also in this group, it's really going to come down to goal differential in these two teams' predicted losses to Brazil and predicted wins against North Korea.

Brazil 2, North Korea 1

They are the lowest ranked team according to FIFA in this tournament, but North Korea really didn't look that bad against Brazil. They held them scoreless in the first half before finally conceding two goals to the soccer giant, including a shot from a ridiculous angle by Maicon in the 55th minute. Brazil added another goal off the foot of Elano at the 72 minute mark to secure the victory, although it wasn't as if North Korea didn't put up a fight. NK was able to muster a goal in the 89th minute, and pressured pretty hard in stoppage time as well. But there was no upset on this day, and Brazil earned a hard fought victory.

Overall, this might have been the best day yet of the World Cup. We had a thrilling finish in the morning game, a well-fought scoreless draw for the second contest, and the first game this Cup in which the winner and loser of the game both scored goals. And we got a riveting column from Rick Reilly of course. Good day.


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