Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Cup Thoughts: Tuesday, June 22nd

South Africa 2, France 1

Despite the victory, it's an overall disappointing day for Bafana Bafana as they have become the first host nation not to advance out of the group stage in the World Cup. While they did get the results they needed throughout the day, the South Africans couldn't make up the goal differential despite playing good, hard aggressive soccer. Still, beating France is a pretty big accomplishment for this upcoming team, even though the French team has been unraveling since it got to the World Cup.

France showed their signs of discontent early, when Yoann Gourcuff was ejected via the red card in the 25th minute. They would eventually score a goal, their first of the tournament, in the 70th minute, but it was too little way too late as they without question delivered the most disappointing performance of this tournament. Nice showing for the host nation as they tied Mexico and beat France, but they still will have the distinction of not making it as the host team

Uruguay 1, Mexico 0

You never like to back in to the second round of play, but Mexico isn't too upset as they have still advanced to the second round. They tied South Africa with four points a piece, but advantage in goal differential (three) moved them forward. Nice showing for Uruguay in this cup so far, as they have looked pretty formidable since their disappointing draw with France in game one. These games though where both teams realize that they are more than likely to advance to the group stage no matter what the result are a little dull though at times, this one not any exception.

FINAL STANDINGS

Uruguay 7
Mexico 4
South Africa 4
France 1

Argentina 2, Greece 0

Outside of Brazil, I can't think of a stronger team in this tournament so far than Argentina. They have been keeping teams off the scoreboard but even if that changes, they have the best overall group of strikers in the Cup so they will outscore you every time. I liked a Bill Simmons quote from today, saying that Messi is better at soccer than any American pro athlete is better at their sport. This team is the real deal, and I feel bad zero percent that this tournament is finally rid of Greece. The best part of all is that this Argentina win (although their two goals weren't scored until very late) set up a clear path for my Nigerian Super Eagles to advance through, as I predicted. Would they.....?

Nigeria 2, South Korea 2

No, they would not. Things looked good right away for Nigeria as Kala Uche scored in the 12th minute, but South Korea answered back twice and took the lead. A penalty kick for Nigeria knotted things up in the second half, and then for the last twenty minutes it was about as entertaining as you can get. Nigeria was desperately trying to get a goal to advance, while South Korea was trying to keep them off the board so that they could claim berth to the round of 16. In the end, Nigeria only finishes the tournament with one point, while South Korea proves they will not be an easy opponent to knock off in the elimination stages.

FINAL STANDINGS

Argentina 9
Korea Republic 4
Greece 3
Nigeria 1

SECOND ROUND MATCHUPS

Sat June 26th - Uruguay vs. South Korea - 10:00am ESPN

Sun June 27th - Argentina vs. Mexico - 1:30pm ABC

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