Sportsball (World Cup 2010), Matchday Twelve

Mexico 0-1 Uruguay

Nice display from the two sides, who wisely decided not to play for a draw to guarantee qualification. Back and forth the whole game with both sides creating some good chances. Uruguay just about deserved the win and kudos to them for not relying too much on Forlan today. Mexico should take heart from a battling performance and were unlucky not to equalize in the dying stages of the match.

As it was, both teams looked confident enough to go for it, so they must have been fairly sure they were both going into the next round anyway. Good game to watch, but it was clear that not a lot was on the line, bar the prize of avoiding the Argentinians in the next round. That’s something that Mexico might yet rue, not doing enough to win the group.

Uruguay take the top spot and with it, a handier second round tie against South Korea, a game I can definitely see them winning. After that it’s all up in the air.

South Africa 2-1 France

Ahem.

Cheerio, Cheerio, Cheerio!

Cherrio, CherriO, CherrioooH

Cherrio, Cherrio, CherriOhOh

CherriOhOh, Cherr-e-Oh!

God almighty, the French are a bad team. It’s obvious from the way they play, the lack of a strong team work ethic, their attitude towards each other on the pitch, the sheer lack of effort being displayed in all department.

Bafana Bafana were desperate for a miracle but they fell short. SA will be bitterly disappointed but after the Uruguay game, it was questionable whether they deserved to be in the competition at all. They came out battling today, but were helped immensely by opponents who just did not seem to care one bit.

First goal saw the French keeper in no mans land, while the second exhibited a display of truly shambolic defending, where Les Bleus seemed to have no idea what they were doing.

Gourcuff’s red card did seem harsh, but its hard to tell the difference between an 11 man or 10 man team when they’re playing this badly. They struggled on and got lucky with Malouda’s tap in, their only goal of the tournament as it turns out.

South Africa never really had much of a chance of getting into the next round, but they tried damn hard today. Thier fans will have to pick up and move on now, bitterly regretful of a wasted opportunity. With every African team facing elimination in the next few days, it’s an even bigger waste of what should have been Africa’s World Cup.

As for the French, well, I hope you enjoy that long, long, plane ride home, secure in the knowledge that your team of cheats, wasters and poisonous attitudes has become an absolute laughing-stock. Enjoy that feeling. Justice is done.

Argentina 2-0 Greece

It seemed like much of the pace of this game was dictated by what Greece knew was going on in the other. For the most part, they seemed to happy to sit back and let the Argentinians come at them, something that is extremely risky when you look at the talent the South Americans have.

So, the Argentinians came on and on, and the Greeks held out, but it was inevitable. The damn burst, Argentina went ahead, and the Greeks floundered. They had their own chances, the Greeks, but they were few and far between. They were counting on things going their way in the other game and they didn’t.

The Greeks can have few complaints about their situation. They took the chance on sitting back and it cost them. Argentina will go and face an interesting challenge in Mexico, one I think they can overcome to advance. Time will tell.

South Korea 2-2 Nigeria

Another back and forth game, but it was the Koreans who were dictating the pace the entire time. At the start they held back, thinking a draw would be enough; it backfired when the Africans went ahead. They pressed forward, equalized with a scrappy header, then went ahead with an excellent free kick.

Then they sat back again, and Nigeria came on and on. A series of baffling misses and a converted penalty set up a nervy finale, but it never seemed like Nigeria could steal it. SK were in charge.

South Korea will take on Uruguay next round and I feel that Forlan and co will have their number in the second round. Better attack, hungrier. The Koreans are fast but have fallen in quality since the first match against Greece.

How did my predictions of the group stages fare? Let’s find out!

Group A

I predicted:             Result

Mexico                    Uruguay
South Africa            Mexico
Uruguay                  South Africa
France                    France

1 Position right, 1 qualifier right

Group B

I predicted               Result

Argentina                 Argentina
South Korea             South Korea
Nigeria                     Greece
Greece                     Nigeria

2 Positions right, 2 Qualifiers right

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