Sportsball (World Cup 2010), Matchday Sixteen (Last 16)

Uruguay 2-1 South Korea

Good game to start out the last 16, played in terrible conditions. Bucketing rain and a terrible pitch. No chance for crisp, one touch football here.

Two very evenly matched teams. The two respective stars, Park Ji-Sung and Diego Forlan, had little impact which was a bit anti-climactic. Forlan is up and down in this tournament, two good displays and two bad ones.

Uruguay’s opener was a result of two terrible defensive errors: first, the SK keeper failing to get the ball, and the second, the defence failing to pick up Suarez’s run.

But Uruguay, more so in the second half, appeared to shut off. From the start of the second 45 to SKs equalizer, the Asian outfit were just pressing and pressing. Uruguay do not possess a good enough defence to play that kind of football and the result was inevitable.

But once the equalizer was in, Uruguay came back to life and Suarez came up with a great winner. The crowd at that end missed it, having taken cover from the deluge of rain. The ref had a less than average game, handing out numerous cards to SK, when Uruguay were committing just as many fouls.

Uruguay were good enough for the win, but with Forlan firing only on half cylinders, I don’t know how much longer they can last. More in a mo.

USA 1-2 Ghana

Awesome game to watch. Back and forth, real pulse pounding action. Ghana stunned the Yanks to start, a great grab at midfield, followed by a run and shot that left the US defence helpless. Ghana should have been more up at half time but, as in the group stages, lacked that cutting edge.

In the second half, either Ghana decided to just sit back, or the US started playing better. Either way, they deserved the equalizer when it came.

It’s becoming a bit of trend in this World Cup to go into full defensive mode after going ahead. It’s a very bad idea, especially if large amounts of the game remain. But that’s exactly what the US team, on the better foot, did. And Ghana came back and were dominating the game by the end of normal time. That continued on into early extra time, and then came the winner.

The US just seemed way too tired to really do anything major after that. A lot of long aimless balls that just didn’t trouble Ghana at all. Bad stuff from the Yanks who promised a lot at the start of this tournament.

Sorry, but you’re not a big team until you stop going out at this stage or before. This is not a comment directed at all American fans but a rather vocal, annoying minority who thought the USs Confed performance made them world beaters.

Ghana deserved it, just. They’ve torpedoed my previous complaint of being unable to score from free-play with two scorching goals. They’re Africa’s big hope now.

Uruguay stand in the way of them becoming the best African nation in World Cup history. Difficult game to call. Both teams had periods of dominance in their respective games today, but both also suffered from long periods of defensive play and frailty. In the end, I favour Uruguay, but it might take 120 minutes. Forlan’s due a good performance and that might just be the difference.

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