Friday, June 11, 2010

France draw with 10-man Uruguay

The second match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup ended scoreless between Uruguay and France, a tight game full of tension and few scoring opportunities. For me, these first two games are going to be the types we'll be seeing this World Cup: open free-flowing attacking games, and tight tense games where no team wants to concede.

June 11, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Uruguay v France FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 - Group A - Green Point Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa - 11/6/10..France's Abou Diaby in action with Uruguay's Ignacio Gonzalez (L.
Uruguay - France

While many think that France will be a train wreck (For many reasons, just ask the Irish) at the 2010 World Cup, in their first match of the tournament, they weren't as bad as predicted. Uruguay on the other hand are being touted to exit the group, but they were relatively disorganized and disappointing their first match.

It started with excitement, Sidney Govou barely missing a tap-in in the beginning minutes of the match raised the tension of the match. Soon after, Diego Forlan's curving shot from the edge of the area was well saved by Lloris, but sadly the tempo of the match lowered noticeably after the first two chances. While France tried to conjure something with a very disappointing Ribery, Uruguay were only held up by Forlan, and his strike partner Luis Suarez seemed to be crumbling under the pressure with his repetitive offsides. While France's 4-3-3 was relatively standard and organized with Anelka doing well to remain the center point of the attack, Uruguay's 3-4-1-2 was a messy situation. The midfield was stretched too far, allowing Diaby and Gourcuff to rise up and join the attack as France dominated possession.

Referee Yuichi Nishimura rushes in to break up an argument between France's Jeremy Toulalan (14) and Uruguay's players including Diego Godin (C) during their 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match at Green Point stadium in Cape Town June 11, 2010.  REUTERS/Oleg Popov (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
While the second-half could've brought a renewed spark to a relatively boring game, it returned with the same slow tempo dominated by the Frenchmen. Then the substitutes added a bit of energy in the dying game, first the extremely promising 21 year-old Nicolas Lodeiro came on for Uruguay, adding a bit of faster tempo to Uruguay's game. Then, about 10 minutes later, Uruguay took off a very disappointing Suarez and put on Abreu, as France brought on Henry and Malouda for Gourcuff and Anelka.

It was 9 minutes from the end when Lodeiro was sent off for accumulation of yellows because of two reckless challenges, this allowed France to pile the pressure on the back three defenders of Uruguay. Gignac was brought on for Govou in the last five minutes, and it became time to see how disorganized France's attack could get. Although they kept possession, Uruguay were able to fend off any attacks with all eleven men in the box, eventually the final whistle sounded relieving the Uruguayan players from their defensive duties.

It was a tight match full of interesting things from the tactical perspective, but I hope that there are few more like this one. All of the teams in group A are tied with one point, if you're interested in the match report of the South Africa vs Mexico game, click here.

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