Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Uruguay wins 1-0, Mexico still go through and France lose 2-1

The train-wreck that is the French team has finally halted, coming last in the group, France is just about a complete disgrace.

Here's how group A stands after the final day of results:

Uruguay           (7)
Mexico             (4)
South Africa    (4)
France              (1)

Uruguay and Mexico are the teams that go through, with Mexico squeezing by thanks to their goal difference. This makes South Africa the first host nation not to get through the group stages.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez (L) scores past Mexico's goalkeeper Oscar Perez during a 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg June 22, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Luis Suarez's header entering the net for the winning goal

Mexico - Uruguay

In this match both sides could've done with a draw and they would've gotten through the group stages, but they both went for the win. An exciting match which should've been 1-0 to Uruguay in the 6th minute, when Suarez anticipated a defender but curled his shot past Perez just wide. Then in the 22nd Mexico's Guardado almost had the goal of the tournament, a rifled shot from 35 yards out struck the underside of the crossbar only to bounce out into the penalty box.

SOCCER/FUTBOL WORLD CUP 2010 MEXICO VS URUGUAY GOOL VITAL Action photo of Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrating a goal, during World Cup 2010 game held at the Royal Bafokeng stadium of Rustemburg, South Africa./Foto de accion de Luis Suarez de Uruguay celebrandpo un gol, durante juego de la Copa del Mundo 2010 celebrado en el estadio Royal Bafokeng de Rustemburgo, Sudafrica. 22 June 2010 MEXSPORT/DAVID LEAH Photo via Newscom
Suarez celebrating
Uruguay found their only goal before the half ended, Forlan with a ball out wide to Cavani who crosses for Suarez to neatly tuck away with a header. A clean and organized goal which put Mexico in a bit of trouble. In the second half, Diego Lugano had a fantastic header parried by an even better save from Perez who somehow got down low enough to push the header out as the defence then smothered the rebound shot by Pereira.

This is when Mexico began to push for the equalizer and they eventually created their best chance of the match, Barrera crossed the ball in for a completely unmarked Rodriguez who from inside the six yard box glanced the header wide. Uruguay were tough in defence and dangerous on the counter-attack, they held out until the final whistle to earn themselves the first spot in the group.

June 22, 2010 - Bloemfontein, South Africa - epa02216099 Bongani Khumalo (top L) of South Africa scores with a header the 1-0 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group A preliminary round match between France and South Africa at the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 22 June 2010.
Khumalo heading in the first goal for South Africa
France - South Africa

The French disaster ended up with Anelka being sent home and Evra not starting against South Africa, in Evra's place you saw Clichy at left-back. Things did not start well for France, 20 minutes in and from a corner Lloris goes up to catch the ball and instead flaps at it letting Khumalo head home South Africa's first goal of the match.

Just five minutes later things got worse with Gourcuff being sent off with a direct red for a high elbow as he was competing for a header, a really harsh decision in my opinion, but Gourcuff went in with force and a high elbow. Then in the 37th bad defending from the French let Mphela almost trip himself as he bundled the ball over the line for South Africa's second goal.

France's Yoann Gourcuff (8) fights for the ball with South Africa's MacBeth Sibaya during their 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match at Free State stadium in Bloemfontein June 22, 2010. The play ended with Gourcuff being given the red card. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Gourcuff's high elbow which got him sent off
In the second half South Africa continued to make chances with Mphela, who when released 1 on 1 with Hugo Lloris curled the shot onto the woodwork, just barely missing the 3-0 score-line. France got a consolation goal in the 70th minute, Sagna threading a through ball for Ribery to then square to substitute Malouda for the final goal of the 2-1 score.

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