Thursday, June 17, 2010

France crash and burn with 2-0 loss to Mexico

Mexico have begun to realize their potential, while in my World Cup pools I've got Mexico first and Uruguay second, it seems like it might just happen that way.

Here's how Group A stands after Mexico's 2-0 win:

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

SOCCER/FUTBOL WORLD CUP 2010 FRANCIA VS MEXICO TRES PUNTOS DE ORO Action photo of Javier Hernandez of Mexico celebrating a goal, during World Cup 2010 game held at the Peter Mokaba stadium, South Africa./Foto de accion de Javier Hernandez de Mexico celebrando un gol, durante juego de la Copa del Mundo 2010 celebrado en el estadio Peter Mokaba, Sudafrica. 17 June 2010 MEXSPORT/OMAR MARTINEZ Photo via Newscom
France - Mexico

The first half started right away with some action, Giovani Dos Santos hit the inside of the post, tantalizingly close to the opening goal, but the action was called off for offside. However France were also able to build some good chances, but they were nothing compared to what the outstanding left-back was able to do, two great chances for him. And an unfortunate injury for Mexico, Carlos Vela had to be replaced by Pablo Barrera

In the second half, France were able to create a few opportunities with Malouda lashing a shot which Oscar Perez did well to save, but France were still as clueless as ever in the second half. It was substitute Javier Hernandez with the opening goal, he put Mexico in front in the 64th minute after beating the offside trap to perfection. The young 22 year-old then coolly rounded Hugo Lloris before tapping it into the back of the net for the opening goal. 

Mexico doubled their lead in the 79th minute after Eric Abidal slide tackled Pablo Barrera, earning himself a yellow, and Hugo Lloris a penalty to deal with. It was Blanco, the oldest player in the tournament at 37 who took it, a very long run up (and I'm talking very long) led to him slipping the ball just past Lloris's fingers at the bottom left corner. 
The Mexican fans went wild as the entire team celebrated their iconic win, and it's interesting to note how badly France played. Now Mexico and Uruguay just need a draw to both advance out of the group stages, but be sure that that game will be full of action and fire.
Just going to finish with a quote from Raphael Honigstein about France, "It takes an absolute genius to make so many talented players play this badly together"

Argentina win 4-1 and Greece comeback against 10-man Nigeria

Two great matches, finally it seems like the World Cup is lighting up with some goals and attacking play. We'll have to wait and see if Mexico - France is also an attacking match, but these two results are great anyways.

Here's how Group B looks after these two results:

Argentina            (6)
Korea Republic   (3)
Greece                 (3)
Nigeria                (0)

Argentina - Korea Republic

A great match in which Argentina continued to do what they do best, light up the stage with a brilliant Messi supported by a powerful attacking force. Veron didn't start, but Argentina had few problems creating goals, they caused an own goal after just 15 minutes. Messi's free kick swung in, and Park Chu-Young thought that the defender in front of him would hit it out, instead the ball was missed and it bounced off Park Chu-Young's foot into the back of the net.

Higuain had the second goal, a center-forwards perfect goal, heading it past the keeper after Burdisso's flick gave Argentina a 2-0 lead. It was right before halftime when Korea Republic scored with Lee Chung-Yong stealing the ball from Demichelis who was just unaware of the player behind him.

In the second half, Argentina continued to push and found the third, Messi's run finished with him hitting the post and Higuain tapped the rebound in from the far post. The fourth came in the 80th minute with Higuain completing his hat-trick with a nice header to bury Korea Republic at 4-1.

Greece - Nigeria

A must-win match for both of these teams, Nigeria showed to be a bit more solid against Argentina, while Greece looked like they'd have trouble after the loss to South Africa. Nigeria started the scoring with Uche, swinging the free kick in for the cross, but it was left untouched as it bounced into the net, a complete goal-keepers error by Tzorvas.

Disaster struck for Nigeria in the 33rd minute for Nigeria, Kaita received a direct red card in the 33rd minute after getting into a bit of a scrap with Torosidis. The Nigerian had kicked the Greek on the thigh to receive the direct red and send his team spiraling into chaos.

Greece got the equalizer right before halftime thanks to a deflection off of Salpingidis's shot which looped over to the opposite side it was heading for before. After that Greece pushed for the winner and eventually found it with Torosidis, the man fouled by Kaita. The Greek scorer picked up a rebound from a fizzing shot and neatly tucked it away for an epic win.


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