Sunday, June 27, 2010

Argentina overpowers Mexico 3-1, and more pleas for technology

Maradona's hand of god goal
For the second time today, we see a situation where technology could've helped, it didn't help because FIFA doesn't allow it. It's funny, because back in 1986 when Maradona scored with his hand, video technology would've solved that enigma; so you'd expect that 24 years later the governing body of football around the world would add video technology, but I guess not...

Argentina - Mexico

Another match that started a bit tightly, but once it got going we saw some fantastic attacking play from both sides. Mexico started the better side, with an effort way far out from Salcido in the 8th minute which dipped and struck the crossbar, Mexico put Argentina on the back foot. But with time Argentina grew, they found a controversial goal in the 26th with Tevez who rarely scores at international level. Messi threads Tevez in with a through ball, Mexico goal-keeper Perez gets to it first but has it bounce up out of his hands, then Messi follows up to chip the ball to Tevez who is in front of the goal and clearly offside by about a meter. From that position the Manchester City striker nods in Messi's chip for the opening goal.

Mexico's Ricardo Osorio (R) fights for the ball against Argentina's Lionel Messi during the 2010 World Cup second round soccer match at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 27, 2010. REUTERS/Henry Romero (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Messi still unable to score this match
Referee Roberto Rosetti decides to talk the goal over with his assistant after a barrage of incessant Mexican protests all telling him to look at the screen. Rosetti talks it over and the assistant tells him that he didn't see the offside, but Rosettie knows that it's clearly offside by looking at the screen, but can't disallow it because of FIFA's rules against use of video technology. The Mexican players were not happy, some rough play from them as they tried to deal with Maradona's Argentina.

But El Tri just couldn't deal with Argentina, in the 33rd minute Osorio receives a back pass which he can't control and lays into the path of oncoming Higuain. Higuain has no defenders on him, he rounds the keeper and slots the ball into the back of the open net for Argentina's second. After halftime tempers were cooled and in the 52nd minute, we see a magical piece of skill from Carlos Tevez. From outside the box, Tevez makes space for himself and sends a rocket into the top right corner for what will be a contender for goal of the tournament.

Mexico got a consolation goal in the 71st minute with future Manchester United striker Hernandez who turns well to get into a position to blast the ball into the top of Romero's net to make the final score 3-1.

England demolished 4-1 by Germany

England's phantom goal in 1966
It was really interesting seeing England's build-up to the World Cup, everything about keeping Rooney fit, making sure the golden boy doesn't get injured, and playing a 4-5-1 around him like at Manchester United. Strangely enough, Rooney was terrible this tournament, if I were forced to give him an average rating for all four matches, it'd probably be something like a 3/10.

It's also really interesting to see a reverse situation of 1966, the year England won the World Cup thanks to a goal which didn't actually go over the line by Geoff Hurst. That 1966 final which in extra time England beat Germany 4-2 with a phantom goal is England's only World Cup glory, and yet again while many talked about the "golden generation" etc, England fail to achieve on the big stage.

June 27, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Germany v England FIFA World Cup Second Round - South Africa 2010 - Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa - 27/6/10..Miroslav Klose scores Germany's first goal.
Klose scoring Germany's first goal
Germany - England

The first 15 or 20 minutes weren't the most exciting, both teams were analyzing each other, scared to take risks or chances which could result in errors, but once things got going, it became a very exciting match. While Germany were passing and stroking the ball around looking to create wonderful through balls and silky slide passes, their goal came in a very "route 1" type of way. Goal-keeper Neuer boots the ball up to Klose who catches Terry and Upson asleep as he gets around them to slide and tap the goal past David James.

June 27, 2010 - Bloemfontein, South Africa - epa02226330 German Lukas Podolski scores the 2-0 against England's keeper David James during the FIFA World Cup 2010 Round of 16 match between Germany and England at the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 27 June 2010.
Podolski finishing for Germany's second
England were shell-shocked, a quick, powerful goal which immobilized the English until Germany got their second with Podolski. Beautiful silky one-touch triangle passing from the Germans which eventually releases Muller outside the box with no one on him, the young German remains cool and squares it to oncoming Podolski who finished between James's legs.

England eventually woke up as Upson scored with a header from Milner's cross, Neuer had come out to challenge for the ball, but the German goal-keeper missed it completely letting Muller head it in for England's first. Right after this Lampard lobs Neuer with a wonderful volley from outside the box which pings onto the bottom of the cross-bar, the ball bounces a foot and a half in and then pings again on the bottom of the cross-bar as Neuer quickly collects the ball. An obvious goal which the referee doesn't allow, and so for England it is 1966 reversed.

June 27, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Germany v England FIFA World Cup Second Round - South Africa 2010 - Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa - 27/6/10..England's Frank Lampard (Not Pictured) scores a goal which the referee Jorge Larrionda did not give.
Lampard's chip bouncing in the goal
In the second half we see a more convincing England, 57th minute, Lampard thunders a free kick onto the bar, but 10 minutes later Germany score their third. A well crafted counter-attack against a sleepy England allows 20 year-old Muller to strike from just inside the box, beating David James at the near post virtually ending the match. Germany had time to grab another goal, yet another crafted counter-attack with Ozil squaring the ball to Muller for the young German's second goal.

The game finished with German dominance, a 4-1 score-line which will resonate the message that just because the EPL is the top league in the world, doesn't mean that England has the top players in the world...


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