Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Cup 2010: What Have We Learned So Far?

OK, I'm going to mix my sporting metaphors here for a bit. We've gone once through the lineup at World Cup 2010 with each team having played at least once and it's time to play "What Have We Learned So Far?"
  • Not enough has been reported and commented about the weather in South Africa and its impact on the matches. It's been sunny, so I think those of us here in the summer countries are being deceived by just how cold it is in South Africa. I guess this is what it will be like for the 2014 Super Bowl in New York.
  • My southern hemisphere theory is intact! No northern hemisphere nation has ever won a World Cup south of the border, so to speak. So far, the South American teams are 5 wins, 2 draws and 0 losses at the World Cup (this includes Uruguay's win over South Africa yesterday). That's pretty spiffy. Must be the counterclockwise down-the-drain thing in full effect.
  • The African nations, however, are not holding up their end of the bargain. Ghana has the only win of the bunch with its 1-0 upset of Serbia. Ivory Coast gutted out a point against Portugal as did South Africa against Mexico. But overall, it's been a bummer and by the time we're at the second round, we may be fresh out of African teams to root for.
  • Goalkeepers. Oh boy. Where to go with this one? Well, they sure ain't shooting par; plenty of bogeys for this bunch. And I'm not so ready to give them the benefit of the doubt because of the ball. Robert Green is the poster boy for incompetence so far, but my guess is that all could be forgiven if England has smooth sailing through the rest of the first round and somehow get into the quarterfinals, maybe the semis. But what of Algeria's Faouzi Chaouchi? His half-hearted stab at Slovenia's only goal was a head-scratcher for sure. At the other end of the spectrum, we have the wondrous Tim Howard who singlehandedly kept the U.S. in its game against Green and England. Hopefully, Howard has some range of movement tomorrow against Slovenia with his injured ribs.
  • Hot chicks. I think Paraguay may have surpassed Brazil for the hottest World Cup babes. Just sayin...
  • Upsets. None until yesterday. Switzerland's 1-0 shocker against Spain is a victory for opportunism. Spain's dominance against the Swiss was overshadowed by its inability to finish against the upstart Swiss, who I predict will be dangerous for a while. Remember, this nation won the Under-17 World Cup not long ago. Spain-Chile should be a war.
  • The ball. OK, all I'll say is this (and I'll confess this isn't my line) but only in football would they allow a change to the ball in the sport's most important event. It's like, for the World Series, playing with a whiffleball.

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