Posts Tagged ‘ghana’

The 2010 FIFA World Cup

The 2010 FIFA World Cup

The 2010 FIFA World Cup proved to be a tournament of firsts the competition was held on African soil for the first time whilst European Champions Spain clinched their maiden World Cup trophy.

Group Stage

The hosts South Africa kicked off the tournament with a 1 1 draw against Mexico who qualified from Group A with Uruguay as France, ravaged by infighting, finished bottom with just one point.

The United States claimed top spot in Group C above England as the one time champions struggled through their group games. The highlight moment came when England goalkeeper Robert Green blundered to let a weak Clint Dempsey shot trickle into the net.

In Group E, the Netherlands showed their intent by storming to three victories out of three in a group containing Japan, Denmark and Cameroon.

Underdogs New Zealand were unbeaten in Group F whilst Italy slumped to the bottom of the group with just two points but it was Paraguay and Slovakia who qualified.

Gelson Fernandes struck for Switzerland as they stunned Spain on the first match day in Group H but the European Champions recovered to top the group and set up a clash with neighbors Portugal in the second round.

Last 16

Ghana held African hopes in the last 16 and they delighted the home continent with an extra time 2 1 victory against the United States. Asamoah Gyan was Ghana hero with a 93rd minute goal.

Germany were in impressive form beating England 4 1 as young attacker Thomas Muller scored a brace.

Wesley Sneijder was the Dutch hero as they overcame a stubborn Slovakian side to set up a quarter final clash with Brazil who comfortably beat South American rivals Chile 3 0.

Uruguay and Ghana served up a match full of drama and controversy. The African side dominated and went ahead at the end of the first half thanks to midfielder Sulley Muntari. Diego Forlan, who finished the tournament as joint top scorer, drew Uruguay level in the second half, which sent the match into extra time. In the last minute, Luis Suarez handled a goal bound header on the line which gave Gyan the chance to make history but he struck the crossbar with the resulting penalty. Uruguay won the penalty shoot out 4 2.

Argentina, boasting Barcelona star Lionel Messi, were thrashed 4 0 by Germany who had veteran striker Miroslav Klose in form as he bagged two goals.

Spain again sneaked through with a 1 0 victory against Paraguay thanks to another goal from Villa. The win marked the Mediterranean nation progression to their first semi final since 1950.

Semi s

Giovanni van Bronckhorst gave the Netherlands an early lead over Uruguay with a 35 yard strike until Forlan leveled before half time. The Dutch pulled clear in the second half thanks to goals from Sneijder and Arjen Robben to progress to the final.

It was a dogged affair and in keeping with their run to the final, Spain again triumphed 1 0.

Nigel de Jong was lucky to not see red for a kung fu like kick on Xabi Alonso, whilst Dutch defender John Heitinga was sent off in the second period of extra time.

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta scored the winning goal following a flowing passing move just five minutes before a penalty shoot out to secure their first ever World Cup trophy.

fifa world rankings

fifa world rankings

If you want my personal opinion, then no, the USA will not make it out of their group bracket. But then again, stranger things have happened. At the last World Cup, the USA managed to defeat the “mighty” Portugal, so they have proven that they are capable of big wins in the World Cup.

However, this is a different kettle of fish. Italy have been known to slip up in group stages but this year, Italy are one of the favourites, are in form, and are likely to take at least 7 points from the 3 games. That leaves the US to battle Czech and Ghana.

Are the Czech Republic overrated? Not a chance. They were one of the strongest teams at Euro 2004, outplaying Germany, participating in the best football of the tournament in a 3 2 win over Holland, and narrowly losing to the winners of the tournament in the Semis. Czech are a dark horse to win the whole thing: they have Rosicky and Baros, Koller and Poborsky, Jankulovski and Grygera, one of the world’s best goalies (Petr Cech yes he’s even better than Keller, Howard and Friedel unfortunately), and they have the maestro Pavel Nedved of Juventus. They deserve to be rankes so highly even though the rankings mean NOTHING because Europe is the toughest place to qualify from and is the hardest place to get ranking points in.

The USA, on the other hand, may be ranked too highly. Like Mexico, they are in the top ten in the FIFA world rankings, but everyone knows that the US and Mexico are not amongst the world’s 10 best teams. Maybe 20. The reason is, North American qualifying is very easy and there are lots of easy wins against Caribbean nations in particular. Therefore, the US and Mexico accumulate a lot of rankings points and are ranked disproportionately highly.

Ghana are a force to be reckoned with. Along with Ivory Coast, they are the best African team at this summer’s cup, and may suprise everyone. USA will have a tough time avoiding their Italia 90/France 98 fate of failing to progress and failing even to win a game. The US does not have a good record on European soil; Czech and Italy are proactically playing home matches (both are Germany’s neighbours), and Ghana are full of world stars like Kalou and Michael Essien and Steven Appiah. They won the World U21 championship in the 1990s.

The US, like Ivory Coast/Serbia/Holland/Argentina, have a VERY TOUGH draw, almost unfairly so. I know you want to be optimistic, but chances are, the US will NOT progress.

Still, history has told us that anything can happen. Any two of these four teams will go through: I know you’re excited, but there’s no way of knowing or predicting anything accurately until the games are played. As Bruce Arena once said: until they find another way to decide these things, the games have to be won out on the field.

FIFA World Cup Soccer South Africa 2010 Germany Uruguay Battle for Third Place Paul Oracle Octopus

FIFA World Cup Soccer South Africa 2010 Germany Uruguay Battle for Third Place Paul Oracle Octopus

This weekends world cup fixtures will showcase the tussle between Group A and D on Saturday and Group E and Group H on Sunday. Funny but true that it is the first (Group A) and last (Group D)group of the first four groups (ABCD) and the first (Group E) and last group (Group H) of the last four groups that will be playing. So that leaves us with Saturday Groups A, D, E, and H. Today I officially decree that SADEH is short for South African Destiny Enthrones Holland.

Miroslav Klose summed it up best when he said that winning as a team is more important than establishing personal records during the world cup competition. Paul the oracle Octopus has selected Spain to beat Germany. However, predicting a winner is different from being the winner. It will indeed be a hotly contested game on a cold winters night in the nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. My gorgeous daughter will actually be attending the game; how I envy her context.

Never on a Sunday means that you have not made it to the final. The fact that Germany and Uruguay will be playing on Saturday does not mean that the game is of lesser value; just that it is the playoff for third and fourth place. I sincerely hope that that known villain and soccer handballer will not play in this game. He does not deserve a spot on the team. I think Uruguay will be better off without him.

Uruguay from Group A, drew with France, beat South Africa and Mexico, beat Korea and Ghana beat Ghana, was beaten by the Netherlands and so Uruguay plays on Saturday against Germany. Germany from Group D lost to Serbia, beat Australia and Ghana and lost to Spain and so Germany plays on Saturday against Uruguay.

It will indeed be a sad game as the nostalgia will finally dim. Folks will realize that all good things have to end. All the hype, all the rush, all the adrenalin, all the tension twill soon be over for the next four years. I would like to wish Brazil well as they prepare to host the next world cup in 2014. I am sure that they will take many lessons learned from us fun South Africans.

And then we turn our attention to Sunday. Wesley Sneijder says Holland from Group E must win against Spain from Group H because he wants his team to win. The form guide would indicate that Holland is the only unbeaten team to play this weekend. Right now I am more focused on the closing ceremony because my nerves just cannot take it anymore. I have no nails left and that includes toe nails.

No matter what you say, think or do with your vuvuzela, the giant vuvuzela on the unfinished highway in Cape Town has been certified by officials of Guinness as the biggest horn in the world. Some say the noise is a nuisance, others say it disturbs the birds others say it is just black noise.