Saturday, June 12, 2010

Group A opening games

My plan is not to provide a match report of each game but instead to provide a few comments/observations/talking points etc.

South Africa 1-1 Mexico

I found this quite an exciting open game as I expected. In the first 40 minutes Mexico were dominant but just couldn't score despite their many opportunities to do so. They had elected to start with Franco and Vela and not Hernandez which was a decision I disagreed with. They will probably continue with this starting lineup but I am just worried if they do that the pattern of Mexico being profligate in front of goal will continue. They seem to need a lot of chances in order to convert. The last 5 minutes of the first half saw a couple of excellent chances for South Africa with which they should have done better.

The opening goal of the tournament, in the second half, was a great way to get World Cup 2010 underway. It was a superb piledriver of a shot from Tshabalala of South Africa after the Mexican defence had been split open. South Africa had the better chances in the second half but Mexico got a deserved equaliser. Both defences looked vulnerable and Mexico gave South Africa far too many open spaces to work with. I wonder whether they should revert Marquez back into central defence rather than the holding midfield role.

The last ten minutes of the match was end-to-end stuff as neither team could fashion out a winner, which made for a good spectacle.

France 0-0 Uruguay.

This was a fascinating game. The big news before kick off was that the quality Uruguayan midfielder Gargano was not in the team and also that France were starting with Diaby ahead of Malouda. Henry, as expected, was on the bench.

The French did the most attacking and Uruguay were often sat in defence. Having said that, France fashioned limited clearcut opportunities and didn't really test out Muslera in the Uruguay goal. The best chance of the match fell to Uruguay, Forlan was unmarked about six yards out and stabbed the ball wide. Can't criticise Forlan too heavily though, he was Uruguay's best performer and the only one who looked dangerous. Suarez was very disappointing.

For France Diaby was my man of the match. He frequently glided past a number of challenges as if they weren't there, passed neatly and always looked threatening. (Ultimately then Domenech was vindicated for choosing Diaby ahead of Malouda although the word on the street is that Domenech and Malouda had a falling out).

I would like to know what happened in regard to the red card. I have no argument with Lodeiro's second yellow card - it was a clear yellow. But I don't know what he did to get his first yellow. It was the only yellow card of the game I had no idea what had happened for the player to receive one. Play was developing and it just flashed on the screen that Lodeiro had been given a yellow and I wondered at the time...why. I'm not saying he didn't deserve it, I just don't know. And I want to know.

Excellent backs to the wall stuff from Uruguay when they went down to ten men. I hope captain Lugano does not live to regret his silly yellow card for arguing with the ref (over what seemed like a soft free kick awarded to France in the dying seconds). He needs to be careful in the next game - he doesn't want to be suspended for their 3rd game against Mexico.

No comments: