Davide Who? A Question all Leeds United fans asked themselves when the South African striker was given a trial during the summer of 2009. It began a search scrolling through Google looking for reports or YouTube clips of who Davide Somma was or even a short clip to see him play. Somma remained a mystery as most searches returned limited results.

Born in Johannesburg, he moved to America at the age of 12 and began his football career with college team Tyler Apaches. After a short time in the States he moved to Spain to join the youth set up at Regional side UD Logrones, the red tape was quickly cut through as he help Dual-Nationality with an Italian passport his dream of playing European Football was a step closer.

That passport came to great use when in 2004 he signed for Italian club Perugia. Perugia at the time had ambitions to dominate Serie A and made some extraordinary signings including Jay Bothroyd. Davide never got a game in his first year at Perugia and was quickly released.

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My challenge to watch every match in full has failed, just found it impossible to watch matches when I know the score, who scored and what minute, the excitement just isn’t there. I managed the South Africa v France game, Nigeria v South Korea, 2nd half of Argentina v Greece and the extended highlights of Mexico v Uruguay, not a bad effort, so some reports from now on will be more sketchy than others.

For me the knockout stage starts here, for the next 4 days 4 teams will end the day eliminated for the World Cup, such a shame that today saw Bafana Bafana exit the tournament, but they leave with their heads held high.

MEXICO 0   URUGUAY

1

      Luis SUAREZ (43′)  
         
1.Oscar PEREZ     1.Fernando MUSLERA  
2.Francisco RODRIGUEZ     2.Diego LUGANO  
3.Carlos SALCIDO     4.Jorge FUCILE - Y  
4.Rafael MARQUEZ     6.Mauricio VICTORINO  
5.Ricardo OSORIO     7.Edinson CAVANI  
6.Gerardo TORRADO     9.Luis SUAREZ OUT – 85
9.Guillermo FRANCO     10.Diego FORLAN  
10.Cuauhtemoc BLANCO OUT – 63   11.Alvaro Pereira OUT – 77
15.Hector MORENO OUT – 57   15.Diego PEREZ  
17.Giovani DOS SANTOS     16.Maximiliano PEREIRA  
18.Andres GUARDADO OUT – 46   17.Egidio AREVALO  
         
Subs     Subs  
7.Pablo BARRERA IN – 46   19.Andres SCOTTI IN – 77
8.Israel CASTRO – Y IN – 57   20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ IN – 85
14.Javier HERNANDEZ - Y IN – 63      

MY THOUGHTS

Looked a decent game from the highlights, Uruguay just shading it in performance and goals scored, quite a few good chances, Suarez, Pereira, Victorino all could have opened the scoring but it took a magnificent ball from Cavani from the right and Luis Suarez met it was a perfect header, his first goal, and the goal that put Uruguay in the driving seat.

Mexico did react Andres Guardado had a ambitious try for 35 yards only to see it come off the underside of the crossbar, dos Santos looked very busy again, however 3rd game in a row where there has been no final ball from him, maybe that’s what he lacks, Francisco Rodriguez had a absolute great chance to equalise, but couldn’t steer the header past Muslera.From the highlights it looked like Fucile has a great game saw examples of 3 really good tackles.

It was good to see both teams going for it, battling for 1st place, and both teams deserve to go through.

FRANCE 1   SOUTH AFRICA 2
Florent MALOUDA (70′)     Bongani KHUMALO (20′)  
      Katlego MPHELA (37′)  
         
1.Hugo LLORIS     1.Moneeb JOSEPHS  
2.Bakari SAGNA     3.Tsepo MASILELA  
5.William GALLAS     4.Aaron MOKOENA  
7.Franck RIBERY     5.Anele NGCONGCA OUT – 55
8.Yoann GOURCUFF – R     6.MacBeth SIBAYA  
9.Djibril CISSE OUT – 55   8.Siphiwe TSHABALALA  
11.Andre Pierre GIGNAC OUT – 46   9.Katlego MPHELA  
17.Sebastien SQUILLACI     10.Steven PIENAAR  
18.Alou DIARRA OUT – 82   17.Bernard PARKER OUT – 68
19.Abou DIABY - Y     20.Bongani KHUMALO  
22.Gael CLICHY     23.Thanduyise KHUBONI OUT – 78
         
Subs     Subs  
10.Sidney GOVOU IN – 82   11.Teko MODISE IN – 78
12.Thierry HENRY IN – 55   2.Siboniso GAXA IN – 55
15.Florent MALOUDA IN – 46   18.Siyabonga NOMVETE IN – 68

MY THOUGHTS

This was the game that everyones eyes were on, a goal for either Uruguay or Mexico and a 5 nil victory for South Africa would see the wonderful fairytale story and see Bafana Bafana progress to the Last 16.

They couldn’t have asked for a better start, probably against the run of play they won a corner, Lloris flopped and Khumalo rose highest and headed the ball into the net, Gourcuff was then sent off for an elbow in Sibaya face, harsh decicsion but adding to SA’s cause, 8 minutes before Half Time they were 2-0 up, Modise found space on the left and crossed the ball for Mphela despite a attempted clearance from Clichy, Mphela managed to bundle the ball over the line.

Unfortunately this was the cloest they got to advance, the second half was a tighter affair and they couldn’t add to the tally, and it was France that scored, Ribery charged down the left and he crossed for Florent Malouda he scored France’s only goal of the World Cup.

There is noone I would like to pick out from this French team, it was another poor performance, and Laurent Blanc has lots of work to do.

South Africans should hold their head high today, a great performance showed passion and desire and maybe just lacked the ability to follow through on a great start, Tshabalala was busy and I really like the look of him and would love to see him in Europe Italy/Spain perhaps, Mphela played well, akin to his performance in the first game against Mexico and I was glad he got his goal. Sibaya and Khuboni started in the middle and showed a good account for themselves, good passing and strength, Pienaar didn’t have a great game, and has not had a great World Cup which is a big shame.

A really exciting group, going down to the last minutes, you have to say the best two teams have gone through, it is always a shame to see the hosts going out, I will miss the pre-match sing-a-long.

NIGERIA

2

 

KOREA REPUBLIC

2

Kalu UCHE (12′)     LEE Jung Soo (38′)  
Yakubu AYEGBENI (69′PEN)     PARK Chu Young (49′)  
         
1.Vincent ENYEAMA – Y     18.JUNG Sung Ryong  
2.Joseph YOBO OUT – 46   4.CHO Yong Hyung  
4.Nwankwo KANU OUT – 57   7.PARK Ji Sung  
5.Rabiu AFOLABI     8.KIM Jung Woo  
6.Danny SHITTU     10.PARK Chu Young  OUT – 93
8.Yakubu AYEGBENI OUT – 70   12.LEE Young Pyo  
12.Kala UCHE     14.LEE Jung Soo  
13.Yussuf AYILA – Y     16.KI Sung Yueng OUT – 86 
17.Chidi ODIAH     17.LEE Chung Yong  
19.Chinedu Ogbuke OBASI – Y     19.YEOM KI Hun  OUT – 63
20.Dickson ETUHU     22.CHA Du Ri  
         
Subs     Subs  
9.Obafemi MARTINS IN – 57   5.KIM Nam Il – Y IN – 64
18.Victor OBINNA IN – 70   13.KIM Jae Sung IN – 87
21.Uwe ECHIEJILE IN – 46   15.KIM Dong Jin IN – 93
         

MY THOUGHTS

Really enjoyed this game, 2 teams battling for a place in the last 16 and it showed, a back and forward game, Nigeria started the better of the two and were in charge, South Korea fell asleep for a second Odiah charged down the right, crossed the ball in, Cha Du-Ri was left sleeping at the back post and Kalu Uche was there to finish it off. I expected Nigeria to charge on with the wind in their sails this wasn’t to be, 7 minutes before half time Korea won a free kick near the byline, Celtic’s Ki played in a lovely ball everyone missed it but Lee Jung-Soo, he stooped to head it, but it bounced off his shin and into the net, Korea back in the qualification place.

Korea came out in the 2nd half looking in charge and their midfield was out playing the Nigerians, and it was Park Cho-Young that grabbed the second, a free kick 25 yards out, Enyeama took a step to his right, behind his ball and Park curled the ball into the bottom corner, great free-kick but you have to point blame at the keeper, that was has area to cover.

We then saw the worst miss of maybe not just the World Cup but of all time, Obasi beat his man down the left crossed the ball, Yakubu was unmarked 4 yards from goal and he managed to put the ball wide that old cliché “easier to miss” doesn’t do it justice, 5 mins later Nigeria won a penalty, substitute Kim Nam-Il got beat  on the right and he blatantly kicked the legs away from Obasi, no doubt a penalty, I was shocked that Yakubu stepped up to take it, but credit to him, he calmly put the ball past Jung and brought the game level, one more goal and Nigeria would be through. It wasn’t to be though, Korea saw the game out and booked a place in the Last 16 for the first time in a tournament outside their own country.

Some good performances Yakubu was lively Uche and Obasi had a lot of success on the wings, Yussuf was a battler in the middle of the park and was surprised he made it to 41 minutes without being booked.

Cho and Lee in defence looked impressive again it was a shame the fullbacks didn’t back them up and that’s where the goals came from.

The midfield trio of Park, Ki and Kim again impressed, they very rarely lost the ball and can all pick a pass, which is then backed up with the pace of Lee Chung-Yong on the right wing and the tireless running of Park Cho-Young he has had a great World Cup so far, always gives the Centre Backs he plays against a game and cause problems.

I wanted South Korea to go through and I’m glad they held on, noone can say they don’t deserve it.

GREECE 0   ARGENTINA 2
      Martin DEMICHELLIS (77′)  
      Martin PALERMO (89′)  
         
12.Alexandros TZORVAS     22.Sergio ROMERO  
5.Vangelis MORAS     2.Martin DEMICHELIS  
6.Alexandros TZIOLIS     3.Clemente RODRIGUEZ  
7.Georgios SAMARAS     4.Nicolas BURDISSO  
8.Avraam PAPADOPOULOS     5.Marco BOLATTI – Y  
10.Georgios KARAGOUNIS – C OUT – 46   8.Juan VERON  
11.Loukas VYNTRA     10.Lionel MESSI  
15.Vasileios TOROSIDIS OUT – 55   15.Nicolas OTAMENDI  
16.Sotirios KYRGIAKOS     16.Sergio AGUERO OUT – 77
17.Theofanis GEKAS     19.Diego MILITO OUT – 80
21.Konstantinos KATSOURANIS – Y OUT – 54   20.Maxi RODRIGUEZ OUT – 63
         
Subs     Subs  
3.Christos PATSATZOGLU IN – 55   7.Angel DI MARIA IN – 63
4.Nikos SPIROPOULOS IN – 46   18.Martin PALERMO IN – 80
18.Sotiris NINIS IN – 64   23.Javier PASTORE IN – 77

MY THOUGHTS

From the Greeks tactics and performance on show you would have thought a draw would have been enough for them to go through, not the case, they had to win, I would guess the tactics were keep it level for 70 minutes and then have a go, not the greatest spectacle but for 77 mins it worked.

Messi was manmarked by Papadopoulos who did a great job in keeping the Wonderkid under wraps and frustrated him. Veron had a good game with Messi tied up he took charge on the ball trying to control the game, still has classs on the ball but couldn’t find a better pass, Clemente Rodriguez played very well on the left, always looking to get forward and attack but without compromising his position most attacks that led to a shot came through Clemente.

Argentina broke the deadlock with 13 minutes to go, the corner came in Demichelis got his head to it, it was blocked but he managed to get the second attempt and this time it was a goal, a much deserved Argentina goal. Then just before the end a bit of a World Cup moment 36 year old Martin Palermo had come on, and with nearly his first touch scored his first World Cup goal, Messi had made a great run, his shot blocked it fell to Palermo and he sidefooted the ball past Tzorvas, you could see the delight on his face and the rest of his teammates too, a nice touch.

So Argentina win the group and South Korea in second, undoubtably the best two teams in the group, that sets up the last 16 matches of ARGENTINA  v MEXICO and URUGUAY SOUTH KOREA should be two good game, Argentina v mexico could be a classic, two attacking teams hopefully going at it, and it also means either Uruguay or South Korea will be in the last eight, what an incentive that is, I would predict victories for Argentina and Uruguay but the way this World Cup is going don’t rule out the upsets.

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Personally the most disappointing day of the World Cup for me, was back at work today, so having to watch the games while working is not the best way to assess players and how they play, my plan was to record the games and watch them all back, however leaving the house today I forgot to set the recording, so the South Africa v Uruguay game, is the only one I’ve got to watch in all it’s HD glory, and it’s hard to watch games when you already know the score and in an office of football fans, so just gonna have to bear with it and watch as much as I can.

HONDURAS

0

 

CHILE

1

         
      Jean BEAUSEJOUR (34′)  
         
18.Noel VALLADARES     1.Claudio BRAVO  
2.Osman CHAVAZ     3.Waldo PONCE  
3.Maynor FIGUEROA     4.Mauricio ISLA  
7.Ramon NUNEZ OUT – 78   6.Carlos CARMONA – Y  
8.Wilson PALACIOS - Y     7.Alexis SANCHEZ  
9.Carlos PAVON OUT – 60   8.Arturo VIDAL OUT – 81
13.Roger ESPINOZA     10.Jorge VALDIVIA OUT – 87
17.Edgar ALVAREZ     14.Matias FERNANDEZ - Y  
20.Amado GUEVARA OUT – 66   15.Jean BEAUSEJOUR  
21.Emilio IZAQUIRRE     17.Gary MEDEL  
23.Sergio MENDOZA     20.Rodrigo MILLAR OUT – 52
         
Subs     Subs  
1.Ricardo CANALES     2.Ismael FUENTES  
4.Johnny PALACIOS     5.Pablo CONTRERAS IN – 81
5.Victor BERNARDEZ     9.Humberto SUAZO  
6.Hendry THOMAS IN – 66   11.Mark GONZALEZ IN – 87
10.Jerry PALACIOS     12.Miguel PINTO  
11.David SUAZO     13.Marco ESTRADA  
12.Georgie WELCOME IN – 60   16.Fabian ORELLANA  
14.Oscar Boniek GARCIA     18.Gonzalo JARA IN – 52
15.Walter MARTINEZ IN – 78   19.Gonzalo FIERRO  
16.Mauricio SABILLON     21.Rodrigo TELLO  
19.Danilo TURCIOS     22.Esteban PAREDES  
22.Donis ESCOBER     23.Luis MARIN  

MY THOUGHTS:

Was really impressed with the football Chile played today, they 3-1-3-3 formation Bielsa plays worked an absolute treat, when they were going forward at times the man on the ball had 6 players in front of him to pass to, the players always kept moving, the passing and movement was great, Honduras did their best and showed they are no light-weights trying to hit Chile on the break whenever they could, they just didn’t have the quality to take advantage.

Valladares made one of the best saves not even in this tournament but EVER! Chile looked certain to make it 2-0 but Valladares’s diving save kept his team in the game giving them a chance to earn a point, however his efforts were in vain, the Premier League duo of Palacios and Figueroa weren’t impressive Maynor playing at Centre Back and not on the left as usual, Honduras missed the talents of David Suazo the pacey stiker would have made a big difference.

Can’t say how much Chile impressed me today Sanchez, Valdivia, Fernandez and Vidal all played superbly, Valdivia deputising for qualification top scorer Humberto Suazo impressed never seen him before, but he looked more like a playmaker than a striker, coming off the front to create chances, the best player on the pitch was Alexis Sanchez, fast, tricky very very skillful he was a trouble for the Hondurian’s all game, was unlucky not to score, but if he plays like that in the next two games, I can’t see him not scoring.

SPAIN

0

 

SWITZERLAND

1

         
      Gelson FERNANDES (52′)  
         
1.Iker CASILLAS     1.Diego BENAGLIO – Y  
3.Gerard PIQUE     2.Stephane LICHSTEINER  
5.Carles PUYOL     4.Philippe SENDEROS OUT – 36
6.Andres INIESTA OUT – 77   6.Benjamin HUGGEL  
7.David VILLA     7.Tranquillo BARNETTA OUT – 92
8.XAVI     8.Gokhan INLER  
11.Joan CAPDEVILA     10.Blaise N’KUFO  
14.Xavi ALONSO     13.Stephane GRICHTING – Y  
15.Sergio RAMOS     16.Gelson FERNANDES  
16.Sergio BUSQUETS OUT – 61   17.Reto ZIEGLER – Y  
21.David SILVA OUT – 62   19.Eren DERDIYOK OUT – 79
         
Subs     Subs  
2.Raul ALBOIL     12.Marco WOEFLI  
4.Carlos MARCHENA     21.Johnny LEONI  
9.Fernando TORRES IN – 61   3.Ludovic MAGNIN  
10.Cesc FABERGAS     5.Steve VON BERGEN IN – 36
12.Victor VALDES     14.Marco PADOLINO  
13.Juan MATA     15.Hakin YAKIN – Y IN – 79
17.Alvaro ARBELOA     18.Albert BUNJAKU  
18.PEDRO IN – 77   20.Pirmin SCHWEGLER  
19.Fernando LLORENTE     22.Marco EGGIMANN IN – 92
20.Javi MARTINEZ     23.Xherdan SHAQIRI  
22.Jesus NAVAS IN – 62   9.Alexander FREI  
23.Pepe REINA     11.Valon BEHRAMI  

MY THOUGHTS:

Well I don’t think anyone predicted this score today, a definite coupon buster, Spain threw pretty much everything at the Swiss defence 63% possession and 22 shots on goal, usually would be enough to win any match, however the defence unlike the cheese didn’t have any holes in it. Lichtsteiner, Von Bergen, Gritching and Ziegler were superb the whole game stopping the Spanish Armada finding any clear cut chances, most shots that got through were luckily aimed straight at keeper Benaglio.

Barnetta, Inler and Fernandes worked tirelessly in the midfield in defence and going forward, and when the chance arose Fernandes was there to snatch the dream start from the Spanish, N’Kufo played the target man job well causing Puyol and Pique problems and helping the team break forward.

Spain at times bombarded the Swiss box, Iniesta played very well bamboozaling the defence at times just unable to find that killer pass, Xavi Alonso played pretty well controlling the midfield most of the game and also rattled the crossbar with a rocket of a shot, Villa looked very isolated upfront on his own, not getting the service, there comes a time when crossing the ball into the middle of two tall centre backs just isn’t the answer anymore but Spain kept trying, Torres when he came on looked at about 60% fitness, I beleive Spain wouldn’t have tried him out till at least the 3rd group game.

Going to be very hard for Spain to win the group now and a potential meeting with Brazil could be on the horizon, and he would all love that.

SOUTH AFRICA

0

 

URUGUAY

3

         
      Diego FORLAN (24′, 80′ PEN)  
      Alvaro PEREIRA (90′ + 5)  
         
16.Itumeleng KHUNE – R     1.Fernando MUSLERA  
2.Siboniso GAXA     2.Diego LUGANO  
3.Tsepo MASILELA     3.Diego GODIN  
4.Aaron MOKOENA     4.Jorge FUCILE OUT – 71
8.Siphiwe TSHABALALA     7.Edinson CAVANI OUT – 89
9.Katlego MPHELA     9.Luis SUAREZ  
10.Steven PIENAAR – Y OUT – 79   10.Diego FORLAN  
11.Teko MODISE     11.Alvaro Pereira  
12.Reneilwe LETSHOLONYANE OUT – 57   15.Diego PEREZ OUT – 90
13.Kagisho DIKGACOI – Y     16.Maximiliano PEREIRA  
20.Bongani KHUMALO     17.Egidio AREVALO  
         
Subs     Subs  
1.Moneeb JOSEPHS IN – 79   5.Walter GARGANO IN – 90
5.Anele NGCONGCA     6.Mauricio VICTORINO  
6.MacBeth SIBAYA     8.Sebastian EGUREN  
7.Lance DAVIDS     12.Juan CASTILLO  
14.Matthew BOOTH     13.Sebastian ABREU  
15.Lucas THWALA     14.Nicolas LODEIRO  
17.Bernard PARKER     18.Ignacio GONZALEZ  
18.Siyabonga NOMVETE     19.Andres SCOTTI  
19.Surprise MORIRI IN – 57   20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ IN – 71
21.Siyabonga SANGWENI     21.Sebastian FERNANDEZ IN – 89
22.Shu-Aib WALTERS     22.Martin CACERES  
23.Thanduyise KHUBONI     23.Martin SILVA  

MY THOUGHTS:

Not the best game ever but a fantastic night for Uruguyans, Forlan has played 2 fantastic games and led his team to potentially a place in the last 16, Forlan’s slightly deflected shot opened the scoring and broke South African hearts, the Bafana Bafana never recovered from this, they just never got going at any stage, the fire from the opening game was just never there, the cold Pretoria air seemed to cool down the hosts.

Tshabalala tried his best in the first half tryin to be the spark in the team, but a few shots he had went wayward, after this he went as cold as the air night, Pienaar and Modise were very quiet, Letholonyane and Dikacgoi were solid for most of the game but Dikacgoi the Fulham man lost his desire after his booking and never looked the same.

With the likes of Bernard Parker and Siyabonga Nomvete you would think Pareira would have changed it up and gave the hosts a chance, but he never did and now a win against France and other results going their way will save South Africa from becoming the first home nation from going out in the Group Stage.

The back four of Uruguay looked more comfortable than the three that played against France, with Diego Perez superb as the anchor man this gave the platform for Forlan, Suarez and Cavani to forge forward, as much as Forlan impressed Suarez was ineffectual, also going down under challenges too easily, I have been expecting more from the Ajax man, Cavani played better, looking to link up with his attack partners troubled the South African back line, a little flick on that helped Suarez win the penalty, but it was all about Forlan, he was superb, leading his team, the oldest man on the pitch was a pillar of experience, his goal spurnned himon, he stayed calm in the 5 minutes he had to wait to take his penalty in which he dispatched expertly, top scorer in the tournament, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got 4 or 5 in South African.

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2 games gone 62 to go, and I think we are all hoping they get a hell of a lot better than yesterday’s performances, the festivities in Johannesburg have been building up ever since the World Cup was awarded to South Africa, a yesterday was a celebration for the South African people, a colourful opening ceremonyand what is going to be a constant wave of noise from the Vuvuzuela’s all there to cheer one their country in the Opening game of the 2010 World Cup, there was something missing though.

After the opening World Cup concert on Friday tradgedy struck the Mandela family and Nelson’s great-Grandaughter was hit by a car and was killed, which meant the great man would not attend the opening game, my thoughts go out to the whole Mandela family, such a shame that this great moment in African history could not be greeted by a Inspirational leader.

The games must go on though, and the Mexican and South African players came out of the tunnel, the South African players singing and dancing showing the great spirit of their country, and after the 10 minute long speaches from Sepp Blatter and Jacob Zuma we were ready to go.

Looking back it was a decent game Mexico started the brighter, but South Africa came back into it which helped the game, then after Mexico equalised it looked like they could steal all the points, but a draw in the end suits both teams and good to start with a point on the board.

SOUTH AFRICA: 16 Khune – 2 Gaxa, 4 Mokoena, 15 Thwala, 20 Khumalo – 12 Letsholonyane, 13 Dikgacoi, 8 Tshabalala, 11 Modise, 10 Pienaar – 9 Mpehla
Subs – 3 Masilela on for Khumalo (45mins), 17 Parker on for Pienaar (83mins)

MEXICO: 1 Perez – 2 Rodriguez, 3 Salcido, 5 Osorio, 12 Aguilar – 4 Marquez, 6 Torrado, 16 Juarez – 11 Vela, 17 dos Santos, 9 Franco
Subs – 18 Guardado on for Aguilar (56mins), 10 Blanco on for Vela (69mins), 14 Hernandez on for Franco (73mins)

Goals: Tshabalala (SA) 55 mins, Marquez (MEX) 78 mins

MY THOUGHTS:

I liked the right hand side of South Africa’s attack, Gaxa and Modise were very lively and cause some problems, Modise looks to have pace and good footwork, was also really impressed with Tshabalala showed great energy and desire, and of course a great finish for his goal, Dikgacoi and Letsholonyane were good in the centre of midfield working really hard to help Pienaar get open.

At times South Africa played some really nice football, linking up well with pace down the wings, they started slow but picked up in the second half and showed what they could do, definitely have a chance to progress.

Mexico played in a Barcelona-esque style, 2 centre backs with Marquez dropping deep when Salcido and Aguilar went forward which the did at the drop of a hat, playing with alot of width, dos Santos started very brightly and looked to do alot of damage, however I think they with Aguilar getting forward so much he was forced to move inside, which took away his space, Vela was very quiet and I can’t remember anything he did, disappointing for the Arsenal man.

Interesting to see how they get on against France on Thursday where they both need a result.

Next was the match between Uruguay and France, a lot expected from this one, the French needing to show they can live up to their players talents and fans expectations, and Uruguay predicted as some peoples dark horses with Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez surely they will score goals.

URUGUAY: 1 Muslera – 2 Lugano, 3 Godin, 6 Victorino – 16 M Pereira, 11 A Pereira, 15 Perez, 17 Rios, 18 Gonzalez – 9 Suarez, 10 Forlan
Subs – 14 Lodeiro on for Gonzalez (63mins), 13 Abreu on for Suarez (73mins), 8 Eguren on for Perez

FRANCE: 1 Lloris – 2 Sagna, 3 Abidal, 5 Gallas, 13 Evra – 14 Toulalan, 19 Diaby, 8 Gourcuff – 7 Ribery, 10 Govou, 21 Anelka
Subs – 12 Henry on for Anelka (71mins), 15 Malouda on for Gourcuff (75mins), 11 Gignac on for Govou (85mins)

Sent off – Nicolas Lodeiro for 2 yellow cards – 80 mins

MY THOUGHTS:

A truely awful game, at times 2 passes couldn’t be strung together, France just had no game plan really, everything they did was individual play, Ribery, Anelka, Gourcuff were trying to create but trying too much which lead to a poor match to watch, Uruguay werecontent to try and hit on the break and long balls towards Forlan and Suarez.

The three centre backs for Uruguay although reported to be slow and suspect, they coped pretty well I thought, rarely did Anelka find space to trouble them, helped by Diego Perez in his defensive duties they stiffiled most French attacks, Adriano Pereira seemed busy on the left and put a couple of good crosses into the box, Forlan was his usual self, 2 good attempts on goal but couldn’t trouble Lloris.

France were very poor by their standards, Anelka and Gourcuff were they’re best players, Govou struggled on the right after his early miss, Abou Diaby impressed at times in his galloping awkard style which seems to bamboozle players, Evra and Sagna didn’t get forward as much as they’d like, Ribery was quiet by his own high standards, France need to play as a team if they are going to do anything at this World Cup, and they need to start very soon, a tough game with Mexico next, surely they couldn’t have the same fate the 2002 squad had?

I’m hoping that was the worst game of the tournament.

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When the coaches of all 32 teams have selected the 23 players they want to take with them to South Africa for the biggest football tournament in the World of course there will be players missing from the selections, I have picked out 10 players I think will miss out on a place, but in my opinion should be part of their respective countries plans.

If I have missed anyone out, please let me know.

 

#1 Ronaldo – Brazil


Unfortunately know more these days as “Fat Ronaldo” which is a shame for one of the greatest strikers of all time and the all time leading scorer in FIFA World Cup history, he has revived his career with the move back to Brazil with Sao Paulo club Corinthians, in the 2009 season he scored 12 goals in 20 games. Surely there could be a place in a 23 man squad for a born goal scorer; Dunga seems to want to go with the inexperience of Nilmar and Grafite or the youth of Alexander Pato.

I think if Dunga found a spot for Ronaldo in the squad the Selecao fans would fully support the decision and who better to bring on for half an hour to find a goal then a striker in form with killer instinct.

 

#2 Victor Valdes – Spain

Surely the man between the sticks in a team that won 6 trophies last year, Champions League Semi-Finalist and top of La Liga this year could be Spain’s #3, no doubt Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina are ahead of him in the queue, Victor Valdes is more than good enough to be picked by Del Bosque and go to the World Cup, yeah he has his moments, overall a very good keeper, better than Diego Lopez of Villarreal, and would be a fitting to award him a seat on the plane to South Africa.

 

#3 Esteban Cambiasso – Argentina

Inter Milan’s run to the Champions League final has helped highlight how good Esteban Cambiasso has played this season, a very important part in Inter’s midfield, great defensive play against Chelsea and Barcelona, however he is nowhere near the 23 man squad Diego Maradona will take to South Africa, only Diego will know why he won’t pick Esteban, it was November 2009 in a friendly against Spain that he last put on La Albiceleste jersey, and he deserves this June to wear it again.

 

#4 Darren Bent – England

 

If you have a look at all our leagues in Europe, it is quite consistent, If you score a lot of goals and your country is in the World Cup, you are probably going to be in the squad. In Spain 8 of the top 10 scorers will likely be in South Africa the same with Italy, in Germany Stefan Kiessling’s 21 goals so far should be enough to see him take a seat to the World Cup, however when you look at the Top Scorers in the English Premier League, Wayne Rooney on  26 goals and Didier Drogba on 25 are touted as the World’s Best, and then behind them Darren Bent has scored 24 goals in the League for a mid-table team,  if he was any other nationality than English he would be on that teams plane, the more shocking thing being that fans aren’t shouting for him to be part of Capello’s squad, Bobby Zamora has 8 League Goals and people are campaigning for his selection in the squad.

I just don’t understand this mentality, Darren has bags of space, is good in the air, and has always scored goals, he has only managed 5 caps for England so far, so no one can see he has really had his chance to impress, If I was the England manager he’s be in my squad guaranteed, with the conditions in South Africa with 30 minutes to go when teams are tired from the altitude and weather conditions, Defenders would hate to see a powerful striker that can run full pelt for 30 minutes against them, and I would think he could easily bag a few goals.

It seems to me that the England team is one that you don’t get picked by form, but who you play for, and for England to win the World Cup this needs to change.

 

#5 Ronaldinho – Brazil

 

In 2008 the Ronaldinho playing for Barcelona was not the player we all fell in love with, the smile was mostly gone and the skills and tricks were becoming less and less, a remember a quote from after the 2006 WC from Ronnie when he said the reason that he wasn’t the outstanding and entertaining player he had been was because Messi was injured, he had to limit the bursts of genius to save his energy as he had to carry the team, I don’t think it help that he had put on weight and was still partying, and I think lost the love for football that he previously had.

Then he moved to the San Siro for Ancelotti’s Rossoneri and he found time tough again playing 35 games scoring 10 goals and only 8 assists all the questions remained about his fitness and abilities, then when Ancelotti left for Chelsea and his Brazilian compatriot Leonardo took over after a difficult start Ronaldinho began to find form again linking up well with Pato and playing some of his best football again and has arguable been one of Milan’s best players this season 33 games 9 goals and a Serie A leading 15 assists, Ronaldinho has expressed his want to be on that plan for Dunga’s side this summer, whether Dunga will pick him or not is the real question, is there space for Robinho, Kaka, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo in the same squad, maybe 3 out of the 4 at the most, more likely to be only Robinho and Kaka, it would be a fairytale story if “Ronnie” could make the squad and also make an impact and light up the tournament, which on his day we all know he can.

 

#6 Giuseppe Rossi – Italy

 

Sometimes Italy can lack a spark, that little bit of magic, If I was Marcelo Lippi Rossi is someone who would find a place in my squad, the ability to bring Giuseppe on and he doesn’t even need a position, he can play upfront, drop deep, go wide, he just generally plays where the ball is and makes things happen, strong for his size, he has the ability to make a goal out of nothing, sometimes the play with Gilardino/Iaquinta can be predictable, Rossi can bring that little bit of unpredictability that sometimes teams need.

 

#7 Javier Zanetti – Argentina

 

One of the greatest footballers ever to play the game, Consistent over his whole career near 600 games of football, in an Argentinean team lacking leadership and direction, who better to be part of a squad trying to fulfil it’s potential than a born leader in Zanetti, playing a pivotal part in Inter’s run to the Champions League final he is very versatile can play left and right full back and all across the midfield, and with a team that has some great young talent in Messi and Aguero it is always good to have a strong leader around to help these players out. Javier would be flying my plan to SA not just taking a seat.

 

#8 Phil Jagielka – England

 

If April 2009 when Jagielka went down injured against Manchester City in what turned out to be a Cruciate Knee ligament damage with 14 months to the World Cup any hopes the ex-Sheffield United defender had of making a run into the running for a place in South Africa seemed to be gone, a fantastic 2009 for Everton he played 45 minutes for England against Spain. It was a year after that performance that he came on against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League and made his return and in the 2 months that have followed Phil has picked up where he left off, playing well beside Johnny Heitinga playing the last 9 games in Everton’s fantastic run of late, in defence for England apart from Terry and Ferdinand no place is guaranteed, so there is nothing to say “Jags” could easily make himself in Capello’s plans, I have no idea why someone like Upson in a very poor West Ham could be picked before Jagielka, what a reward for a tremendous comeback that would be.

 

#9 Djibril Cisse – France

 

The 2006 World Cup was meant to be Cisse’s big moment after sub appearances in 2002 in Korea/Japan, Germany could have been his chance to make a massive impact, however in the last warm-up game against China he fell under a challenge twisted badly and broke his leg, once he recovered from the Injury he started re-building his career, a great 24 goals in 1 season for Marseille looked to have re-launched Djibril’s career, however a strange loan move to Sunderland in where he scored 10 goals seemed to stall the reinvention as British fans still judged him on his Liverpool form. He had made it clear he wanted to stay at Sunderland but a deal never materialised and he returned to Marseille, obviously not wanted at the Stade Velodrome he then made the surprise move to the Greek League with Athens giants Panathinaikos, and Djibril has had a fantastic season scoring 23 goals in 28 games leading Pana to the Greek title which lead to Raymond Domenech picking Cisse for the friendly against Spain, he came on as a sub and produced a fantastic save from Casillas when his head from Malouda’s cross was pushed against the post.

Domenech could be very brave and pick Djibril for the World Cup, he has the ability to continue his goal scoring form and finally produce the performances his potential has always promised, I just doubt Domenech is brave enough.

 

#10 Charlie Davies – USA

 

In October 2010 Charlie was in a horrific car crash, breaking his Leg in multiple places, fracturing his elbow, cheek bone, eye socket and forehead, there was worries he would survive the injuries never mind play football again, the 26th of April will be a day Charlie remembers forever, he began full training with his team Sochaux in France, the next day he scored his first goal in training, he commented on twitter the amazing feeling it gave him.

Ligue 1 in France has 4 games left till the season ends and Team USA have 3 warm-up games before the Group Stage starts, chance for Charlie to play some games before the WC starts.

Before his injury Charlie had exploded onto the International scene, scoring against Brazil in the Confederations Cup Final, 4 goals in 17 games for USA and he was a cert to start in South Africa, now he is fighting for a place in the squad, It would be a amazing achievement if Charlie was sitting on the bench against England on June 12th, and who knows if he came on, I wouldn’t bet against him scoring a goal.

There are not an abundance of striking options for the US, Altidore has had a tough season at Hull City, Eddie Johnson has scored 4 goals for Aris in Greece and the other options don’t strike fear in the opponent, so if Bob Bradley thinks Charlie still has the ability, I don’t see why he shouldn’t be on the plane.

 

I would hope 4 or 5 of these players are playing in South Africa in June, but there is a very good chance none of them will and it is the football fans that would miss out, all of these players could play a big part in the Tournament in June, for the coaches picking the squads….What have you got to lose.

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