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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