The first few seconds of Mexico versus France was greeted by the Crowd with “Ole!” and “Boooooooo!”. And you could hear the crowd above the Vuvuzela’s. Now I’ll either have to believe the Mexicans had travelled on masse or else the French reputation for honest football had preceded them.
I’m Irish, I’d have loved to go with the latter.
Because Mexico were handily supported by a large, cheerful SINGING crowd. Yes, we could hear the Singing above the noise of the Vuvuzela’s. The Mexicans pretty much dominated the majority of the action throughout. But up until we all became Mexicans when they wonderfully sprung the offside trap in the 64th Minute, it was looking like France might hold on and perhaps typically sneak an undeserved goal.
On initial glance the Penalty they got for the second was doubtful, but replays showed contact from Abidal and so kudo’s to the Saudi Arabian ref who generally was pretty good, even though he could lay off the yellow Cards a little.
For a team whose jumper makes them look like sado-masochistic bondage lovers, the French have not had to take enough punishment lately. I hear the Saudi Arabians know how to mete out sadistic justice, and even though he didn’t have to use a well placed sword strike, the referee should be congratulated. Even if it wasn’t a penalty, it needed to be given anyway. Football exists on balance, and that penalty was the first step toward restoring France’s balance away from ongoing good fortune ever so slightly.
Earlier, well 24 hour hours earlier, the hosts had been comprehensively pummeled by the Mighty Uruguayan’s. Hardly surprising, even with the uplift the home nation often gets, the South African’s have been poor for a few years now, and it was always unlikely they would truly compete this year. There’s only so many additional tackles and goals a few thousand blown Vuvuzela’s will get you.
This means that next weeks Mexico v Uruguay game is 89% certain to be a draw. That would mean both teams go through. The French must be hoping the Mexicans want to win the group and avoid Argentina in the next round. If Mexico beat Uruguay and France beat South Africa by enough, the garlic eating handball lovers can still make it through.
Speaking of Argentina, we saw an almost Masterclass from them as they systematically deconstructed a good Korean outfit. Leo Messi and Sergio Ageuro were outstanding, yet it will be Gonzalo Higuain who gets the plaudits for his Hat-trick of knock ins. I can see why France’s hope might not be misplaced. In current form, I’d be doing my best to try and avoid them too.
Ageuro, who also happens to be Diego Maradona’s son-in-law especially pulled Argentina into the game again after he came on as a sub. But it was a stunning display of actually hitting the barn door by Higuain which will give hope to the likes of other serial Barn door missers, like Emile Heskey of England, hope for the future. Thankfully another, Sidney Govou had another stonking game for France today.
Maybe Domenech should’ve picked someone like me. I’d at least show some effort.
Apparently Greece beat Nigeria. You could say I’m shocked. But they should still go out. Korea should be able to beat Nigeria in the last game or at least get a draw. One can hardly imagine Greece beating Argentina, and so unless Korea lose to Nigeria, Korea should still qualify for the next round.
As always in the World Cup, and if I could be bothered I’d officially check the truth of my statement, the middle series of matches in the Group games are providing the best entertainment so far. After a slow start goal wise -aside from Australia of course – and a tentative series of games, the Second Round has delivered a series of veritable goal feasts. The last round of games will likely return to an amount of tentativeness as those who need to avoid defeat attempt to do so in whatever fashion possible.
England play tonight, so we can expect a return to normal in that game at least. Unless Emile can be inspired by the efforts of Higuain, perhaps.