Friday, June 18, 2010
If lack of bunting in the street is any indication, America appears to be living up to its reputation for glorious isolation. While the rest of the globe is already gripped by World Cup fever, here in the US there are scant outward signs of football – or rather soccer – obsession.
Argentina 4 - 1 South Korea
Richard Williams at Soccer City
Greece 2 - 1 Nigeria
Paul Fletcher in Bloemfontein
Mexico 2 - 0 France
Paul Hayward: France quit on the job
France ship down with hardly a hand on deck
Evra disgusted by performance
Thursday, June 17, 2010
It is still early days at the 2010 World Cup but the tournament is already taking shape.
From South Africa's draw with Mexico in the curtain-raiser through to Switzerland's shock win over Spain on Wednesday, we have now had a chance see all 32 teams play at least once.
For some, like Germany, qualification already looks a formality, but others are less certain of their fate. With the help of Jurgen Klinsmann and Mark Lawrenson, BBC Sport takes a look at what we have learned about each of the eight groups so far.
"Our fans don't want to have these trumpets," said Dortmund's general manager, Hans-Joachim Watzke. "It is nerve-racking and completely drowns out any chanting."
But many in Spain have blamed their defeat to Switzerland in their opening World Cup game on Sara Carbonero, the partner of the Spain captain Iker Casillas.
Casillas was at least partly at fault for Gelson Fernandes's goal that gave Switzerland their 1-0 win and fingers have already been pointed at Carbonero, a journalist at a Spanish TV station, who prior to the game was filming footage to camera behind Casillas's goal.
Victory for the artisans over the artists is integral to World Cup 2010 as it was to previous tournaments.
In the new 2010-11 fixtures released today, Chelsea go to Tottenham on Dec 11. A week later they entertain Manchester United, at Stamford Bridge. And, on Boxing Day, Chelsea travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on close rivals Arsenal. If that is hard enough, Chelsea’s return to Old Trafford is scheduled for May 7 - the third-from-last fixture of the new campaign - and a potential title decider. And the champions finish with another problematic game, away to Everton at Goodison Park.
Honduras 0 - 1 Chile
Spain 0 - 1 Swtizerland
Daniel Taylor at the Moses Mabhida Stadium
Spanish press lambasts team and Howard Webb
Paul Hayward: Spain's nightmare
South Africa 0 - 3 Uruguay
Paul Wilson at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium
Parreira faces suspension for comments
The reason is to pay tribute to his late sister Jennifer, who died of a brain aneurism at the age of 16 in 1995, a tragedy Dempsey carries with him to this day.
OK, so the World Cup hasn't exactly been a free-flowing goalfest (Germany's 4-0 shellacking of the Socceroos notwithstanding). And the stars of the show have not been Messi and Rooney and Ronaldo, but a slippery ball whose name sounds like a New Orleans fish stew, and a plastic horn more loathed than BP.
But just because scoring is down and goalkeepers are still making more excuses than acrobatic saves, doesn't mean that compelling storylines aren't emerging. And if you keep following them, redemption will surely follow. Here's what to look for in the next first-round matchups:
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Juan Sebastian Veron will sit out Argentina's game with South Korea on Thursday with a minor leg muscle injury.
Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has missed training for the second successive day amid fears that he may not play again in the 2010 World Cup.
Brazil laboured to overcome North Korea in a World Cup that has produced the lowest number of goals of any of the previous 18 tournaments.
"I can understand that goalkeepers are not happy, and I think the authorities should listen to them," Eriksson said. "I think the matter should be discussed. Players, coaches and perhaps top goalkeepers should get together. Especially people should listen to the goalkeepers' point of view, because the ball isn't doing them any favours."
Carlos Queiroz, the Portugal coach:
"I find it strange that normally players are prevented from wearing even a simple string bracelet in a game, yet the referee gave permission for Drogba to play in a cast. It is not really a matter for Portugal and I do not wish to make a complaint, but I would like to know if the rules are still the same for all players."
We're still waiting for this tournament to properly come alive but we saw quite a few fine individual performances with only four teams still to play their opening fixture.
Kim Yong Chon, 43, one of the North Korean fans, said the group, which numbered 300, was not Chinese, but he admitted they had been carefully recruited by the North Korean government to make the trip. Speaking through an interpreter, he said the group had left Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, and traveled through Beijing the same day and they would stay in South Africa as long as their team does.
Kevin McCarra at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Ivory Coast 0 - 0 Portugal
Paul Wilson at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Paul Fletcher: Portugal lack punch
Paul Hayward: Ronaldo is latest damp squib
Amy Lawrence: Ronaldo vs. Drogba fizzes
Brazil 2 - 0 North Korea
Sean Ingle at Ellis Park
Jonathan Stevenson: Dunga delights in efficient Brazil
Back at home in Spain, a strange atmosphere prevails, unique in its consensus that La Roja are the tournament's best side, yet oddly restrained in the face of such unbridled optimism. The Spanish are a happy enough lot, as befits their so-called Latin temperament, but one would hardly describe them as eternal optimists.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Thirty-six female Holland fans were thrown out of their country's game against Denmark at Soccer City after Fifa officials accused them of wearing orange mini-dresses to promote an unlicensed beer brand.
Portugal vs. Ivory Coast
Aimee Lewis: Portugal rely on Ronaldo
Drogba to wear cast
Brazil vs. North Korea
Richard Williams: Dunga insists on substance over style
James Ducker: Jong wants to change image of North Korea
Jim White: North Korea set to make Great Leader happy
Franz Beckenbauer has stored up potential for a stormy clash between England and Germany by declaring that Fabio Capello's side have headed "backwards into the bad old days of kick and rush" on the evidence of Saturday's opening match against the United States and he has also suggested that there is very little that can be done to improve things.
Yet 24 hours later, Italy and Paraguay slugged out an uninspiring 1-1 draw in Cape Town in horrendous conditions that saw the southern city battered by incessant rain, high winds and hail-storms throughout the day. The temperature at kick-off time was four degrees.
So the best game of the tournament was played out in typical World Cup conditions, while two of the worst – Italy v Paraguay and France v Uruguay – were staged in grim wintry weather.
Some horn players complain of “vuvuzela lip” from the plastic mouthpiece. Bruce Copley, who has been teaching pupils to play the vuvuzela, advised using baby oil to reduce friction.
There may yet be sanctuary for armchair fans. A website — antivuvuzelafilter.com — is said to offer a download for 2.95euros (£2.45) which combats the horn by playing back at the television set noise waves at the same frequency.
The bar was called Bulls. It was a rugby bar, named after the Blue Bulls, a provincial team from Pretoria, but today it would become a soccer bar. Today it would become an English bar filled with Englishmen. They would see it, and they would claim it. The bar was their territory.
And then the police.
The first weekend of the 2010 World Cup has come and gone, with more success than failure. FIFA gleefully reported "record TV audience" for the opening match. The United States Soccer Federation sent a release announcing that Saturday's United States-England tilt in Rustenburg had the highest ratings of any first round match ever. (Amazingly, almost one in five people in Germany viewed the Americans battle the Three Lions.)
But the story is a bit different on the ground in South Africa. While the country's excitement carried the initial 72 hours, the thrill is wearing off and reality is setting in.
Italy 1 - 1 Paraguay
David Hytner at Green Point Stadium
Amy Lawrence: Italy show unfamiliar lack of charisma
Carlo Garganese: Same old uninspired Italy
Holland 2 - 0 Denmark
Paul Wilson at Soccer City
Patrick Barclay: Elia breathes life into Dutch campaign
Japan 1 - 0 Cameroon
Honda tames the Domitable Lions
Japan earn first World Cup win on foreign soil
Monday, June 14, 2010
The infamous Jabulani World Cup ball has had goalkeepers in the tournament worrying, panicking and complaining for the past week. Now it has reduced one of them to tears.
Argentina's former captain and current manager struggled to keep his playing instincts in check against Nigeria.
The prolific striker's involvement with La Albirroja in World Cup 2010 was curtailed when he was shot in a Mexico City nightspot.
The empty seats – which look terrible on television – are a problem for Fifa because, having sold batches of tickets at reduced prices to local groups, it cannot now put them back on the market.
After appearing virtually bomb-proof, Fabio Capello has entered the business end of the World Cup looking remarkably fallible.
Germany 4 - 0 Australia
Daniel Taylor at the Moses Mabhida Stadium
Serbia 0 - 1 Ghana
Owen Wilson at Loftus Versfeld
Algeria 0 - 1 Slovenia
Sean Ingle at Peter Mokaba Stadium
Argentina 1 - 0 Nigeria
Sean Ingle at Ellis Park
South Korea 2 - 0 Greece
Daniel Taylor at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium