Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More World Cup Prep

Our nervous contestants continued their feverous cramming for their World Cup finals this weekend. Who impressed and who distressed?

- #41 Ireland continued to unleash its Irish Curse as retribution for their controversial elimination, beating a qualifier for the second time this week. Robbie Keane had a pair of goals as the Irish trounced #30 Algeria.

- #19 Cameroon continues to look shaky. Their 1-1 draw against #25 Slovenia was an improvement over their dreadful scoreless draw against Georgia earlier this week, but Africa's highest ranked team isn't doing a whole lot to inspire.

- #6 Germany struck fear into everyone by blitzkrieging #57 Hungary 3-0.

- #78 New Zealand has shown this week that they may not be the easy out they were supposed to be. After a hard fought one goal loss to Australia earlier in the week, they broke through with a stunning 1-0 win over #15 Serbia.

- #2 Spain famously can be counted on to shit the bed in the World Cup, no matter how good they are. They looked like they won't disappoint in that respect as they bungled to a 3-2 win over #66 Saudi Arabia. It took an injury time goal from Fernando Llorente to give them the win.

The #14 US fell behind 1-0 to #29 Turkey in a lacklustre first half, but rebounded with goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey in the second to avoid an embarrassing two losses in one week to teams that didn't qualify for South Africa.

The Yanks can take solace in the fact that their opening game opponents, #8 England, didn't look great either this weekend. They trailed #45 Japan 1-0 at the half, and needed a pair of own goals in the second to escape with a victory.

#47 South Korea looked impressive in prep wins over Japan and Ivory Coast, but looked decidedly not impressive in a 1-0 loss to #82 Belarus this weekend.

#17 Mexico took on some really tough competition earlier in the week, losing to England and the Netherlands. They followed that up with a breezy 5-1 confidence booster against #93 Gambia this weekend. Javier Hernandez had a pair of goals as did Chivas' Bofo Bautista.

Didier Drogba opened the scoring shortly after half for #27 Ivory Coast, but they couldn't hold the lead and managed only a 2-2 tie against #31 Paraguay in Sven Goran Eriksson's first match as the Elephants gaffer.

- #21 Nigeria limps to South Africa, following up a 0-0 draw earlier in the week to Saudi Arabia with a similarly miserable 1-1 draw against #35 Colombia.

- #9 France is another team in bad form. A shaky win earlier in the week over Costa Rica is followed up by a 1-1 draw at #55 Tunisia.

- #18 Chile had a busy and successful weekend, taking down #56 Northern Ireland 1-0, and #26 Israel 3-0.

- #83 South Africa continues to romp thru it's warm-ups, getting it's 3rd win of the week with a 5-0 blasting of #114 Guatemala.

-#20 Australia had a nice showing, topping #36 Denmark 1-0 on a late goal from Josh Kennedy.

- #32 Ghana looked a mess in getting steamrolled by #4 Netherlands 4-1. Goals for Real Madrid's Dutch castaways, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart.

- #3 Portugal put the Cape Verde Islands horror show behind it with a solid 3-1 win over #19 Cameroon, who has looked horrible in its prep matches. A pair of goals for FC Porto's Raul Meireles.

Group A- South Africa, Mexico
Group C- Slovenia, United States
Group D- Germany, Australia
Group E- Netherlands
Group F- Paraguay, New Zealand
Group G- Portugal
Group H- Chile

Group A- France
Group B- Nigeria, South Korea
Group C- Algeria
Group D- Serbia, Ghana
Group E- Denmark, Cameroon
Group G- Ivory Coast
Group H- Spain

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