Friday, June 25, 2010

World Cup Day 13- Group C and D Wrap

In life I often think back to that old Chris Rock "N(orwegians) vs. Black People" routine, where he goes off on people who are praised for doing things they are supposed to do. To quote, somewhat directly,

"You know the worst thing about N(orwegians)? N(orwegians)? always want credit for some s**t they supposed to do. A N(orwegian) will brag about some shit a normal man just does. A N(orwegian) will say some shit like, "I take care of my kids." You're supposed to, you dumb motherfucker! What kind of ignorant shit is that?! "I ain't never been to jail!" What do you want, a cookie?! You're not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!"

So Chris Rock applied that very salient observation to people of his own ethnicity but, I think it also applies pretty much people of all nationalities in my book. So, I bring this up because of the parallel between this and the US team advancing to the second round. You mean to tell me we're supposed to be jubliant and a nation converted to soccer because we finished ahead of Algeria and Slovenia? Uhhh, well, the US was supposed to be better than Algeria and Slovenia. In fact, any activity in which the United States of America is not better at than Algeria and Slovenia, the United States of America should probably stop doing. I can't argue that they've been hella exciting, but really that's a strike against them, because you shouldn't fall behind 2-0 to Slovenia and you shouldn't need a miracle extra time goal to beat Algeria 1-0. I'm willing to wipe the slate clean and start over in the elimination round, but really, color me non-plussed with the US so far.

Meanwhile, if the US has disappointed, England just barely averted not being welcome back in their home country. They will, in fact, be welcome (probably) thanks to a pretty goal by Spurs' Jermain Defoe, who put home a pinpoint lobbing cross from Villa's James Milner. It probably could have ended 4 or 5 to nothing, but Slovenia's goaltender was spectacular, and it cost England, because just one of their many scoring opportunities getting thru would have given them 1st in the group, and avoided a round of 16 matchup with their nemesis and mortal enemy, Germany.

USA - D England 1-1, D Slovenia 2-2, W Algeria 1-0
England- D USA 1-1, D Algeria 0-0, W Slovenia 1-0
Slovenia - W Algeria 1-0, D USA 2-2, L England 0-1
Algeria - L Slovenia 0-1, D England 0-0, L USA 0-1

Well, somewhere between 5 and I think 40 African teams were in this World Cup, and only one is advancing to the second round. That team is Ghana, and they do so despite not getting a win in either of their last 2 matches, settling for a draw against Australia, and a 1-0 loss to Germany in their finale. Ghana had the majority of the scoring chances but couldn't convert, and a long distance volley from outside the box by Germany's Mesut Ozil provided the only tally.

Ghana's loss gave Serbia, who beat Germany in their last match, a golden opportunity to advance. All they needed to do was beat the consensus weakest side in the group, Australia. The Socceroos had other ideas though. They held things scoreless in the first half, fending off a couple of good scoring chances, then in the second half broke on a header by Everton's Tim Cahill off a lob that was almost a carbon copy of Defoe's goal for England. Shortly after they made it 2-0 on a hard grounder launched by Brett Holman from a spot closer to the center circle than the penalty box. That pretty much was the end for Serbia, even though they scored late to make it a 2-1 final. Australia fails to advance only because of the huge negative goal differential they soaked up in the 4-0 pounding they took at the hands of Germany to open their schedule, but finish strong with 4 points in 2 matches.

Germany - W Australia 4-0, L Serbia 0-1, W Ghana 1-0
Ghana- W Serbia 1-0, D Australia 1-1, L Germany 0-1
Australia - L Germany 0-4, D Ghana 1-1, W Serbia 1-0
Serbia - L Ghana 0-1, W Germany 1-0, L Australia 1-2

USA v. Ghana
Germany v. England

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