Tag: world cup news
When it comes to soccer and referees there has always been a lot of controversy. But many can agree that no World Cup has had so many referee miscalls as this one. And the World Cup final game could not be the exception. Howard Webb, the official in charge of the final game was just simply pathetic. He could not control the game; he could not control the players or the Netherlands’ blatant attempt to pull a game full of shenanigans and unnecessary roughness. At the end, the team that focused on playing football and keeping the cool took home its first World Cup.
Webber booked 14 yellow cards in this game. In spite of the record breaking number, truth be said, he could and should have showed many more. Specially red cards. It was just plain ridiculous. At one point, Nigel de Jong made a full on taekwondo kick against Xabi Alonso. But that was not half of it. Early in the game, Mark van Bommel went all in against Joan Capdevila and saved himself from what would had been a red card had van Bommel be wearing any other team’s shirt.
Wesley Sneijder made a foul against Pedro. And it seemed as if the Netherlands were going to do whatever it took to keep the Spaniards from completing more then three consecutive passes. It was a sad scene, especially for a World Cup final. The game was boring. Despite the Spanish had a clear domination of the ball possession, the team was not able to keep on the ball and take good chances at goal.
Their passes were great, and even thought the Dutch team did had a couple of chances to go on forward, there was little coming from the orange team. Arjen Robben was spectacular. He had the best runs and truth be said, any chance of a break down, he was able to outrun each of the Spanish defenders. But one thing is certain; he could not open up the scoring. Iker Casillas, the Spanish keeper and team captain, was quite responsible for this. He was amazing.
Spain brought up the tempo once Cesc Fabregas came in. He brought a breath of fresh air to the Spanish team. Fernando Torres was kept on the bench until the very end. He did not bring much to the game. Jesus Navas the 24-year-old midfielder was also important in the second half. He was fast and his dribbling abilities made him quite capable of driving to the end and sending off good passes to the strikers.
In extra-time the talented player Andres Iniesta was the key to the Spanish first ever World Cup. He received a good pass by Cesc Fabregas who somehow managed to pass the ball pass a couple of Dutch defenders. Iniesta defeated the Netherlands keeper, Marteen Stekelenburg with a nice volley to the side. Not much was left for the Dutch team to do, but to accept in frustration their second place finish. This is the third final that the Netherlands team loose in a World Cup competition.
It could have been a good game. Let’s hope that FIFA is going to finally get it together and solve the problems they have when it comes to referees. It is a shame that such a beautiful game can depend so much on a referee that seemed unprepared, unprofessional and who could never handle the pressure of a World Cup final.
Rumor has it, and if its not completely true its still worth telling, that Argentina’s Soccer Federation has given head coach Diego Maradona a two week lapse so the coach can revaluate his situation and permanency in front of the Argentine squad.
High hopes and high expectations can turn out to be extremely demanding over a athletes performance. Ask the championship-less superstar LeBron James what it feels like to be considered by many the best active player and yet have no championship to hold. The comparison has many flaws, but the expectations set upon talented athletes might sometimes end up being too much of a psychological burden.
If expectations affect players, well it is certainly going to play a big roll in the performance of national soccer team. And that’s when things start to get into perspective when we look at the Argentine squad performance in this 2010 World Cup.
Much has been said about the dominance of the German team in their 4-0 trashing in the World Cup. Still, on their return to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and despite the general disappointment of the local fans, and lets even say the popular spirit of the country as a whole, some still believe and are proud of the process under Diego Armando Maradona.
Many had expected this to be Argentina’s best shot at the tournament. Even before the team flew to South Africa, the local TV sports news channels insisted on comparing Lionel Messi and the 21 year old Maradona who played in World Cup Mexico 86. It was as if many of the fans and even the sports commentators who had once trashed and harshly criticized Maradona’s performance from the bench, were starting to believe that it was possible. As if there was a divine connection between Maradona and the World Cup trophy that could somehow be brought into existence as Messi, for the first time since 86, was the player that seemed capable of stepping up and filling in the big shoes that the No. 10 had left behind in the Argentine team.
And then came the good performances in the group stage. Sure enough, neither South Korea or Greece or Nigeria. Even Mexico, who lacked a solid defense, did not seem to have been much of a problem for Argentina. But certain flaws started to surface in those first games. We do have to give credit to Maradona really turning the face of his team around. Sure, the first round had teams that where not great, or traditionally powerful, but neither great or powerful were the squads from Peru and Bolivia, who got Argentina into so much trouble and disgrace (6-1 trashing at La Paz still hurts the Argentine’s soccer spirit) and still, it has to be said, Argentina was much better in South Africa.
Still the flaws were there. Neither Angel di Maria nor Maxi Rodriguez were able to really create plays in the middle. Messi had to come down behind the midfield and test his speed and dribbling abilities from much farther behind then what he is used to. And yet the games came one after the other and nothing happened. It is not as if Maradona had not the players to make a decent change in strategy. Di María kept starting the games as many fans and commentators alike saw after every game how he was not living up to the expectations, while players like Diego Milito, Javier Pastore or Sebastián Veron to make something happen in the midfield.
Now he has many questions to answer. And it still seems like a shame that such a great team, could not have done a bit more. But heck, it’s the FIFA World Cup. According to them, “One game changes everything”. It’s been an interesting tournament. Now we just have to see which European team wins it all.
They barely made it into the South Africa 2010 World Cup, having to play Costa Rica for the last spot between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL to the tournament. And despite not been among the top 15 teams in the odds to win this World Cup, Uruguay is the only South American team still alive in the semifinals.
Both the Netherlands and Uruguay are the only two undefeated teams playing in the tournament. Still, as of press time, and despite the Uruguayan fans, they are a clear underdog for this match.
The Netherlands have made it to the finals twice in two consecutive years, 1974-1978. But have not had such a remarkable success since. Since France 1998, the Netherlands has not made it to the semifinals. Back then, they were facing Brazil, but lost in the penalty shot outs. Ronaldo had scored the first goal, in a nice pass from the right. A couple minutes before the end, Frank de Boer sent a great pass from the right flank to Patrick Kliuvert who made a great header to take it to overtime and then penalties. The Netherlands missed a penalty shot and was sent home.
They then played Croatia for the third place. They lost 2-1 after Dabor Sucker from Croatia scored with little over 5 minutes to play. It was Sucker’s fifth goal in the tournament. The Dutch team finished fourth in the France 98 World Cup.
Uruguay, on the other hand, has won two World Cup Championships, including the first tournament ever held back in 1930, which they also host. They went on again and defeated Brazil in the now famous Maracanazo in 1954. But that seems almost like ancient history for most soccer fans today. Still, the team that was not expected to make it too far, had made it to the semis, that’s more then what can their South American counterparts of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina can say about themselves.
The Dutch team guided by Bert van Marwijk has defeated Denmark, Japan, Cameroon, Slovakia and Brazil in this tournament. With both Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben on the front, this could be their best shot ever to make it again back in the finals, and finally take one World Cup back home. They do have what it takes to defeat the Uruguayans. But there is one thing that those men from Uruguay do count on: courage.
Sure enough, Uruguay has not made it so high into any international soccer tournament since beating Brazil in the 1995 Copa America. Still, they do have some very talented players, and one heck of a defense. Luis Suarez has been just magnificent on the offensive end, scoring against South Korea in the round of 16 while Diego Forlán has made a great goal against Ghana to tie the game and define it by penalty shots.
After Jorge Fucile has been suspended after a double booking, Oscar Tabarez, the Uruguayan head coach has now to decide which of his defenders is going to take over the difficult task of guarding no other then Arjen Robben. Diego Lugano, another defender, has yet to make a full recovery and as of press time it is still unknown if he is going to take part of the semifinal game against Netherlands.
It’s a tough call when it comes to picking sides. As of press time, Online Sportsbook leader BetIAS.com has made Netherlands the favorite on the daily World Cup Odds by ML-175. The Draw sits at ML+265 while the Uruguayan upset comes back with Ml+500. Sure it is a long shot, but heck, they were not suppose to make it this far. They could very well make it the Final game.
This World Cup has had its up and downs. If you are into Cinderella stories, well, this was one heck of a World Cup. If you are more of the go with the favorite, or safer bet sort of person, well, you probably are not that happy. Back in 2006 both Italy and France saw faced each other at the Germany 2006 World Cup Final game. 4 years later both teams faced each other at the South African airport on their way out after just the first round. That’s right: first round.
Now, just to get you in the mood for numbers, Brazil was ML+105 while the Dutch upset came back at ML+250 for this quarterfinals game. It was not a risky call to go for Brazil, but the chances for an upset were there. If you were following the live line, things got really interesting right before halftime. The Brazilian squad has been absolutely dominant in the first couple of minutes. They kept driving into the Dutch defense like if it were butter.
Robinho had already scored once before his first official goal came in after 11 minutes of play. On a previous play, the referee considered he was offside and Brazil first goal didn’t count towards the score. Yet Brazil did not lose its cool. Just a couple of minutes later, a great pass by Midfielder Melo down the middle placed Robinho in a great position to shot on goal with plenty of space and with only the goalkeeper to deal with.
Dunga’s team kept on bringing great plays. Kaka had a great run from the right, cut across the penalty area and made one great shot that had it not been for Marteen Stekelenburg great save, it would have ment the 2-0 deficit before halftime. It really seemed as if Brazil was going to live up to its expectations, and the team the counted with the talent of Kaká, Robinho, Maicón, Lucío and Luis Fabiano were on their easy way into the semifinals.
Not much was happening for the Dutch key players. Before halftime, except for a couple of fast breaks through the flanks. Arjen Robben on the top and Wesley Sneijder, in the midfield, were still to tune as fine as they had on the previous games.
It is uncertain what happened in the halftime break, but it seemed as if the Neatherlands had changed their pace, their rhythm but most importantly, their mentality. Sneijder began to place some great passes through the middle, and kept been a real problem for the Brazilian defense. Despite Robin van Persie not finding his best aim from the distance (his shot were going ridiculously high) the Dutch team were finding their best game.
Soon Sneijder crossed a ball into the penalty area. Both Julio Cesar, the brazilian keeper, and Maicon went for the ball. And sure enough, the ball bounced off Maicon’s head and went straight into the goal. To finish of his great performance of the night, he scored with 22 minutes to play after a great play that seemed already orchestrated from the team’s training sessions. From a right corner kick, and a double header, Sneijder pushed the ball in to make it 2-1.
And that was it. Brazil lost control of the ball. Melo was shown a red card a couple minutes later after he intentionally stepped over Robben, and despite their chance, Brazil, with only 10 men on the field could not complete their comeback. The Neatherlands will now face the winner of the Uruguay – Ghana Match.