Monday, June 21, 2010

The 2010 FIFA World Cup becomes infinitely more interesting

...aaaand the US Open does not. With tee times in the late afternoon in California on Pebble Beach Golf Course, the fourth and final round of the US Open went until 9:30pm last night. My dad, an avid golf watcher, almost didn't wait up to watch the end but chose to because "everyone was playing so badly that he found it entertaining". In case that anyone who actually does care doesn't know the outcome of the tournament, Irishman Graeme McDowell came out victorious as the only player to shoot even par (everyone else shot over), and Tiger tied for 4th with Phil Mickelson at +3. As some announcer aptly put it, "the Tiger is back in his cage and no one is afraid of him anymore". The only really interesting part about this was how Dustin Johnson blew his five shot lead with a triple bogey on the second hole and sucked pretty much the rest of the round, shooting an 82 today after a 66 yesterday. I was rooting for Phil anyway, despite his heinous wardrobe choice for his final day of play.

But onto the less boring of the two sports.

The World Cup has taken some interesting turns since I last wrote about it, which makes me more apt to want to watch some of the games that are on when I'm awake (especially with ABC doing their best to filter the absurdly annoying sound of the vuvuzelas).

In the most exciting game and what (at the time) was being considered the biggest surprise in the World Cup so far, the US came back from a 2-0 deficit and tied Slovenia 2-2. They did the unthinkable and came back to score a 3rd goal that the ref immediately called 'not a goal'. After a replay, it looked like everyone was on-sides and no one could figure out why the call was made.

The US was robbed, no way around it. They play Wednesday against Algeria and need to win to go to the second round. FIFA is putting Koman Coulibaly, the ref from Mali who made the call, under review. If they deem his call on the US not-goal high-profile enough, it's likely he will be excluded from reffing the rest of the tournament. As far as I can tell, it sounds like he is the Jim Joyce of the World Cup, minus the remorse.

Yesterday, however, a seemingly even bigger shock occurred when New Zealand kept defending champions Italy to a 1-1 draw. New Zealand actually scored the first goal of the game, and people were wondering whether or not they'd actually be able to beat Italy outright. Italy plays Slovakia on Thursday and needs at least a tie (and in that case, a New Zealand / Paraguay tie) to advance to the second round.

This morning, Portugal kept North Korea at bay and managed to score 7 goals with a 7-0 final score. As everyone has seemed to mention, I can't imagine what is going to happen when that team goes back home to North Korea. 7 goals? That's more than Duke Lacrosse scored in their championship over Memorial Day weekend.

In non-game related news, France has sent home striker Nicolas Anelka for refusing to apologize to his coach after blowing up at him at halftime of the France-Mexico game. Seems like a pretty hefty punishment for an outburst, but then again I don't particularly care for anything French but their food or fashion. So as far as I'm concerned, this was a win for the entire World Cup tournament.

Here is an update on game and group scores from last Thursday through today's games:

Group A:
France vs Mexico: 0-2
Total Points: Uruguay & Mexico: 4, South Africa & France:1

Group B:
 Greece vs Nigeria: 2-1
Total Points: Argentina: 6, South Korea & Greece: 3, Nigeria: 0 

Group C:
 Slovenia vs United States: 2-2
England vs Algeria: 0-0
Total Points: Slovenia: 4, England & United States: 2, Algeria: 1 

Group D:
Germany vs Serbia: 0-1
Ghana vs Australia: 1-1
Total Points: Ghana: 4, Germany & Serbia: 3, Australia: 1

Group E: 
Netherlands vs Japan: 1-0
Cameroon vs Denmark: 1-2
Total Points: Netherlands: 6, Japan & Denmark: 3, Cameroon: 0 

Group F: 
Slovakia vs Paraguay: 0-2
Italy vs New Zealand: 1-1
Total Points: Paraguay: 4, Italy & New Zealand: 2, Slovakia: 1

Group G:
Brazil vs Ivory Coast: 3-1
Portugal vs North Korea: 7-0
Total Points: Brazil: 6, Portgual:3, Ivory Coast: 1, North Korea: 0  

Group H:
Chile vs Switzerland: 1-0
Spain vs Honduras: 2-0
Total Points: Chile: 6, Switzerland & Spain: 3, Honduras: 0

If I had to pick my favorites besides the US, they'd be Brazil (because they're enjoyable to watch) and Portugal (because Cristiano Ronaldo is enjoyable to watch). 

The first round finishes up on Friday and 10:00AM Saturday will start round two, so stay tuned.

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