Pierre Boisrond has followed soccer and the World Cup
closely for many years and also writes for other websites. We at PWC are proud to have him as
a columnist. He will share his views about the past, present and future of
the World Cup.
Read earlier columns
Germany stumbled, USA robbed and Algeria schooled England
Many pundits will have to go back to change their predictions. Today, Serbia has beaten Germany 1-0. The Serbs knew they had to step it up in front of Germany if not they would have to go home. Today they have played well and put to challenge a German national team that has left us with several doubts. After earning an early yellow card, Miroslav Klose received another yellow card in the 36th minute, therefore the referee had to give him a red card and eject him from the game. Now, Germany had to play the game with 10 players. Soon after that, in the 38th minute, Milan Jovanovic, gave Serbia a 1-0 lead over Germany. For many of us, we had no doubt that Germany would equalize the game because the German Internationals always played with persistence and determination. The First half ended 1-0 in favor of the Serb Internationals.
In the second half, the German Internationals fought to get the equalizer and they finally got a chance to get it on a penalty kick given by the Spanish referee, Alberto Undiano Mallenco. Unfortunately for Germany, Lucas Podolski was unable to tie the game for Germany because the goalie of Serbia, Vladimir Stojkovic stopped the penalty kick in the 60th minute. In the 74th minute, if it were not for the goal post that saved Germany, The Serbs would have taken a 2-0 lead. The game ended 1-0 with 3 valuable points for Serbia with a goal differential (GD) of 0. The next game in group D will be Australia vs Ghana. So far, after 2 games played, Germany has 3 points with a GD of +3; Ghana has 3 points with a GD of +1 and still needs to play their second game. Australia has 0 point with a GD of -4 but has a game to play against Ghana. All teams still have a chance to qualify, but Ghana can secure their qualification to the second round if they can get a win against Australia. Australia on the other end, with the Germany lost, they can still qualify if they can win their next two games.
The second game of the day was between The United States of America (USA) vs. Slovenia. Slovenia had beaten Algeria in their 1st game and The USA had a 1-1 tie with England. It was a must win for the Americans to some extent because losing that game would have put them in a very delicate situation. Well, the Americans did find themselves in a very delicate situation indeed in the 13th when the talented Slovenian, Valter Bisa, placed a parabolic ball in the upper right corner of the goal and left the American goalie, Tim Howard, like a statue. USA found themselves down 0-1. It was a lack of concentration that came back to bite the Americans for the second time. The same situation happened in their opening game against England. After that, the Americans had to go for the equalizer because their world cup journey was in complete jeopardy. The Americans did create some scoring chances but they could not capitalize on them. It was Diego Armando Maradona, the Argentine Coach, who said after their game against Nigeria, the teams who can’t capitalize on their scoring chances can find themselves in the losing end; and he thanked God that did not happen to them against Nigeria.
However, we had seen it happening to Spain, and in the first half it did happen to the Americans as well. After a missing scoring chance by The United States, the American Internationals found themselves down 0-2 after Zlatan Ljubijankic augmented the score for Slovenia. It was panic in the American Camp and the Americans all over the world started to wonder whether or not their national team could rise up to the occasion. A very good friend of mine, Dexter W. sent me a text message asking me what was happening to team USA. I quickly replied and said not to worry, the USA will win the game. I did not know where that statement came from, somehow, within my inner-self, I felt the Americans would come back to win the game. The first half ended 2-0 in favor of Slovenia and the USA had found themselves in a deep hole along with 300 million Americans. I could not see myself suffer another related Slovenian defeat. Last night, it was the Slovenian, Sasha Vujacic, who buried 2 free throws and sent my beloved Boston Celtics to mourning; Actually after the Celtics- Lakers finals, I had to force myself to write the articles for yesterday’s World Cup games because I could not comprehend how the Celtics let the seventh game slip away from them with a Lakers’ team that was mediocre at best in that final game, including Kobe Bryant.
Well, when the USA found themselves 0-2, It was a flashback of the two free throws taken by the Slovenian, Sasha Vujacic, that kept messing up with my memory. However, deep down, I felt the USA would win the game. It was do or die for the Americans. It was the talented Landon Donovan who capitalized on a mistake by the Slovenian defender and took the matter into his own hands to send a rocket shot into the roof net in the 48th minute. Had the Slovenian goalie, Samir Andanovic, tried to stop that ball, he would have also been buried into the net because Donovan was not about to take any prisoner with him.USA 1- Slovenia 2. It was quite an exhilarating joy experienced by the fans of the United States of America. Today, it was not the gods of football who was with the Americans; it was the GOD, Almighty. It was “In God We Trust.” I sensed the comeback would happen. It did happen. The Americans kept pressing for the equalizer because losing this game was not an option. For me, it was never an option, because I did not want to experience another defeat with a Slovenian taste in it.
I think the Slovenians did play well, but as the Americans kept attacking, the Slovenians kept collecting yellow cards; but again, the Malian Referee, Koman Coulibaly, was not up to the task and therefore should have never been an official for a World Cup game. This is besides the point for now, All the American wanted at that point were to equalize the game. Well, again it was the talented Landon Donovan who sent a long ball in the big rectangle and the Haitian-American descent, Jozy Altidore headed the ball down which was catapulted into the net by the USA national team coach’s son, Michael Bradley, in the 82nd minute. The Fans of the United States of America were chanting all over the world were chanting USA! USA! USA! USA! Hearing the USA chant sends some chills to my bones because I can recall when the Americans rescuers were in Haiti for the earthquake, the Haitians were also chanting USA! USA! USA! USA! as the rescuers were pulling survivors beneath the rubbles. I can also imagine, the People of Haiti in every corner, this time was not chanting, Argentina! Argentina! Or Brazil! Brazil!, but they were chanting USA! USA! USA! This is what the World Cup is all about. It is all about passion! It is all about having hope to come back even when the circumstances are not favorable. It is about having the will and the determination to fight against adversity and to overcome obstacle. And this is what the USA had done on June 18th in front of 45,573 spectators at the Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The game was 2-2 and the USA was going for the final knock out. They have wounded the Slovenian Internationals. They have destroyed the confidence of the Slovenians and now it was the time to give the Slovenians the coup de grace. Again, it was the talented Landon Donovan, from a free kick, and sent it into the big rectangle and Maurice buried the ball into the net for the game winner. The referee from Mali, Koman Coulibaly, disallowed the goal and robbed the USA of a legitimate victory. It was clearly a goal. There was no doubt about it. If there was a foul, it should have been a Penalty Kick for Team USA. In my book, the USA had won the game. FIFA has to rectify those situations because this referee’s action was ridiculous. He, the referee, has robbed the USA. But the USA still have hope to go to the next round and all they have to do is to win their third game against Algeria. It will not be an easy task, but remember “In God, We Trust”.
The final game of the day was between England vs. Algeria. The British Internationals really needed to take advantage of this game to earn themselves 3 points that would put them in a good position to move to the round of 16. Instead England have found a way to waste that opportunity. It seems Algeria was giving a lesson of football to the British. It seems like I was watching Zinedine Zidane doing his magic in front of England. Now, one has to ask the question whether or not England is a contender to take this WorldCup. Spain is a contender, they played extremely well, despite losing to Swiss. Germany is also a contender despite losing against Serbia. But the issue with England is that the team is not playing well at all. It seems Sir Fabio Capello must find a way to get the English Football in track. What is happening with the British Internationals, Gerrard, Rooney, Lampard, Terry? Could somebody tell me what is happening? Could some fans in England write to me and explain the situation? I can’t seem to comprehend this national team of England. The performance of England today in front of Algeria was completely pathetic. I hope with a salary of $9million dollars, Sir Capello must find the answer for the fans of England. Many fans of Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Netherlands and Uruguay can make a case for their respective national teams. However, I don’t think a fan of Argument can come and say England will win this World Cup. I hope some fans in England will contact me to explain to me what is happening to England. England has the potential but the superstars of England cannot play a collective football. Today, Algeria had given a lesson of football to England in that 0-0 tie. In Group C, Slovenia have 4 points with a GD (+1); the USA have 2 points with a GD (0); The USA would have had 4 points if it were not for the mediocre referee; England have 2 points with a GD (0) and Algeria has 1 point with a GD (-1).
Today the Germany has stumbled in front of Serbia. USA was robbed by referee in a 2-2 tie with Slovenia and Algeria schooled England.
Later on today, we shall see: Ghana vs Australia in Group D; Netherlands vs Japan and Cameroon vs Denmark in Group E.
Enjoy the games and may the referees keep the games clean.
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