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
Argentina, South Korea, Mexico and Uruguay to last 16; France, South Africa, Nigeria and Greece Eliminated
The games of today were in group A and Group B. The first games were South Africa vs. France and Mexico vs. Uruguay. France and South Africa needed a win and some help from Uruguay or Mexico to go to the round of 16. However, Both teams ended up bailing out of the tournament. South Africa have done well, they could have won their first game against Mexico in the last minute but the goal post said no. Despite eliminating from the tournament, one has to feel for South Africa as the host. However, the South Africans fought a good fight by beating France 2-1, but it was not enough. First it was Bongani Khumalo who gave the Host nation the lead in the 20th minute and Katlego Mphela who augmented the score for South Africa. The first half ended 2-0. The first half could have ended in 3-0 in favor of South Africa.
In the second half, the South Africa Internationals kept searching for more goals. Unfortunately they were unable to score. France was able to get on the scoring sheet after Malouda scored in the 70th minute. The match ended 2-1 in favor of South Africa. Both teams are eliminated from the tournament. Despite winning the game, the South Africans are eliminated because Mexico ended up with a better goal differential (GD) than South Africa. This was a good consolation prize for the South African people. However for France, this was very shameful. The French national team was a laughing stock in South Africa. Now, it is time for them to go back to France and reflect on their shamefulness.
While South Africa was playing with France, Uruguay was in a battle with Mexico. Both teams did create early chances. But they were unable to capitalize. However, It was the international, Luis Suarez who scored for Uruguay to put “el equipo celeste” up 1-0. As we all know, The Uruguayans are well disciplined in defense but was a bit difficult for the Mexicans to tie the score. However, Both teams knew with that result they were getting their ticket to the round of 16. In summary, Uruguay and Mexico advanced to the next round, while France and South Africa ended their World Cup in the first round. South Africa is the first World Cup host that did not qualify for the next round.
In Group B, the games were South Korea vs Nigeria and Argentina vs Geece. Nigeria needed to win their games to make it to the round of 16. The Nigerians had a dream start when Kalu Uche scored in the 12th minute to give Nigeria a 1-0 lead. However, history repeated itself when Nigeria could not manage the game when they had a scoring lead. They scored first against Greece and lost the game. Today, they scored first and could not win the game against South Korea. But the South Koreans deserved lot of credit because they fought back to take the lead 2-1 over the Nigerians who wasted so many opportunities that would have secured their spot in the round of 16. Now, the Nigerians had to book their ticket for their home destination. Despite tying the game 2-2 and some help from Argentina who had beaten Greece 2-0, the Nigerians were not able to take advantage of this golden opportunity. It was golden because the Nigerians after losing their first two games, they had control over their destiny. Perhaps, it is bad luck because those missing opportunities were extremely easy to take advantage of. But it seems that the gods of football were not on the Nigerian side but the Almighty God was on the side of the South Korean. We have to give the Nigerians credit for fighting until the last minute. They fought but it just was not enough. We have to congratulate the South Koreans for protecting the two goals that Lee Jung Soo and Park Chu Young had scored for them in the 38th minute and 49th minute respectively. Had Nigeria scored a 3rd goal, these two goals would not mean anything to the South Koreans. They earned their right to be in the round of 16 to face Uruguay on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The game of Nigeria vs South Korea played simultaneously with the game of Argentina vs Greece. The Greek Internationals had to win this game to give them a chance in the round of 16. However, playing against Argentina was not an easy task for them. The Greek had only 3 shots on goal, in one of those shots they could have scored and that would have given them the lead. The Greek did put a good fight against Argentina because Argentina was attacking but could not find the opening score until the second half in the 77th minute when Demichelis scored to give the Albiceleste a 1-0 lead over Greece. This score basically made it very hard for the Greek to earn a trip in the round of 16. After the goal, the Greek opened the game and the men conducted by Diego “Dieguito” Armando Maradona started to give a recital of football to the Greek. The world’s best player, Lionel “la Pulga” Messi, did show his brilliance during the game and was looking for his goal but the posts seemed to become the enemy of the messiah, Messi. However, it was ParlermGooooool who benefited from a Messi’s rebound shot when he catapulted the rebounding ball into the net guarded by Alexandros Tzorvas, the excellent Greek goalie, in the 89th minute. Palermo, the prolific Boca Junior’s goal scorer somehow managed to get his first world cup goal and surpasses his national team coach as the oldest Argentine player to score a goal in a world cup. It was a difficult for Argentina but they managed it very well against the Greek despite some lapses in defense. In this case, as Maradona said, we can’t afford to commit those mistakes in the next round because those mistakes can be costly. The game ended 2-0 in favor of the Albiceleste. Now, They’ll be ready for Mexico on Sunday in Johannesburg; and this game will be a rematch of the 2006 World Cup.
Later on today, the Americans will fight with Algeria to earn their ticket to the round of 16. The same holds true for England against Slovenia. For the Americans, their slogan is “In God We Trust” and I expect them to book their ticket. For England, they have talented players to earn them their ticket and I hope that the British would not end up like the French.
There will also be Ghana vs Germany and Australia vs Serbia. The Ghanaians do have a difficult game and one has to wonder if they can fight for the whole African Continent. The Ghanaians must instill in their minds the quote of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ‘’ The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” The Ghanians put themselves in a challenge against Germany, now it is time to find out the ultimate measure of the Ghanians. Will the Ghanaians rise to the occasion to render some football prestige to the African continent? We shall know the response later today. Finally, the Serbians will also fight against Australia and vice-versa. Now, the time has come for all those teams to step it up to the extreme highest level if they want to continue into the next round of the World’s biggest sporting event, The World Cup.
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