So I decided I would briefly recap some of the matches I catch during the 2010 South African World Cup. It is the most exciting, and the most worldly sporting event there ever has been, and I love it, so why not?
The first match between the hosting nation (Republic of South Africa) and Mexico, the more experienced football squad was an exciting opening to a spectacular World Cup tournament. South Africa has relatively little experience in the World Cup stage, but never underestimate a determined squad playing on their home turf! As for Mexico, they are quite decorated with 13 World Cup appearances and reasonable enough successes here and there.
The first have came out a 0-0 draw. In fact I slept in and missed the first half, and just started watching the second half so I suppose this is a half-review, but that’s OK – at least I got all the goals.
South Africa managed to get the opening goal for the hosting nation – on a break away, Tshabalala beat the Mexican goalie Perez for a spectacular goal that hits the top right corner of the goal! It was a phenomenal moment for them, a great confidence booster – to score the opening strike against such a decorated squad compared to themselves, with only 2 previous appearances in the World Cup finals.
However the game was not over yet – far from over. On a fantastic cross that lands a mere metres away from the South African net, Marquez fools the South African Goalie, Khune, who had to face 3 attackers in front of him with perhaps 1 defender helping him, if not zero. It was a complete fall-apart of the less experienced South African defense to have let such a cross through. So with just over 10 minutes left in the match, the match went back to a 1-1 tie. Good heart for the Mexicans to come back with a goal to hold the grounds steady!
The play styles of the two teams were quite different. Mexico, overall, seemed to be the more experienced squad with more patience. But South Africa looked dangerous with plenty of aggressive speed down the lines. South Africa often seemed to be in the hot plate, but when the defenders clear the ball away, boy can they break away! There were at least two breaks in the second half, apart from the one that resulted in the goal, that was so close to 2nd and 3rd goals for the South African side. And when South Africa had the drive to push into the Mexican zone, the Mexican defenders looked rather lame and tired. Fortunately, both the breaks resulted in missed shots (barely), with one actually hitting the goal post.
If South Africa wants to advance further in this World Cup, their defense has to move a bit faster to cover the exploit that can potentially lead to a bad goal. Their rushes are fine – their offensive force is there, although it will be interesting to see how they fare against tougher opponents such as France when it comes to their counterstrike abilities.
As for Mexico – run back! They seemed so flat footed on some of the South African breaks. Were they arrogant? Perhaps. But with a more disciplined defensive play and opportunistic strikes, this match easily could have been 1-0 Mexico. However because of their lack of sweeping defense, they conceded the first goal, and nearly saw a 2-1 or 3-1 defeat in the face of deadly counter-attacks by RSA.
This was my first review and recap of the first World Cup 2010 Match! Enjoy the rest, feel free to comment, and don’t waste your time trying to tell me that hockey is more exciting than football. The World Hockey Championships (Winter Olympic Gold Medal Games, or the IIHF World Cup) are kind of like the chess tourneys at the retirement homes – nobody outside the retirement homes give a sh*t about who wins. In this moment, Tshabalala is a more famous man in this world than Sidney Crosby will ever be. Get over it.