South Africa 2010 World Cup Diary

Each day during the World cup that involves an Arsenal player Jimc will be presenting his World Cup Diary starting with day 1 and a look at South Africa v Mexico and Uruguay v France…
Friday June 11th
South Africa 1-1 Mexico (Johannesburg)
After weeks of smashing radios in the heat of Andy Townsend build-up, the World Cup finally started. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was offering-out Peter Crouch already with some doctrinal dance moves of his own, and the sound of the vuvuzela inside Soccer City was like a billion angry bees. All that was missing was the sting in the tail after an entertaining first game ended all square and rather frustratingly for Carlos Vela.
Early on Vela was involved in most of Mexico’s attacking play, spinning off markers and linking well with Giovani Dos Santos and Guillermo Franco.
After the half hour mark Vela delightfully chipped a ball over the Bafana Bafana defence. Franco’s chest control was good but Itumeleng Khune closed down well. In the 34th minute Vela found space but passed the ball across the goal to nobody in particular.
Three minutes later Vela was involved again, but in typical Arsenal fashion he opted for the pussy pass rather than pulling the trigger in a more revolutionary way. The resulting corner however was nodded past the flapping South African keeper into Vela’s path for a tap in, but his celebrations were cut short when the linesman’s flag was raised for offside.
In the second-half Vela and Mexico looked to have run out of ideas and the host nation began to capitalise with the counter-attacking of a springbok. In some ways the Mexican style was reminiscent of Arsenal, very neat yet missing the finishing touch.
Vela was subbed off after 69 minutes in-between Siphiwe Tshabalala’s opener and Rafael Marquez’s 79th minute equaliser. It was a mixed first game then for the Gunners’ no. 12, but a couple of tequilas to get it out of the system and he should be ready for France.
Insider entertainment rating     8/10
France 0-0 Uruguay (Cape Town) 
The vuvuzela’s buzzing sound continued into Group A’s other fixture. It might already be driving some mad, but before you bad mouth the horn, it’s bringing life to a tournament which the BBC are trying their best to drag down with extremely grey coverage. Mark Lawrenson made Gareth Southgate look like Louie Spence.
In the first-half France’s team-play appeared as clueless as Emmanuel Adebayor on the couch – just when I thought the BBC couldn’t stoop any lower. Lawro said Abou Diaby had “the movement of a wardrobe” while Alan Hansen said he was the best player on the pitch. At the expense of a bust-up between manager Ramond Domenech and Florent Malouda, Diaby was given a starting role.
After the break, William Gallas took one of his typical winded time-outs and after 81 minutes Bacary Sagna was also in the wars when he felt the studs of Nicolas Lodeiro on his ankle. The card happy referee Yuichi Nishimura of Japan produced the first red of the tournament.
In the 89th minute Sagna stretched his legs, crossing from deep for Thierry Henry. There were appeals for handball in the box and a panicky few minutes followed. Diaby’s cheese-string legs earned France a free-kick and Henry hit the wall before the final whistle. Gael Clicy was an unused sub.
There already seems to be a lack of harmony in Les Bleus’ camp and Arsenal’s boys could be home early this year. Although I did notice the ball skills of a large dung-beetle during the opening ceremony, Raymond …
Insider entertainment rating     5/10

LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment