The day started with South Korea’s 2-0 victory over Greece. Lee Jung Soo scored in the seventh minute and Greece was never able to get past it. At the 52nd minute, Park Ji Sung cemented South Korea’s lead with another goal. Since the first goal set the trend for the whole game, it’s my photo moment of the match.
The second match of the day was between a name that comes up often when a casual fan in the US says “soccer” – Argentina – against a lesser known team – Nigeria ending in a 1-0 win for Argentina. My American brain was predicting a route, and that probably would’ve been the case if it weren’t for the efforts of one man – goal keeper Vincent Enyeama. He blocked many shots including several by the man who is arguably the best in the world – Lionel Messi. Even if the team itself doesn’t go farther than the group stage, he can leave having won that personal victory. Because of this, he is the subject of my photo moment of the match.
One more bit of news concerning Argentina. Their coach, Diego Maradona has promised to run naked through the center of Buenos Aires. I’m sure that there are some Argentina fans who would now be quite satisfied with second place.
The final match of the day was the one I’d heard the most about. It was the USA going up against England. Depending on who you listened to prior to the game the US was either completely and totally useless as should just fly home to save themselves from embarrassment or they had magically been possessed by the spirit of the Soccer Gods and were going to absolutely flatten any team they played. The truth was, unsurprisingly, somewhere in between – a 1-1 draw. There was a very early goal by England and many thought the US was done for since, historically, if the US gives up an early goal, they can’t catch up. The thing is, soccer rarely goes by history or numbers. The Soccer Gods always have their say and yesterday they smiled down upon the US in the form of a straight forward kick and an abysmally botched attempt at a save. Yes, the photo moment of the match is Robert Green’s epic fail.
Oh, the pain… if you an England fan.
Tim Howard also played a big part in the US hanging on. Early on there was a fear that he might not be able to continue after a save resulted in his colliding with the England striker and taking a foot to the chest. A whack to the solar-plexus is very painful and it knocked the wind out of him, but after a few minutes he’d shaken it off and the game continued. He gave a great performance leading the commentators to call the match “A Tale of Two Goalkeepers”.
One interesting fact. In preparation for this match, the Brazilian referees took courses in… curse words. I understand why especially given Wayne Rooney’s much talked about penchant for colorful language, but I still think it’s funny. I just keep remembering my time in language classes over the years and the image of a class in Modern English Obscenities is hysterical. One question, where’s my application to teach this course? I’m more than qualified.
And now the fan homage.
USA. There is a special feeling one gets when hearing their national anthem sung rather drunkenly by thousands of strangely dresses supporters of their nation and knowing that there might be a snowball’s chance in hell that their team won’t lose this one.
The Slovenia-Algeria game just wrapped up about a half hour ago. The score was 1-0. Serbia and Ghana are due to play in a half hour. Germany plays Australia at 2:30 pm.