June 16th, 2010
Chile 1 – Honduras 0…This battle between Latin countries was taken by Chile when Jean Beausejour scored at the 34′ mark. It was a historic moment for Chile as they snapped a 48 year World Cup victory drought. Chile came close to doubling its lead on several occasions. In the 62′, Alexis Sanchez sent a clear-cut chance wide after he was put in free by dangerous playmaker Jorge Valdivia. In the 64′, defender Waldo Ponce saw his close-range header saved brilliantly by the Honduras goalkeeper.
Switzerland 1 – Spain 0…The first MAJOR UPSET occurred when Switzerland topped Spain. The Swiss were rarely in attack mode, as Spain outshot them 25-9. It didn’t matter as they put in the game’s only goal. Gelson Fernandes scored for the Swiss at the 52′ mark to start the 2nd half. The loss ended Spain’s run of 12 straight wins and handed the Spanish just their second loss in 50 games — the other was to the United States at the Confederations Cup in South Africa last year. Spain controlled the ball at a staggering 74% – 26%. The bad news for Spain is that no team has won the World Cup after losing its opening match. Only three teams have ever won the title after losing ANY match, most recently Argentina in 1978. Talk about defense, Switzerland was knocked out of the 2006 World Cup on penalty kicks by Ukraine in the round of 16 without conceding a goal in the tournament and has now gone 490 minutes in World Cup play without being scored upon.
Uruguay 3 – South Africa 0…Uruguay just about buried the hope of the host nation, South Africa with a lopsided victory. Diego Forlan had two goals in the match. The first goal was scored at the 24th minute when Forlan scored on a deflected 25-yard shot that hit South Africa captain Aaron Mokoena on his shoulder and looped over the goalkeeper. It was a beautiful shot that stunned the South African squad. At the 80′ mark, a controversial red card was given to the South African goaltender, Itumeleng Khune for a sweep and clipping the leg of Luis Suarez. It was pretty clear that Suarez over reacted to sell the clip as he took a nasty spill. The penalty shot was awarded to Uruguay, and Forlan put them up 2-0. At the 90′ mark Alvaro Pereira put in a header to top the victory off. South Africa had 120 more total touches than Uruguay, but Uruguay had 19 touches in the box compared to South Africa’s 4. Uruguay earns its second World Cup win in 18 matches since 1970 and is quickly becoming a team nobody wants to face in the knockout rounds.
June 17th, 2010
Argentina 4 – South Korea 1…It didn’t take to many matches for Argentina to let it be known they were for real. Gonzalo Higuain was the star of the show as he claimed the World Cup’s first hat trick. As if they needed any help, Argentina went up 1-0 when Park Chu-Young flailed poorly to block a centered in pass from Lionel Messi and the ball deflected off of his thigh into the goal. Goal number two was a simple header put in by Higuain. South Korea showed it was still in the game, when down 2-0 in first-half injury time, Lee Chung-Yong slipped by on a defensive mistake to poke in a goal and go into the half down 2-1,Unfortunately for the South Korean’s Higuain’s two second-half goals — in the 76th and 80th minutes — put the game away. Messi made a great run to set up Higuain’s second goal. He had a shot blocked, got the rebound and hit the post with a second strike. The ball bounced to Higuain, who tapped it in. Four minutes later, Messi played the ball in to substitute striker Sergio Aguero, who crossed for Higuain to complete the rout. Argentina is only adding to the flexed muscle that is South American football (soccer)..South American teams remain undefeated (5-0-2) at this World Cup!!
Greece 2 – Nigeria 1…Just scoring was a minor success for Greece. Winning a match and Greece can go home happy knowing they made history. The Greeks claimed their first World Cup win by rallying from going down 1-0 to beat Nigeria 2-1. Vasilis Torisidis poked home a loose ball in the 71st minute after a mistake by the Nigerian goalkeeper to make history for Greece, which had lost all four previous World Cup matches, including three in 1994. Nigeria took the lead at the 16′ mark when a curling free kick made it in from 35 yards out. The game completely changed in the 33rd minute when Nigeria midfielder Sani Kaita was shown a straight red card for kicking Torosidis. It was a bonehead play as the two were in a minor tussle and he lost his cool. There were two milestones in the game as the 11 shots on goal for Greece were a tournament high. It was also the first comeback victory of the World Cup. African nations are coming up real short in this Cup. They drop to 1-5-2 in this World Cup so far.
Mexico 2 – France 0…France is all but done in this Cup after losing to Mexico. The two played to a 0-0 half. Mexico substitute Javier Hernandez somehow managed to stay onside as he beat the defense badly and put a sweet move on the goalkeeper to place it right into the net and go up 1-0. At the 79′ mark, Mexico got a penalty kick when France’s Eric Abidal took out Mexico’s Pablo Barrera. The penalty kick was taken and made by Cuauhtémoc Blanco, who is the third-oldest player to score in a World Cup at 37 years, 151 days.