June 21, 2010

Seven goals will cause excessive hugging!

Portugal 7 – North Korea 0…Complete and utter annihilation, as Portugal showed they are for real after netting a draw in their first match. Cristiano Ronaldo finally scored. So did Raul Meireles, Simao Sabrosa, Hugo Almeida, Liedson and Tiago (twice). One of the world’s best and highest paid players, Ronaldo had not scored for his nation in a non-friendly match since the 2008 European Championship. “To score seven goals in a World Cup is not easy,” said Ronaldo, who gave his man-of-the-match award to Tiago. “My teammates played very well.” Portugal put on the most dominant performance in the World Cup, knocking in a flurry of second-half goals, the win puts Portugal on the brink of advancing to the round of 16. Portugal’s seven-goal margin is tied for seventh-largest in World Cup history. It’s the largest since Germany beat Saudi Arabia 8-0 in 2002, and third-largest in the last nine World Cups (35 years).

Chile 1 – Switzerland 0…Chile broke through the nearly impenetrable Swiss defense when substitute Mark Gonzalez scored on a header in the 75′ mark, and Chile beat a 10-man Switzerland squad to move closer to a spot in the final 16. Before Chile scored, Switzerland set a World Cup record in the 69th minute by going 551 minutes without allowing a goal, breaking the mark of 550 held by Italy at the 1986 and 1990 tournaments. Switzerland could only muster seven shots and only one on goal compared to the twenty shots Chile had. Switzerland played a man down since the 31st minute when midfielder Valon Behrami was sent off with a straight red card for rough play against Arturo Vidal.

Spain 2 – Honduras 0…Spain got right back on track after losing their first match, as superstar David Villa scored two goals. Villa missed a hat trick when he sailed a penalty kick wide at the 62′ mark. With only seven shots total, and ZERO on goal, Honduras is basically eliminated after starting out 0-2 in group play. David Villa scored both goals to tie a Spanish record with five career World Cup goals. He has 40 goals in 60 appearances, four behind Raúl for most goals in Spain history.

June 22, 2010

South Africa 2 – France 1…South Africa came away with victory, but they will also go down in World Cup history as the only host nation to be eliminated in opening round play. The win is just the second for an African nation (2-7-4). France showed why they were the laughing stock of the Cup by getting doubled up by South Africa in shots and shots on goal. South Africa jumped out to a 2-0 halftime lead with help from two nicely scored goals. Substitute Florent Malouda scored for France in the 70th minute. France and South Africa will not be moving into the next round.

Uruguay 1 – Mexico 0…Both teams have advanced out of Group A as Uruguay outshined Mexico on the scoreboard AND on the field. Uruguay is the best example of how strong the South American nations have been in the first round of the World Cup. The last team to qualify for the tournament, Uruguay needed to beat Costa Rica in a playoff to even get to South Africa. The Uruguayans are getting the last laugh now as they continue to impress. South American teams have won nine of their 11 matches thus far. Mexico earned four points, but a better goal differential than South Africa (plus-1 to minus-2) allowed them to advance. Mexico has advanced in every World Cup it qualified for since failing to get out of the first round in 1978.

Argentina says "We like to hug too!"

Argentina 2 – Greece 0…Argentina goes 3-0 in group play and wins the group as Greece bows out. Argentina Coach Diego Maradona replaced seven starters from last match’s starting that ran up a 4-1 victory over South Korea — but it didn’t matter much. While being outshot 22-7 and outshot on goal 12-3, Greece did its best to keep Argentina off the board, and they did until Argentina scored at the 77′ and 89′ mark.

South Korea 2 – Nigeria 2…In what turned out to be the match of the day, South Korea advanced out of Group B and sent Nigeria home despite the draw for both. Nigeria scored first at the 12′ mark when Kalu Uche put into net a very long center pass. South Korea scored at 38′ and 49′ to take the halftime lead. Nigeria tied the match with a penalty kick at the 69′ mark. South Korea advances to the round of 16 for the first time on foreign soil. Nigeria is now 0-6-2 in its past eight World Cup matches.