Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Uruguay v South Africa

Uruguay 3 - 0 South Africa
Forlan 24, 80 (pen)
Pereira 90 + 5

This was the first game with teams we've already seen, and the seventeenth game of the World Cup in six days. It's a long old haul, the World Cup. For the first fortnight there's three games a day - six hours if you include half time and the national anthems. If you're also writing a blog post for every game, you can find yourself turning a little introspective.

I went to the shop yesterday, the first time I'd been outside for three days, and all I managed to buy was some pork pies, a ready-cooked chicken and some beer. It wasn't slobbishness, well not entirely, I've just forgotten how to deal with the world. I could calculate snacks, but not salad.

There was a big queue, which made me wonder if maybe it was Friday. Fortunately I managed to retain just enough nous not to ask. When I got in I checked my fixtures list, and it turned out it was Tuesday, not very near to Friday at all. To me it was just Day Five.

So it's probably a good thing that we've got through the first round of games. South Africa won't feel like that though. They were thoroughly outclassed in their second game, I'm afraid, by a Uruguay team that just brushed past them in the way we thought Mexico would.

The home side had the first chance, when a corner just eluded Mokwena, and we all thought it was going to be fine. If you recall, we want them to do well because we want Africa to do well, and because a successful home nation helps to build the atmosphere.

For Uruguay, Suarez played the ball to Forlan, failed to anticipate the return pass and shot wide. You could see Forlan shouting at Suarez, and you thought good, they're falling out. Tshabalala missed chances he might have done better with, but then he did that in the first game.

Reality started to dawn in the 25th minute, when Forlan's shot from distance took a cruel deflection off Mokwena, went over Khune and dropped in. At first we thought it was brilliance, but then the reply showed us it was luck. Luck, and a collective failure to close him down by the entire defence, almost any one of whom might have got near enough if they'd tried.

Forlan was Uruguay's best player, but Suarez had a great game too. A few minutes after the goal he went round Khumalo, who bluntly wasn't up to the job of staying with him, but his shot missed from a tight angle. South Africa's next attack gave Fusile the chance to knock Modise to the ground while no-one was looking. No-one except the camera, that is. Why do players expect to get away with that kind of thing when every inch of the pitch is constantly being filmed?

The next thing in my notes is Modise cross, and I expect he was, but I think I meant that he hit the ball high into the middle from the edge. Mphela got in a header, but from the edge of the box it was hardly going to be a problem, and it went hard but wide.

Modise must have been even crosser when Dikgacoi got booked for a late tackle. He'll now miss the France game, while Fusile goes unpunished. For now, anyway. Hopefully he'll miss the Mexico game when officials see the video evidence. Actually, if I just sidled up to someone in a pub, flat out assaulted them from behind for no reason and got caught on CCTV while I was doing it, I'd get arrested. Why doesn't he?

An over reaction, perhaps. I just hate it when they try to be violent secretly, if only because it makes it so much harder to write about it. Why can't they just ram their studs into each other's genitals in front of the referee, like real men? At least then we get a laugh out of it.

The second half belonged to Uruguay. On 51 minutes they had a plausible penalty appeal, when Khumalo seemed to bring Suarez down in the box. It wasn't given, but soon after Lagano had a great chance for a header. He over jumped it, somehow, and it came off his shoulder and went harmlessly wide, but Uruguay were now dominant.

South Africa had one decent chance halfway through the second half. The cross came in from the right, Mphela got his head on it just before the keeper punched it, but it came off his gloved hand and wide. South Africa didn't even get a corner for it.

Soon after that it was all over. Khune gave away a penalty when he brought down Suarez as he was about to go round him and score. Everyone on the bench tried to claim it was offside, Khune insisted he hadn't touched him, but none of it mattered, and the replay showed onside, and clear contact.

Khune was sent off, and Josephs came on to try and save the penalty. Forlan looked nervous, and it was a long enough wait before he could take it, but he put it in easily enough in the end.

If that wasn't bad enough, just before the end of injury time South Africa conceded another. All the Uruguayan playmakers were in on it. Forlan crossed to Suarez on the goal line, he chipped it perfectly over the keeper and Pareira headed it home from point blank range. Soon after, the whistle went.

Poor South Africa. To progress, they now need to beat France by at least three goals, without two of their best players. Tomorrrow France play Mexico, and the winner of that probably goes through with Uruguay. The host nation could well be the first team to be knocked out of the World Cup. We feared it, we knew it was likely, and now it's almost a certainty.

No comments:

Post a Comment