So far, this tournament has been a shocker in terms of goalkeeping and defensive mistakes with almost one goal conceded by a complete blunder every game. It started with Rob Green's error where he let the ball roll in off his gloves, sparking a frenzy of jokes about Rob Green all over the internet and destroying his reputation as a reliable keeper in an instant. It carried on in Algeria's match against Slovenia, one of the most boring matches I have ever watched in my life. Algeria keeper Faouzi Chaouchi dived for a relatively easy save but instead of catching the ball with his outstretched hands, he tried to grab it into his chest, and the ball went straight through his arms for Slovenia's winning goal (see video above). Mark Schwarzer, against Germany let in a barrage of goals including one where he failed to punch away the ball, giving Miroslav Klose a free header to score. For our next blunder, it's Holland vs Denmark and this time Danish defender Poulsen tries to clear an aimless cross but ends up heading the ball into his own goal off Daniel Agger's back. And the final blunder in this long list is one by Justo Villar, the Paraguayan keeper, against Italy. On a corner, he came well off his line to punch the ball away but missed completely and the goal was converted by de Rossi.
Red Cards (and other foul play)
The last World Cup was the one with the most cards handed out in the tournament's history, helped by one match where there were 16 yellow cards and 4 red cards, but this tournament looks set to beat that record. There have been 4 red cards in the first 3 days of play. The first was for Lodeiro of Uruguay for a nasty challenge on Bacary Sagna; the next went to Ghezzal of Algeria for a completely unnecessary handball, for his second yellow; Lukovic of Serbia got his seconds yellow for manhandling Gyan and Tim Cahill was unfortunate to get a ridiculous straight red card for a seemingly non-bookable offence. Diving has already been seen in vast quantities, especially in Paraguay vs Italy, where de Rossi fell over clutching his leg when he was at least a yard away from the nearest defender.
The Jabulani Ball
Above is the production method for the new Jabulani ball, which looks pretty complex but it seems that it is going down a shocker with the players as I said in my previous blog post. It seems that the ball feels lighter which is why you see many of the free kicks flying over the bar as well as a number of over-hit crosses. Pertly to blame for the boring matches so far and also partly responsible for all of the blunders by keepers.
These are the stupid air horns that are "livening" up matches this year at the World Cup, drowning the commentary out on the television by the sound of hundreds of thousands of bees. They are a tradition in South African football and are meant to intimidate the opponents but have only succeeded in annoying everyone else in the world. For us at home, we were almost spared this torment when FIFA considered banning the vuvuzelas after some clever scientists came up with the excuses that they spread germs and could cause hearing loss, but the idea was rejected after some human rights people came along and said it was illegal to ban them. :-(
Poor decisions by Fabio Capello
Almost all of his decisions have backfired on him. By picking Ledley King, he has just lost yet another central defender to injury; by picking Green he has allowed a ridiculous mistake to let a draw happen and by not selecting Walcott, he has realised that he now lacks players who can be dangerous on the flanks. He needs to sort everything out... and fast.
For now, that is pretty much all to say. Tomorrow should be interesting with Portugal vs Ivory Coast, which will probably be the deciding match for seconds place in that group and Brazil vs North Korea which should be a laugh.