23 June 2010 – Day 13

In Group A, going into the game Uruguay and Mexico knew that if they drew they would both progress to the last 16. Anybody for a draw then? However, that would have meant Mexico finishing as runners-up and a probable meeting with Argentina in the knock-out stages. A win for either side would have given an opportunity for France and South Africa to progress. However, that would not necessarily have been enough due to their poor goal differences.

The pre-match build-up though was dominated by the story of a possible boycott of the fixture by certain French players after Anelka-gate. The implosion by the French has surpassed that of the Dutch in previous years and I’m sure people tuned into watch our Gaelic cousins game against the host country with morbid fascination. And for 45 minutes they didn’t disappoint. Down to 10 men and 2 nil down. Meanwhile, Uruguay were 1 up and South Africa were suddenly believing they could sneak through. However, the French hadn’t read the script entirely, improved in the second half, scored and both games fizzled out. South Africa were out and I’ll miss the joy, spirit and moving image of the players singing in the tunnel before each game. France – well they were a disgrace. A team who had the charm, cohesiveness and warmth of rubble.

So to the evening kick-offs which featured the conclusion of Group B. Argentina were as good as through, so the interest lay in who would finish second where all three teams were in with a shout. South Korea had to match Greece’s result against Argentina to go through, as long as they didn’t lose. If they lost, Greece could go through with a draw. However, if Nigeria beat South Korea and Greece lost, the Africans would go through as runners-up. As a certain meerkat would say “simples”.

As it turned out Greece displayed little attacking intention, lost 2 nil and so went out. They’ll not be missed. The drama was all in the South Korea and Nigeria game. A see-saw affair which included the miss of the tournament by Yakubu. Not a good day for the African countries, but credit to South Korea for making it through.

As for 3pm this afternoon and England……que sera sera.

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Posted June 23, 2010 by Editor in category "World Cup 2010 diary

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