The second round of the group stage of the 2010 FIFA Football World Cup ended as I’m typing this and the upsets and dramas just keep on coming. I think it’ll be fair to say that the tournament hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts and one hoped that the second round of matches would be much more exciting and enthralling. Well, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it was the best but the second round clearly shaded the first round – both in terms of performances and in terms of goals. And Red Cards!
While we lauded the free-scoring Germany team and hailed them as the team to watch, they went ahead and lost 1-0 to Serbia, with Klose sent off (rather harshly) and Podolski missing a penalty! But that was not the only upset of the round as reigning champions Italy were held to a 1-1 draw by New Zealand – who don’t even have a professional league. France succumbed to a 2-0 loss against Mexico as their tournament went from bad to worse as striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home after a bust-up with the coach. Another unexpected result, that had more far-reaching repercussions was England’s dour nil-all draw against Algeria.
The quality of football played has risen a notch in the second round and so did the number of goals scored. The ball was set rolling by a free-scoring Argentina, who came out 4-1 winners against South Korea, with Gonzalo Higuain scoring a hat-trick. Brazil didn’t quite roll out the style but did get the goals as a Luis Fabiano brace helped them to a 3-1 win over Ivory Coast. Spain shook off the disappointment of a shock first-round defeat by cruising to a 2-0 win over Honduras, in a match that could – and should – have had more goals. But the score of the tournament thus far came in the second kickoff today as Portugal hammered 7 (yes, Seven!) goals past a hapless Korea DPR. Tiago scored a brace and Raul, Simao, Almeida, Liedson and Cristiano Ronaldo added a goal apiece to make it a truly crushing win, that comes in handy as well…since they get to play Brazil next.
Whilst the first round saw only 25 goals, the second round of 16 matches have produced 42 goals – at an average of 2.6 goals per game. There were a couple of nil-alls and close 1-0 wins but overall, it has been better. I expect the last set of the group stage matches to include both dull games – where both teams know a draw would be enough to see them through – and also some exciting football from teams with their backs-to-the-walls. So c’mon England and be wary France!!!
- Game of the Second Week: Slovenia 2 –2 USA
- Yawnfest of the Second Week: England 0 – 0 Algeria
- Surprise of the Second Week: Serbia 1 – 0 Germany
- Disappointment of the Second Week: England’s draw against Algeria
- Most Impressive Players of the Second Week: David Villa (Spain) & Gonzalo Higuain
- Howler of the Second Week: The Referee in the Brazil Vs. Ivory Coast match who Red Carded Kaka
- Goal of the Second Week: Diego Forlan (Uruguay) Vs. South Africa (told ya so )