Daily Archives: June 14, 2010

Naughty, naughty…

Uruguay gets the first red card of the tournament

World Cup referees have already been busy, with four sending offs in just three days… three of them coming yesterday.

In Algeria vs. Slovenia, nothing much was happening until Abdelkader Ghezzal handled the ball in the box, earning him a second yellow card and a visit to the showers.  Six minutes later, Slovenia’s Robert Koren hits it into the corner of the net and the Europeans win 1-nil. 

Second game: Ghana-Serbia and more snoring until Aleksander Lukovic held Asamoah Gyan’s arm… earning a second yellow.  Off he goes. Then in the 83rd, Zdravko Kuzmanovic plays the ball with his hand, earning him a yellow… and Ghana a free kick. Gyan converts and Ghana wins 1-0, making them the first African team to win a World Cup match on African soil.

The third game involved Germany giving Die Mannschaft to Australia. (BTW, what a great name for a bar in a certain Toronto neighbourhood).  Deutschland was already up 2-0 when the Socceroos went down to 10 men.  And if there was a team that was going to get a red, it was the Aussies. Neill, Emerton and Cahill are all known for their cynical challenges… and Ginger Kev called Cahill to get the red.  The midfielder-cum-forward went in with a late two-footer and got the boot himself.

The record for red cards in a single tournament is 28, set last time around at Germany 2006.  If you include Uruguay’s red on Friday, this tournament already has four… which means it’s on pace for 40.  But that’s just my shady math.  I’m a writer, damn it, not a miracle worker.

Brent Lanthier

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Country champ, club chump?

Die Mannschaft delivery service

After witnessing Miroslav Klose and Lucas Podolski dismantle the Aussies, one has to wonder: why couldn’t these guys do it all season for their clubs? Klose spent most of the year buried on the bench in Bayern, while Podolski wasn’t considered Bayern material anymore and shipped off to FC Koln, where he was terrible. How do they instantly become scoring machines when they put on a Germany shirt?

They aren’t the only players who seem to play well for either club or country but not both. Great club-only players include the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Diego Milito, Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi, and every English goalkeeper in the last 15 years. Great national teamers include Gilberto Silva, Fanis Gekas, Fabio Cannavaro (of late his club form has been poor), and Roque Santa Cruz.

There are, of course, players that excel at both club and national levels (Landon Donovan, Kaka, and the entire Spanish team come to mind), but the answer to club/country inconsistency has remained a talking point for years. Maybe it’s the style of play, the passion (or lack therof) for their country, or the differing managers’ philosophy, but whatever the reason expect some superstars to flourish and others to flounder over the next month.

Hadi Zogheib

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