Saturday, June 20, 2009
The Group A standings are as follows: (1) Spain - 6pts, +6 GD; (2) South Africa - 4pts, +2GD; (3) Iraq - 1pt, -1 GD; (4) New Zealand - 0pts, -7 GD. If Spain beats S. Africa 1-0 and Iraq beat New Zealand 2-0, then South Africa and Iraq will be tied on pts, GD, and goals scored. This means that there will be a random draw to determine the 2nd team to move into the seminfinals from Group A. That would suck for everyone involved, so let's hope for a different outcome.
Spain will run out a 4-4-2 featuring:
GK - Reina
DEF - Albiol, Pique, Puyol, Arbeloa
MID - Riera, Sergio, Fabregas, Xavi
ST - Villa, Torres
Eh, that's not bad, I suppose.
Bafana Bafana counter with a 4-5-1 featuring:
GK - Khune
DEF - Gaxa, Masilela, Mokoena, Booth
MID - Mhlongo, Sibaya, Pienaar, Modise, Dikgacoi
ST - Parker
There are rumours that the Iraq v. New Zealand match is possibly on Telefutura. It may also be available on ESPN360. If it is available and one of my comrades is able to get to it, we may have dueling liveblogs. Feel free to jump back and forth between the 2 if that happens.
NOTE: If this liveblog ends mid-match, you should be aware that I have most likely been killed by the largest fly that I have ever seen.
In your WC 2010 qualifying news, there were several CAF matches. Those scores:
Algeria 2-0 Zambia (Final)
Kenya 2-1 Mozambique (Final)
Morocco 0-0 Togo (Final)
Sudan 0-2 Ghana (Final)
Burkina Faso 3-2 Ivory Coast (Final)
Tunisia 0-0 Nigeria (Final)
In your pre-game festivities, Magnus Samuelsson defeated Richard Skog 13 reps to 11 in the log lift on World's Strongest Man.
OK, kids - since there is no CWS game necessary, the Spain v. South Africa (my match) is on ESPN, while Iraq v. New Zealand is on ESPN2. Enjoy accordingly.
00:00 - And we're off!
01:30 - Spain using the width of the field, as a pass from Puyol to Xavi is cleared by Booth.
03:00 - Free-kick for Spain taken by Riera elicits a nice save from Khune.
05:00 - Spain is absolutely dancing around the Bafana Bafana, and we see a YC for Sibaya for a late challenge on Cesc. Seriously, the last thing he needs is another hard tackle.
05:40 - Xavi takes the free-kick and it is headed over by Villa.
06:30 - A quick counter from Parker takes too long to get across the field to Modise, and Spain clear.
07:35 - Free-kick for S. Africa on a push by Arbeloa. Modise drives it in and it is flicked on, but the defense clear after Booth has a semi-chance. On the counter, Cesc attempts to slip a pass to Xavi but comes up short.
08:40 - Masilela attempts to dribble the entire Spanish defense but he is eventually dispossessed.
09:50 - A soft pass drifts back easily to Khune, who clears it to midfield. Spain make another run on the right through Puyol but his cross goes over the endline.
11:00 - Riera does some excellent work coupled with Villa in the middle, and he is fouled at the top of the box. The free-kick hits off the wall and is gathered by Khune.
12:45 - Parker is down after a challenge from Pique. He pops up and limps around for a bit while play resumes.
14:00 - Another free-kick for Spain, as Modise commits the foul. The ball is played quickly but is cleared.
15:20 - Puyol plays Fabregas into the box. Booth clears it out, but only as far as Puyol, who sends it on to Torres, whose shot is deflected.
16:20 - A cross from Arbeloa is too close to Khune, who comes out and takes it easily.
17:00 - Foul on Modise by Fabregas for a free-kick at the top of the box. The kick, taken by Modise floats over the bar harmlessly.
19:50 - Some nice interplay between Torres and Fabregas, but Torres doesn't continue his run, allowing the ball to run out over the endline.
20:40 - Gaxa to Pienaar, who sends the ball a little too far down the line for Sibaya, resulting in a deep throw-in for Spain.
21:50 - Xavi with a long ball to Torres, who brings the ball down on his chest (arm?). The shot appeared to be going wide, but Khune gather it up anyway.
ED NOTE: I refuse to make a "Biko" joke in response to Georger's query.
24:00 - The first offside of the match comes on Parker, and after the action Albiol manages to get himself a YC - it appears to have been for grabbing Parker's jersey, which is a fairly soft booking.
25:00 - A dangerous cross is cleared by Mokoena, resulting in a throw for Spain. The ball is played back out wide for Puyol, who finds Fabregas. The ball moves easily, but Sergio loses control and then commits a foul.
27:00 - Sibaya is caught in the corner with the ball against 2 defenders, but manages to earn a corner. The ball is played short and results in a throw after a deflection. Gaxa puts the ball into play and a horrible clearance from Sergio comes directly to Modise. In the chaos, Pienaar is fouled by Sergio (settle down, man!). The free-kick is taken by Modise but goes directly into the wall.
29:40 - Sergio goes down as Gaxa gets up to head the ball over him, but miraculously gets up to defend the throw. Albiol heads it out for a corner, which is taken by Pienaar. Spain look to have cleared, but the ball winds up with Pienaar. A pass to Dikgacoi results in a cross/shot that goes wide.
32:20 - Pienaar goes down in a heap after Pique gives him a boot in the thigh. I can't tell what happens next, because ESPN drops the damn feed yet again. We get switched to Iraq v. New Zealand for 2 seconds, and then back to our match. Congrats, ESPN! Your streak of losing the feed during EVERY match is intact.
34:30 - Best chance of the match as Fabregas streaks through and finds Torres. The attempted chip is turned away by Khune and Booth cleans up the mess.
36:20 - Spain dominating the match, but the Bafana squared are acquitting themselves well here. Good defending has resulted in only 2-3 legitimate chances for Spain.
37:45 - A nice run from Pienaar is wasted as his pass to Parker is shot well over the bar.
38:30 - A quick counter finds Villa at the top of the box, but the ball is just inches beyond his foot and rolls over the endline.
39:10 - And S. Africa should be up 1-0, as Pienaar finds Modise on the left side of the box. His curled chip shot barely goes wide of the post as Reina looked on.
41:00 - Fabregas finds Torres, who dribbles past Masilela and Booth. His pass finds Villa, but the shot is well off-target.
42:00 - Some nice passing from S. Africa goes the width of the pitch across the midfield and ends with a scuffed shot by Parker. Fabregas begins the counter with a pass to Riera. The ball comes back to Fabregas, whose chip is almost headed into an OG but Khune is there to collect.
43:30 - Xavi with a shot/cross that goes wide.
44:50 - Fabregas dances with the ball and eventually finds Puyol. The return pass is cleverly back-heeled...over the endline.
45:00 + 02:00 - Some sloppy play by both sides ends the half, and we are tied 0-0.
HALF-TIME NOTES: As I mentioned, S. Africa are doing well defensively, outside of some minor lapses near the end of the half. Xavi has been a non-factor for Spain, and he needs to regain his midfield dominance if they are to make something happen.
On the Group B front, the studio analysts tell us that the USMNT needs to exhibit some heart in their next match against Egypt. No shit, Sherlock.
45:01 - And we're off again!
45:30 - Well, JP, if I'm Spain I'm wondering: (1) how can I be a whole country; and (2) why the fuck am I on a couch in Michigan?
46:20 - Sergio goes down holding his knee after having been grazed. The resulting free-kick from Xavi barely misses wide, although Khune appeared to have it covered.
48:20 - A long ball from Pique is out of reach for Torres, but El Nino gives him the thumbs up anyway. It's a self-esteem building exercise.
49:50 - Fabregas running into the box, and he is taken down! Mokoena gets in a late challenge after Cesc was past him for an easy decision. Villa is STOPPED on the PK! Khune guesses right and makes the save, and then saves the rebound from Puyol as well. Outstanding work!
51:20 - GOAL! Spain 1-0 South Africa Villa atones for his miss by chesting down the ball from Riera and slotting it at the far post.
52:30 - A YC to Modise for a late tackle, as the Bafana Bafana may be coming undone.
53:20 - Dikgacoi and Puyol get into it, followed by a hip challenge from the former on Albiol, which earns him a YC.
55:50 - Yet another YC, this time to Pique for a very late challenge on Gaxa, as things are getting a bit heated.
57:00 - Good work through the middle, played out wide to Gaxa. His cross fails to find Modise or Parker, but earns a corner. The short corner results in nothing, as Puyol heads it out. The counter finds Villa offsides.
58:20 - Pique struggles to control a ball down the side and S. Africa earns a throw. However, Pienaar commits a foul after the ball is played in.
60:00 - Hernandez on, Villa off for Spain. Llorente on, Torres off for Spain. This is clearly a decision based on preserving Villa and Torres, health-wise.
61:00 - A ball to Hernandez from Fabregas results in a corner. Xavi puts it into the box, and it comes back out to Pique. Pienaar dispossesses but loses the ball again. S. Africa unable to clear until Modise tracks back and takes charge of the situation.
62:40 - A long ball from Pique is too far for everyone and winds up in the hands of Khune.
63:40 - A short kick from Reina comes back in through Modise, but Sergio takes control and sends it up to Hernandez. The ball comes back out to Xavi, but the next touch is too far and goes over the touchline.
66:10 - Booth down the wing finds Masilela, who plays Modise through. His shot is blocked by Puyol, but is tracked down by S. Africa. Gaxa eventually sends in a ball at the 6, which Parker heads wide.
69:00 - Spain use some brilliant passing on the defensive end to avoid some trouble from Sibaya. The ball comes back into Pienaar, but his pass for Parker is just a bit too heavy and Reina pounces on it.
70:20 - GOAL! Spain 2-0 South Africa. A free-kick for Spain after a Mhlongo (where has HE been all match?) foul on Fabregas. Played quickly, and the ball is moved well around the midfield. Modise gets called for a foul after he catches Puyol in the face with an elbow. The resulting free-kick from Xavi is played low to Fabregas, who mis-hits it through for Llorente to get a touch on it for a goal.
73:40 - Parker is down on the pitch, so Fabregas puts the ball out of play. South Africa return the ball as Parker is able to shake it off.
75:50 - Free-kick for South Africa directly at midfield. The Bafana Bafana are still providing some pressure on the Spanish defense
ED NOTE: According to JP Dellacamera, Brazil, Argentina, and France are "clubs" that are tied with 15 wins in a row. Yeah, those are national teams, buddy.
79:50 - Excellent ball played to Pienaar, who pushes it through to Parker. The attempt comes off a bit weak, and dribbles to Reina for the easy collection.
80:20 - Cazorla on, Riera off for Spain.
82:20 - Mashego on, Sibaya off for South Africa.
83:10 - Gaxa finds Parker in space, and he gets off a good left-footed shot that Reina gets down to save.
83:50 - Fabregas lays off the ball for Cazorla, who has his shot pushed wide by Khune. The corner goes out for a throw, which is played up the line for yet another throw for Spain.
85:30 - A well-taken Cazorla cross is headed out by a Booth, triggering a break. Mashego has his pass played out by the defense, but it comes back in to Modise. Sergio gains control and is fouled by Parker.
87:00 - Yet another pass from Cazorla is headed out by Booth, and the ball makes its way down the entire pitch to Reina. Spain is content to play with controlled, passive passes.
88:20 - Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, JP just referred to Xavi as "Xabi." I am surprised that it took this long.
89:50 - Alright, maybe it's just JP's accent, but it sure sounds like he is saying "Xabi."
90:00 - 00:40 - Sergio is taken down for a Spain free-kick, and the cross from Cazorla is mistimed by Hernandez, rolling out for a throw.
90:00 - 02:00 - The ball is in the back of the net for South Africa, but Modise was about 172 yards offside.
90:00 - 03:00 - Tshabalala on, Parker off for South Africa.
FULL-TIME: Spain 2-0 South Africa. Both teams will advance into the semi-finals, as the Iraq-New Zealand match has ended in a 0-0 draw.
Thanks for joining me. Tune in again tomorrow for liveblogs of the US v. Egypt, and Brazil v. Italy matches. For now, go out and play (unless it is pouring rain there).