sábado, junho 26, 2010

World Cup Top 10

The first round of the World Cup is over. 48 of 64 matches have been played. Starting tomorrow the final 16 will duke it out to see who will be the new World Champion. With only 16 matches left it's time to look back and see what have been the top stories of the World Cup so far?

TOP 10 World Cup Stories...so far:

South Africa wasn't ready
- While it may not be making big headlines, there have been various reports from journalists in South Africa that in many aspects South Africa failed as a World Cup host. Transportation, Security, Stadium organization, facilities, attendance and staff are a few of the issues in which South Africa came up short.

The Jabulani Ball
- It was a bigger story before the Cup started and slowly faded away as players got used to it. Still, you can tell that this ball is not your normal soccer ball. Maybe the timing is a marketing ploy by FIFA but they should rethink the introduction of a new ball just a few months before the Cup starts.

American Fans
- Not only did more American Fans go to South Africa than fans from any other nation, but American fans at home have gone viral on Youtube. Never before in soccer or any other sport have so many Americans gathered at bars, pubs, outdoor venues and homes to all root for one team. Videos of these fans celebrating US goals have been shown on broadcasts around the world.

Out Of Africa
- This World Cup was supposed to be Africa's World Cup...but only one African country made it to the round of 16; Ghana. Not only did the other African nations not make R16, they barely threatened to get there. They were practically outplayed by everyone else. Another negative is that South Africa is the first Host nation to not get out of their group.

- So far nobody has really taken the World Cup by Storm. Messi is close but not quite there yet, Kaká has been a non factor & Cristiano Ronaldo seems to worry more about his looks. Surely in the remaining 16 games someone will pull away from the pack. My bet is that it's Messi.

Team USA
- They haven't played the best soccer in the WC, but collectively their 3 games have been by far the most exciting of any other country. They tied England in a long awaited match, they came back from being down 2 to Slovenia and beat Algeria in extra time. All that with controversial ref calls, non-stop action and non stop fight and determination. They have literally become the 2nd team to many outside the US and that's saying alot!

Bad Goalkeeping
- Once the games started this became the first major story. Most memorably England's Robert Green and his major gift to the US in a 1-1 tie. Various other goalies had dubious performances including the Algerian goalie in their loss to Slovenia and to close the first round Chilean keeper Bravo playing with fire against Spain and paying for it. There was even finger pointing on the Denmark side with Sorensen being accused of failing on a Japan free kick that essentially sent Denmark home.

- Most people hate them, a few love them, but they have been a vital part of the WC atmosphere in the South African stadiums. They have even made it all the way to a professional Baseball game giveaway in the United States. Personally I don't mind them, they become background noise after a while and I think I will even kind of miss them when I go back to watching the Libertadores and other leagues.

Copa America
- This is simply incredible. All 5 South American teams have made it through to the final 16. Not only that, but they went undefeated right up to the last match (which Chile lost to Spain). To boot 2 of the 3 North and Central American teams also made it through to the the round of 16. For some the road to the Final could be a new version of Copa America.

The Fall of Europe
- Is it a coincidence that while European clubs use less and less talent from home their National teams are losing more and more? Italy and France, the champs and runner up of 2006 have already gone home. Germany, Spain and England were only a goal here or there from also packing their bags. Is it really that shocking? Not really, European soccer has been somewhat defensive and stale for quite some time. If they don't regroup this could be the norm, especially with the 2014 World Cup going to South America...a place as foreign as the moon to most Europeans players.

Agree, disagree? What do you think are the top World Cup stories so far?