I have been watching the world cup for the last few weeks, and you know what? It has been one heck of a world cup. To celebrate the advances to the round of 16, I have decided to compile some of the moments that sticks with me.
World Cup Host is Eliminated
For the first time in world cup history, the host country has been prevented from joining the rounds of 16. The host country for this one, of course, is South Africa.
I think this is a shame. While they may not be the best team ever, I think they have done quiet good and I really like this team. Plus, they left with dignity after they beat the disastrous team that was France, which leads to:
France and Italy’s Last Place Finish
This event left me utterly perplexed. Especially since they were the finalists for the 2006 world cup! And did you know, this is the first time ever in which both world cup finalists ended up in last place? Compared to the team they were, they did horribly this year.
Let’s start with France. While they did fine against Uruguay in a game which my brother dubbed “the goldrush”, because of how savagely they seemed to fight for ball possession and seven yellow cards, they fell flat in their matches against Mexico and South Africa. I saw the matches, and yeah, they failed badly. Plus, there are news about internal dissent within the team, which of course, would mean that they wouldn’t play as a team. Oh, and they skipped a practice too.
What about Italy? I can’t say they did any better. I mean really, they even tied with New Zealand. I didn’t watch this game, so I don’t know how New Zealand played. But still, I congratulate the New Zealanders for at least not losing any game (they tied all of them), and considering that they rarely make it, I think that is a good send off to them. But Italy did not have a good sendoff. Not after…
Slovakia’s Historic Advancement to the Round of 16
And they are first timer to the world cup, you know that? Although their history is not that simple. While they did not have a perfect run, they did a good job and managed to defeat Italy 3-2 in an awesome game, thereby managing to put what used to be an excellent Italian team into last place of the group. Further compounding the embarassment for the Italians, there was this:
Yeah, that probably did not happen to the Italians. But if you want to know about disastrous, nothing was as disastrous as:
North Korea’s Epic Ass Whooping
Note, at first they did well. They actually lost against Brazil 2-1 and they managed to make a last minute goal. They played really good defense, although they were light in their offense. So I thought they would do well against Portugal. Imagine my surprise when I woke up in the morning… erm… 12PM and saw the result: 7-0. If you know something about football, you know that goals in football are very rare. Which is why a result of 7 goals in difference is not just some trivial result. It is a total massacre! Also, curse you Portugal, you totally killed any chance Ivory Coast had with the absolutely almost impossible goal difference! And you can see it with all its glories in this video:
Embarassingly enough, this was North Korea’s first ever live broadcast of a football game in their country. Yeah, after that, I don’t even know whether they are going to be showing a match live ever again. I don’t believe in karma, but if there ever is a situation where invoking karma would have been appropriate, this is it.
Poor North Korea, first world cup in 44 years and they failed badly. Its Southern counterpart, though, was more successful:
South Korea and Japan’s Success on Foreign Soil
This is the first time both of them passed to the round of 16 in foreign soil. Their other only time was in Korea-Japan 2002, with Korea achieving results beyond one’s wildest expectations (the semifinals). And these various unexpected results are something I am really glad that is happening. Firstly, I am Asian, more specifically, Korean, so of course, you know which teams I would rather support. But beyond that, I am tired of seeing the same freaking teams win everytime. I want to see some variety. Seriously, seeing boring invincible teams win everytime is just not super exciting for me. *Argentina, Brazil, Germany, cough cough*
There are other events that had peaked my interests, including:
France entered the world cup after a handball against Ireland: Seriously?! Serious. This was France’s crucial game and if they had lost, they would have been out. Fortunately, this goal was there for them:
Serbia defeating Germany: can you freaking believe that?!
Fabiano’s handball: honestly, it annoyed me a lot, not that that would have changed the results, plus not as blatant as France’s handball
USA makes it to the round of 16, congrats!
Ghana is the only African country to make it to the finals
All 5 South American countries made it, what’s up with that?
Switzerland beats Spain: again, seriously!
Chile vs Spain, a Spanish player tripped with his own foot/dived, earning a Chilean a red card: not 100% sure, whatever it was, it was a good game, and Chile held up very well dispite a missing player. Here is the video:
And that were all my points of interest. Here are the matches of the round of 16, see you then!
Fifa’s official site