Apologies for the lack of B&B coverage of yesterday’s historic England—USAUSAUSA matchup! I was far too busy partying IRL to bring our loyal readers a blog-based interpretation of events—my attentions were spent drumming, drinking PBRs, shooting roman candles, and screaming “HOMO!” at the TeeVee when they’dcut to David Beckham thoughtfully sulking—the things we do for Country!
All in all, the US acquitted themselves fairly well. It was a fair result for us if not an inspiring one. (Though it was inspiring enough to earn a tiny lil’ image & mention on the front page of The Paper of American Record!) This was kinda the outcome I was expecting, though I had optimistic mental-flickers of a 2-1 victory (almost realized through Altidore’s late chance at 66 min). Without a doubt, our most obvious weakness going into the tournament was our shaky centerback pairing of Onyewu & Jay Demerit, both of who were recovering from injury and thus missing the mental sharpness that comes from playing regularly. Although England actually weren’t terribly incisive, Gooch & Jay D were put to the test, by Emile Heskey (still cannot believe he starts for Capello up front) and to a much lesser extent Wayne Rooney. Though there were plenty of fist-clenching moments, we emerged unscathed and secured a valuable point in the process! Plus a bit of battle-tempered match experience for our newly reformed defense.
Ambient jubilation most definitely interfered with my ability to overturn new ground in terms of tactical analysis, but let this post serve as the recollections on a hazy dayAfter…
The English press today isn’t going for Robert Green quite as venomously as I thought they might this morning. Perhaps they have learned SOME minor lessons about hatefully turning on their own players! The NYT Goal! blog helpfully gathered all the UK headlines though:
- The Sunday Times: “Green Fingers”
- Mail on Sunday: “Calamity”
- The Independent: “Hand of Clod”
- Sunday Mirror: “Tainted Glove”
- News of the World: “Stars and Tripe”
The crappy punning I had seen so far all revolved around “British Spill” themes—nothing screams an opportunity for punning LAFFs like a once in a lifetime environmental disaster!
Although the game was level overall, Green was obviously at fault for the US’s equalizer (though it did seem just for us to get back into the game with a goal as cheap as the one WE have away at 4 min!). The English tabloids have variously termed Green’s bobbled ball as a HOWLER or a CLANGER. Cue the inevitable speculation about either the more experienced goalkeeper David James or Young English Hope Joe Hart starting in goal for The Colonizer against Algeria!
For the US, it’s pretty clear who’ll be between the sticks against Slovenia next Friday—yesterday’s Man of the Match Tim Howard!!!
It’s official CRUNCHTIME for Group B here at Bolas & Bandieras. Unfortunately I am currently on the Megabus from Philadelphia to New York, and I don’t think the WIFI here is strong enough to support a live video stream.
Luckily, we can all follow along with Gregg Roughley at the Guardian as he updates us as to the proceedings in the BIG MATCH between the Ghana Black Stars and the mighty Burkina Faso Stallions. It’s currently scoreless after 22 minutes.
Daouda Diakité did a handy job in goal against Côte d’Ivoire last week, and he’ll be hoping to keep this game scoreless, as the Burkinabe team will go through to the quarterfinals without scoring or conceding a goal if this game ends 0-0.
Ghana’s best player, Michael Essien, is out with a hamstring strain, or something. Whatever it is, it’s a blow for Ghana, although Chelsea managed to score 7 goals over the weekend without Essien.
Ghana have also flown in a pitch-expert (Frank Boahene from Green Grass Technology) to advise the Black Stars as to boot selection, and how best to physically prepare for playing on the cruddy Angolan pitches.
HALF-TIME, GHANA 1-0 BURKINA FASO
Ghana midfielder Dede Ayew scores a header (which I have not seen, but was sure to have been CRACKING) from a looping Mathew Amoah cross. The marking was apparently poor, and thanks to it, Ghana have one foot in the quarter-finals. Apparently Jonathan Pitroipa has been getting lively down the right wing for Burkina Faso. 45 minutes to go!
In other world soccer news, USMNT winger Clint Dempsey is awaiting prognosis after picking up a bad injury in the game against Blackburn Rovers. There are fears that he could be out for the rest of the season, missing out on South Africa as well.
Algeria coach Rabah Saadane denies any funny business going on during the dull 0-0 draw between Angola and Algeria which saw both teams go through to the quarterfinals.
Angolan special forces (‘dubbed “Ninjas” for their all-black uniform’) have arrested three prominent human-rights activists in relation to the FLEC shootings. All three had formerly been members of Mpalabanda, “the only human rights organization in Cabinda” (which was apparently disbanded by the Angolan government in 2006 b/c of alleged political involvement).
FULL TIME: GHANA GO THROUGH!
The match finishes without any further goals, Ghana going through in fairly unconvincing fashion. That’s tough on the Burkinabes, but they must be at least heartened by their fairly solid performance. Who knows how the group would have looked if Togo had been there to mix it up a bit. Ghana will face Angola in the quarterfinals, and I’ve got to say the home side will probably be favorites.
In other news, the Mali team are lodging a protest against dull 0-0 draws that knock them out of competitions, the Togo keeper previously reported as dead has recovered (somewhat) and his in stable condition, Chelsea condescendingly attempt to appear charitable, and Gary Neville shows the kind of mature leadership that one expects from a club like United.
y venga pibe de oro…
from the BOLAS & BANDEIRAS ¡no mames! department…