Serbia vs Ghana and England vs USA

Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria

After a ridiculously disorganized bus ride (we think we’ve learned our lesson), we have arrived in Pretoria for the Group D match between Serbia and Ghana. We have been looking forward to this game since we were approved for tickets as both of these sides are considered strong darkhorses at this World Cup. A victory here could well book a spot in the round of 16. A loss would probably mean having to pull out a win against Germany to advance.

We watched the England vs USA match at an Italian Cultural Club in Bedfordview last night. Why an Italian Cultural Club you ask? Free admission, a huge big screen, cheap beer, pizza, Boerewors and a vuvuzela contest… Need we say more? It was set-up on the soccer pitches outside and got rather chilly as kick-off approached. Leah proposed layering with some “beer jackets” and that seemed to keep us warm enough through the match.

So about the game. England were not terrible, but they were totally unimpressive. The early goal from Gerrard was really well-worked and after he flicked the ball past Tim Howard it seemed like the USA were in for a hiding. But as we’ve seen in the past the US side never gives up and fought back to equalize through Clint Dempsey’s goal. Sure Robert Green is getting a bollocking (a common SA word that has crept into our vocab) this morning and rightly so. That was a pretty shocking mistake. But England never did enough to win that game—Rooney never found a rhythm, Carragher looked shaky—and the US capitalized.

When Dempsey’s shot trickled over the line we jumped up from the picnic table, tripped over the bench as we grasped for a vuvzela on the table and landed flat on our back (poorly) blowing the vuvu straight up in the air as the folks behind us laughed.

Speaking of laughing and Clint Dempsey… ESPN made an unfortunate font error last night, picked up by Deadspin.

The morning after, one of our favourite football writers, Kevin McCarra, gives us his take on the situation for Capello. [The Guardian]

We were happy with the 1-1 draw. We like the USA (Men’s National Soccer Team). We like them for a number of reasons.

1 – Many of them have played in MLS and are therefore more accessible to us than many of England’s players.

2 – There are some good characters in the US squad: Clint Dempsey is a badass rapper from Texas, Tim Howard has a mild case of Tourette’s and centre half Jay Demerit is an artist.

3 – We dig underdogs. And the US is rarely considered an underdog in anything.

4 – Success for the US can help Canadian soccer. With the US in the running to host either the 2018 or the 2022 World Cup, success in South Africa will boost their chances for hosting and that opens up another CONCACAF qualifying spot. Hopefully by that time the Canadian Soccer Association has its shit together enough to capitalize and we’ll be heading to our second ever World Cup.

Anyway, we hope the US goes far in this World Cup. And that 1-1 draw with England (which we correctly predicted to a number of people) is a positive start.

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Filed under South Africa, World Cup 2010

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