Tag Archives: World Cup

World Cup: What the US needs to do to move on

The US’ second World Cup game ended in controversy, as Team USA tied Slovenia, 2-2. Mali referee Koman Colibaly disallowed American Maurice Edu’s 85th goal that would have won US the game.

Also tying in their second game was England, who played Algeria and tied 0-0. With both England and the US tying both of their World Cup games, it will come down to Wednesday’s third and final group games as to who advances. USA will play Algeria, while England faces off against Slovenia.

Here is how the US can still advance:

Option 1: US wins against Algeria, the U.S will then have 5 pts (England and Slovenia play each other, therefore only one of the teams will reach 5 pts)
Option 2: US ties Algeria and England loses and or ties with Slovenia (US must maintain goal advantage over England… US has three goals while England has one)

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Look Smart: Vuvuzelas (annoying sound at the World Cup)

If you have been watching the World Cup you probably notice the annoying horn that sounds like static or buzzing bees. But there is nothing wrong with your TV, fans are actually purposely making the sound…. and is capable of reaching 127 decibels.

The vuvuzela is a blowing horn popular among South African soccer fans. While many versions of horns are popular throughout soccer, including the corneta in Brazil, the vuvuzela is favored because of its plastic mold and became popular in South Africa during the 90s. Its name is deprived form Zulu or making a “vuvu” noise.

The vuvuzela has taken over the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and many are calling for a ban on the horn because of its disturbance. Broadcasters along with coaches from the Netherlands and Spain have supported the ban. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo said the vuvuzelas broke the team’s concentration.

Despite the criticism, FIFA is not banning the vuvuzelas. FIFA President, Sepp Blatter said: “Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country.”

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Look Smart: Everything you need to know about the World Cup

By JP Pitcher

With the month-long World Cup starting June 11th in South Africa, it will be important to know what exactly is going on, especially because it will be all over the news until mid-July. It’s the most watched sporting event in the whole world, so don’t get caught in the dark and take this opportunity to impress everyone by your soccer knowledge. To put this in perspective, 715 million television viewers watched the 2006 World Cup Final between Italy and France, compared to 151 million viewers for this year’s Super Bowl. Obviously, this is a big deal. First, let’s start with the basics of the tournament:

• There are 32 teams separated into 8 groups of 4 teams.
• In the first round, called the “Group Stage”, each group plays a round-robin style tournament, guaranteeing each team at least 3 games.
o A win is worth 3 points in the standings; a tie, 1; a loss, 0.
• The top 2 teams from each group advance to the “Knockout Stage”, where the World Cup turns into a 16-team single elimination tournament. Like March Madness, but with countries!
• The winner has bragging rights for four years until the next World Cup

The USA is looking to put themselves on the map as an elite soccer team, but they have a lot of work cut out for them in order to do this. Between 1954 and 1986, the US did not even qualify for the World Cup. This long drought brought dire consequences to the popularity of the sport in the country. While there are surely quite a few diehard soccer fans in the States, our country’s love for soccer does not even come close to being comparable to soccer’s popularity abroad. With this in mind, the US has played with a chip on their shoulder over the past decade. Their slogan, “Don’t Tread on Me”, which Nike uses on much of the national team’s apparel, signifies this. (Don’t Tread) In 2002, the Americans advanced all the way to the Quarterfinals, which was the furthest they had ever gone in the World Cup. The last World Cup in 2006 was not as kind to the US, as they were unable to advance out of the group stage. There is reason for excitement this year, mainly due to the States’ strong showing in the 2009 Confederations Cup, advancing to their first international Finals appearance but losing a heartbreaker to powerhouse Brazil 3-2.

US Players to Watch

The US is led by midfielder Landon Donovan (Link), who has 42 career international goals, the most in US national team history. His midfield mates DaMarcus Beasley (Twitter) and Clint Dempsey (Link) will also be key to whatever success the US has in South Africa. Goaltender Tim Howard (Link) has been the starter for the national team since Coach Bill Bradley took over 2007, so hopefully that experience will allow him to be comfortable on the world stage. These veterans will play an integral role in how far the team advances, however the US does have some young talent that will have a huge impact, most notably 20-year-old striker Jozy Altidore (Twitter). Altidore recently sprained his ankle in a training session, but the coaches have assured everyone that he will be 100% for England on June 12th. This is a very good sign for the States, because he is arguably the team’s most talented goal scorer behind Donovan.

Our Group

This year, the US finds themselves in Group C with England, Algeria, and Slovenia. England is the clear favorite in this group, and the US will face them in their first game of the tournament on June 12th in a rematch of the Revolutionary War. England boasts some of the best players in the world in Wayne Rooney, John Terry, and Steven Gerrard. While a tie against England would be a moral victory for the US, it will be seen as a big disappointment if the US does not qualify for the Round of 16 by placing in the top 2 in this group. One can conclude this by looking at the latest FIFA rankings, which places England at #8, USA #14, Slovenia #25, and Algeria #30. While Slovenia and Algeria are no slouches, the 2010 World Cup would be a failure for the US if one of these teams advanced ahead of them.

The Contenders

Who else is there to root for just in case the Americans get bounced early from the tournament? Here’s a brief run-down of the favorites so you can choose your rooting interests appropriately:

Spain: Many experts’ favorite, Spain is the reigning 2009 UEFA Cup Champions and have some of the best players in the world, including Fernando Torres, David Villa, and Xavi. They were placed in a weak group and should be a lock for the Round of 16, but just reaching the knockout stage would be a huge letdown. Remember, the US beat Spain 2-0 in the Semis of the 2009 Confederations Cup in a huge upset.

Brazil: One of the favorites every year, the always-flashy Brazil boasts the best overall talent in the world and have no glaring weaknesses at any position. Their coach did face a lot of scrutiny for leaving star Ronaldinho off the roster, so it will be interesting to see how things pan out for the #1 ranked squad.

Argentina: Having perhaps the best player in the world in Lionel Messi could be enough for Argentina to make a serious run in the tournament. They had some trouble even qualifying for the World Cup though, so there are some definite question marks that could cause a lot of crying in Argentina.

Netherlands: Their bright orange jerseys may be a fashion no-no, but their play could sometimes be considered a masterpiece. Ranked #4 in the latest FIFA rankings, they have turned into the trendy pick to win the whole thing. I’ll believe it when I see it, but they will surely be fun to watch.

Germany: Germany does not have the flashiest players, but their inspired team play gets them deep into tournaments consistently. If there is one thing that anyone has learned from watching soccer over the past few years, it is to never count the Germans out. They are solid.

Portugal: Many women will surely root for Portugal simply for heartthrob Christiano Ronaldo, who happens to also be the most expensive player in the world. While Portugal does not have the same overall talent as some of the other premier teams, they definitely have the pieces in place to make an exciting run deep into the tournament.

Italy: Champions of the last World Cup in 2006, Italy has not looked sharp in their most recent international appearances, mainly in the 2009 Confederations Cup. Either way, I can guarantee no team wants to face “the Azzuri” and their strong defense early in the tournament.

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