What We Learned From Ghana vs Oztralia (1-1)

It Was Cardtastic

Now part of the charm of the World Cup is that you get to see fairly poor quality teams from other continents being roundly taught a lesson by the footballing elite. One of the downsides is that often these teams are made up of the kind of clod-hopping hoofers who’d stand out as too shit for even the lower leagues. The Ozzies can boast many of them. Third raters like Lucas Neill and Bret Emmerton, propping up the basement clubs like some latter-day Norwegian mercenaries. And when faced with quality they revert to type. The good thing about the World Cup is that not only do these guys get found out, but they often get punished. None more deserving than former Liverpool winger and Benitez chouchou Harry Kewell, who has long been a red card waiting to happen. The fact that his card came after some patently cheating protestations that he hadn’t committed a handball while his arm was still vibrating made it all the more enjoyable. So that’s played two, sent off two. Way to go Oztralian convict boys.

It’s Yet Another ‘Green’

Ghana couldn’t have started more ineptly. A free kick that should have been harmlessly gathered by the keeper was instead spooned in now-classic Green fashion into the path of onrushing Oz striker Holman. You couldn’t make it up.

Out Of Africa

It’s pretty clear that South Africa, Algeria, Cameroon, Nigeria and in every likelihood Ivory Coast are going to be knocked out in the Group stage, leaving Ghana as the sole possible African representatives in the last 16. So the Ghanaians failure to take advantage of the Australians’ 10 men by attacking them with pace, width and accuracy was doubly irritating. Oztralia should have been utterly humiliated, instead they dug in and frustrated Ghana showing up their lack of experience and overall naivety. And you’ve got to be worried about Ghana’s chances against Germany, who will take them apart if they defend this badly and have to win to be sure of their own qualification. Yes they’ve been really stuffed by the injury to Michael Essien, but that’s not really an acceptable excuse, they have to be better than this. Which leaves us in a situation where in every likelihood there will be no African teams in the last 16.

25 Down 39 To Go

What We Learned From Ghana vs Serbia (1-0)

You’re Just A Stereotype

Both sides played into the highly unbiased neo-bigotry we brought into the game. Ghana, the fiery heart of Africa, played neat, muscular football, while Serbia, the self-conscious new boys in Europe, went cagey, cautious and all ex-communist. And in the end it was the extra adventure of Ghana that proved the deciding factor.

Two New Moves (Not To Be Encouraged)

We’ve seen two exciting new moves in this World Cup. Unlike previous  moves such as the Adriano or the Cruyff Turn, which have been great ways of altering the direction of the ball and player and are obviously great examples of ball skills, these are detrimental to the game. The first is the ‘Green Save’, whereby a seemingly innocuous vaguely goal-bound effort is deftly spooned into the net. Exemplified (invented even) by Engerland’s Rob Green, this is the pinnacle of goalkeeping howlidge. Not content with watching the ‘Green’ being showcased yesterday, the Algerian keeper decided to develop his own variation of the ‘Green’ and watch the ball into the back of the net without even bothering. The second new move is the blatant handball in the area masquerading as a ‘Maradonna’ or a ‘Henry Assist’. Invariably spotted and punished, this move, like the ‘Green’, is a game changer. We saw how Ghezzal’s attempt the catch the ball and ‘Henry’ it into the net changed the game in Slovenia’s benefit. Here we saw the first defensive use of the ‘Maradonna’ as Serbia’s Kuzmanovic attempted to volleyball the matchball away from a Ghanahan head, conceding a completely needless penalty in the process. It was a just reward for Ghana’s more adventurous play throughout the match.

There Was A Danger Of Football Breaking Out

What with Ghana’s more ambitious play overpowering Serbia’s caution and ex-Spurs reject and Pompey mainstay Kevin Prince Boateng taking charge in the middle of the field, there seemed to be a danger of footballing breaking out during the game. Nice to see.

7 Down 57 To Go