BfB Goes To The World Cup 2010 (Without leaving the front room)

We shall, for a time, ignore Ghana.

Uruguay won the first World Cup and – as a shock result – twenty years and a World War later picked up a second trophy. They were a team before the fifties and like Hungary they have faded to football’s history but occasionally reoccur.

They have come to South Africa without huge expectations – they were poorer than Argentina in qualifying and Maradona’s side’s performance was to exclude them from consideration – but have shown a tidy side able to be meaty in the tackle but with a bit of meat in their skill. Diego Lugano is a fine defender, Luis Suárez a tidy striker with Diego Forlán able to dig around him making chances. The midfield have struggled to grab hold games at times putting in numbers rather than quality.

As with the Dutch – who put out the Brazilians earlier today – the success of Uruguay has not been in being a great attacking side of a dominate defence but rather in being capable of switching between the two.

Ghana have Kevin-Prince Boateng recovered from injury and he is quickly into the game as the Africans play the ball around with confidence but John Mensah brings down Suárez. Patience is the key, rather than forcing the win of the game.

Uruguay come at Ghana with no little verve and Luis Suárez causes problems down the left finding Mensah big in front of him. Forlán drops back back to make play but finds a deep laying African midfield blocking his progress. After the initial thrusts the Africans adopt a patient approach and start to build taking more of the ball and start to move Samuel Inkoom and Boateng forward along side Asamoah Gyan.

Isaac Vorsah has the first chance, heading wide from a corner and then Gyan shaves the opposite post. Uruguay struggle to drop back and defend. Boateng gets on the end of a great cross from Inkoom – a player who it seemed would never be able to defend yet was a vital part of the early rearguard action – and the German born Ghana man overhead kicks wide.

The goal the will live forever in memory. Deep into stoppage time in the first half and Sulley Muntari has nowhere left to run and no one really following him when he hits a powerful low curled shot from thirty five yards or more that bends away from Fernando Muslera who will go in at half time second later wondering how his side – who had conceded only once so far in the World Cup – managed to end up a goal down as they played out stoppage time in midfield.

The second half begins as the first ended and Ghana show with spirit piling forward with a four on three and Boeteng on the ball. He squanders the chance as he did a minute earlier when he had the chance to square but went for goal and suddenly Uruguay were level after a Forlán free kick that bent and sped into the goal leaving Richard Kingston – and the audience – stunned.

Uruguay have composure while Ghana – especially the European Boeteng – rattled. Poor decisions are made and the South Americans start to pick at mistakes which come. Kingston allows a ball to bounce through his legs to give away a corner and there is a growing sloppiness to the Africans.

Cameroon were the first quarter finalists from Africa and they were leading England 2-1, Senegal were the second and they lost 1-0.

If they had the game battled from them in the first half then Uruguay have won it back in the second and manager Oscar Tabárez can sense his side’s ascendancy bringing on a third striker in Sebastián Abreu. They work hard to ensure that defensive space is plugged and set up a thrilling last ten minutes which sees both sides threaten to break through but neither manage to get the touch past a defender, the meter of pace to the ball, that would give a goal.

Extra time – Ghana’s second in two games – starts with Ghana attacking but Kwadwo Asamoah lets the pressure fade with poor delivery. Kwadwo Asamoah is a frustrating player who has blown more cold than hot today. He does have the talent to be decisive though and his shot from range – while wide – will quicken the heart.

Both sides end the first half of extra time pointing to penalty appeals – Uruguay’s stronger than Ghanas – but the teams show signs of tiring, five penalties and not one looming. Gyan gets a headed chance from Stephen Appiah’s cross but he guides the ball over. Both Appiah and Forlán have chances that they cannot make the most of as legs get heavy. Gyan almost muscles past Andrés Scotti in the Uruguay box and the defender almost finds his own goal. Ghana look stronger and Gyan wins a corner trying to get around Jorge Fucile – a Uruguay lost captain Lugano to injury in the first half and have been intermittently rudderless since.

Boateng forces a save from Muslera, Forlán is almost in at the other end. Mensah take a last free kick of the game crossed and Ghana scramble in the box. A shot comes from Appiah, Suárez on his own line clears, it is returned with force and Suárez saves. Red card.

Gyan in the last minute has a penalty to take Ghana into the semi-final.

He will have to take another one as the ball canons off the bar.

It hits the bar and bounces away.

The ball slams the bar and it is unfair. Suárez’s has given his team the chance of an World Cup semi-final when they should have none.

There is English injustice, there is Mexican injustice and there is this. Suárez has down gamesmanship at its worst. There was no question about the ball going in – it was passing over the line – and the striker who won friends for four games has lost them all. He might be a good footballer, but he is a shit man.

Uruguay win, football loses.


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