Friday, June 11, 2010

Uruguay v. France, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Result: Uruguay 0  France 0  Take Away: France dominated the run of play but Uruguay defended well

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and it has a brand new soccer stadium to match.  Not yet as iconic as the Sydney Opera House, but certainly a stunning venue with the backdrop of Table Mountain and Robben Island a short distance off shore.

From Wikipedia:
The fifteen-story structure of the stadium features curved walls and it is clad in a translucent fabric mesh made from woven fibreglass coated with Teflon, The filigree skin changes its appearance with the movement of the sun, appearing blue at noon, rose in the late afternoon and red at sunset. On stormy days, it can appear silver, grey or even pewter. The stadium also features 360 internal lamps, which lend a transparent gleaming appearance to the outer filigree skin, revealing its interior when switched on.

I think the stadium probably shone brighter than either team today.  It wasn't the most titillating of matches.  France's Franck Ribery, recently in the headlines for this, was the most dangerous player on the pitch.  However, the best chance of the match fell to Uruguay's Diego Floran who missed an opportunity to start a weekend party in Montevideo that might have been worth getting on a plane for.  In the 72nd minute Floran had a half-volley from 12 yards.  He struck it well but missed his target badly to the left and Uruguay's best chance was gone.  

Nine minutes later Los Charruas' Nicolas Lodeiro, who came on in the 63rd minute, was sent off by the Japanese referee for a vicious tackle on Bacary Sagna.  With Thierry Henry on as a substitute, France pushed forward but couldn't penetrate the South Americans' strong defense.  There minutes of extra time brought nothing more and the day ends with all four teams in Group A tied with one point.

South Africa and Uruguay will go to sleep tonight feeling good about their efforts and look forward to their match on Wednesday.  For Mexico and France there may not be panic, but there will be a great sense of urgency when they clash on Thursday.  A loser in that match will now find themselves in deep trouble.


Dr. Harris said...

France was the biggest disappointment of the day for me. They seemed disorganized and apathetic, even with some of the best players in the world. Given that they only qualified after the controversial game vs. Ireland, they got what they deserved today.

Pescado said...

I think a lot of the first game jitters will allow some lower teams to surprise a few of the big boys. That means close games, even a few draws. Then the real teams will blossom in the second and third game of group play. Although I think Argentina will be upset.

pinto said...

France played like a team that is lost, lost in that very French world of "of course we are the best, we don't need to organize our effort, we should just be handed the Cup". Seriously, there is so much wrong here, starting with the French soccer federation, to the coach (watch him get booted before the end of the cup, as he's on borrowed time anyway and to half the team. Henry is done, just done. I think he should just come on out to New York so that he can finally score some goals for someone...