The Sad Truth For African Teams

June 22, 2010

As teams prepare for their final game in group play, I have come to the very sad realization that only one African team has a legitimate shot of moving on to the knockout round. This is not only sad due to the fact that I picked three of the six participating African nations to advance, but because they probably feel as if they’ve underperformed on their home continent. Disappointing play, as well as bad luck, has played a part in this sad showing. To start, South Africa is the first host nation to not advance to the knockout stage. If it weren’t for Mexico scoring a goal in a moment of confusion for the South African defense, the Bafana Bafana may very well have advanced. Nigeria didn’t have any points coming into today’s game against South Korea, but were still in position to advance with a win. They had the perfect opportunity to do so in the 66th minute, but Nigerian striker Yakuba missed possibly the easiest shot ever. Had Yakuba capitalized on the chance and Nigeria gone on to win the game, they would have moved on to the knockout stage because of goal differential. Cameroon, who supposedly had a high octane offense that was sure to produce goals, has only scored one goal in this World Cup. They were the first team to be mathematically eliminated from the tournament, which is obviously a tough pill to swallow for a team that thought they had a legitimate shot at moving on to the knockout stage. The Ivory Coast would have had a shot at advancing if they were to win their final group play game, but didn’t receive any help from North Korea. Thanks to the Korean’s 7-0 loss to Portugal, the Ivory Coast would have to make up a nine goal differential in order to jump Portugal in the standings and advance.

With all that being said, the hope of the African continent lies with the Black Stars of Ghana. Leading Group D, Ghana can move on with either a win or a draw against Germany. They can also lose and potentially move on, but that situation is much more complicated, and it means that their fate is decided by another team (if you would like to learn exactly what that situation is, send me an email). I think it would be a travesty if not one African team were to move on, because South Africa hosting the World Cup is bigger than just South Africa. It is huge for the entire continent, for all the nations trying to make strides in bettering their countries and becoming respected in the world. So, sorry to all you fans of Deutschland, but along with an entire continent, I will be pulling for the Black Stars tomorrow afternoon.

As for the United States, the message is simple: win and you’re in, lose and you’re out, and let’s not even mention the word tie. Algeria hasn’t showed that they are capable of offensive firepower thus far. With that being said, pulling men back to defend would be a poor decision for Bob Bradley to make. The U.S. needs to play like they did in the second half of the Slovenia game if they want to win. This is the final game of group play, and the teams that win their final game are the teams that go out and attack and come away with goals. The U.S. is fortunate enough to be more talented than their opponent, so if they go out and attack, conventional wisdom says they should come away with the win. The entire country will be watching; if the U.S. Soccer Federation wants that to happen ever again, they better hope that the United States delivers and moves on to the Round of 16.

Eventually, I will cover Wimbledon, and although we are still in the early rounds and some big names have already been knocked out (James Blake, Fernando Verdasco, Juan Carlos Ferrero to name a few), I haven’t had a chance to watch any matches and thus can’t give a educated analysis on the tournament. Friday will be my first chance to watch some of the tournament, so I will likely write something about it then.

– K. Becks

One Response to The Sad Truth For African Teams

  1. Bobbie on June 23, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Its pretty sad that the african teams are all eliminated except for Ghana who is about to play against Germany, I hope Ghana can do the honor for Africa. Price Per Head

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