Which was the only unbeaten team in the 2010 World Cup? Pub quiz question
Not there this time, but still plenty of interest
By Roger Childs
Four years ago the nation was in a frenzy watching the World Cup soccer in South Africa. The All Whites battled from one draw to the next and there were no losses. Unfortunately there were no wins either and one victory was needed for the team to advance to the next round.
In a sport with a murky history of match fixing and corruption, the cynic might wonder if foul play accounted for our unexpected three draws. However we did have one of the world’s best fullbacks in Ryan Nelsen and he also provided inspirational captaincy. Many soccer experts picked him in their World Cup tournament team.
Controversy in the first game and an upset in the third
The 2014 tournament has now kicked off and local fans are delighted with home team’s 3-1win over Croatia. As expected, there were issues in the first game with plenty of people, including Croatia’s coach, wondering if the Japanese referee was up to the task.
A dramatic Hollywood dive, this time by Brazil’s striker Frederico Chaves Guedes (Fred), earned a highly debatable penalty. Don’t worry, there will plenty more diving and other controversy to come! Not to mention upsets, like The Netherlands thrashing Spain 5-1. The margin could have been greater, as the Dutch hit the bar in the second half and the earlier Spanish goal came from a penalty where clearly no foul had been committed.
All eyes on Brazil
No New Zealand to cheer for this time, however interest remains high as hundreds of thousands of Kiwis are devotees of the most popular sport on the planet. Brazil has won the World Cup five times since the competition began back in 1930 and this time at home, they are favoured to triumph again. However there is likely to be fierce competition from Argentina, Germany and present holders, Spain.
As usual, there have been fears that the infrastructure and stadia would not be ready, there would be riots and protests in the street and that the tens of thousands of visitors would not be safe. These concerns will no doubt surface gain in two years time when Rio hosts the Olympics.
Settle in for a month
Before the last World Cup, Britain’s Oldie magazine featured a highly appropriate cover cartoon. The husband was ensconced in his favourite chair in front of the TV dressed in England gear complete with scarf and clacker. Surrounding him were
- cases of beer
- copious supplies of crisps, nuts and fruit
- chilly bins full of 5 minute dinners etc…
His wife was heading out the door with her cases and plane tickets for the Caribbean. Cheerio Dear! See you in a month!
On Monday 14 July, our time, the finalists will meet in Rio de Janiero. Before this there will be
~ 63 matches
~ 32 teams
~ 8 groups
~ 4 rounds.
Every match will be live on Sky Sport and the ups and downs from the tournament will be big news in the media.
Reporting for KIN
Local soccer expert, David Daniel, will be reporting for us from later next week. He’ll be doing his articles from Raumati rather than Rio, however this will not affect the reliability, accuracy and perception of the coverage. Dave will introduce himself with his first piece.
In the meantime, settle back and watch the beautiful game at its best.