Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A typical World Cup day

One of the joys of this World Cup has been the time frame in the Eastern Time Zone. The games are played at 7:30 am, 10 am, and 2:30 pm which has made scheduling really easy. Here is my typical World Cup day:

7:02 am- Roll out of bed
7:03 - Put on robe
7:04 to 7:10 - Make Breakfast
7:11 to 7:14 - Get ready for the match
7:15 to 7:29 - Watch Pre-game
7:30 to 9:22 - FOOTBALL
9:23 to 9:49 - Doze as I listen to Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPNNEWS
9:50 to 10:00 - Wake up and watch pre-game
10:01 to 11:52 - FOOTBALL
11:53 to 1:45 pm - Either go to the gym and swim, take a nap and make lunch, fight the Rancor, or enjoy the fact that I am not Glenn Beck
1:45 to 2:20 - Putter around the house, watch some pregame, walk the dogs,
2:20 to 2:29 - Settle in
2:30 to 4:18 - FOOTBALL

That is a typical World Cup day in the life of Mike Abelson. It's great.

P.S. I know about the Swiss

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


There will no post today as I am protesting the World Cup tonight due to the incessant draws that are plaguing the tournament. I.....HATE.......DRAWS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday recap and Vuvuzelas

Today was not a good day for me. My beloved Indomitable Lions lost at the foot of a guy named Honda (insert Street Fighter 2 reference if you msut), , the Dutch won, and Paraguay blew a lead that they needed to keep. Other than that the World Cup was great today.

Match of the day: Paraguay 1, Italy 1 --> It as an excellent back and forth affair that saw Paraguay take advantage of the few offensive chances they got, but it was marred by a goaltending error that was diabolically awful. How could Justo Villar so poorly misjudge a set piece like that? Needless to say it was most saddening.

I want to take a moment to comment on the vuvuzelas. The long, plastic horns have gotten almost as much press as the football itself. The horns produce a long, never-ending sound that is reminiscent of a swarm of bees constantly buzzing within the stadium. I love them because of the atmosphere they add to the games on television. However, the constant buzzing has caused many a player, fan, and manager to complain and I get it. Can you imagine paying hundreds of dollars for tickets, airfare, lodging, and food to come to South Africa only to have three drunk Serbians blowing a vuvuzela directly into your ear. I enjoy the atmosphere they bring to the match on television, but I'd rather hear the crowd and the chanting that football is known for.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekend notes

By now you've seen at least 27 replays of Clint Dempsey's goal that tied America's match with England; so,I'm going to skip a recap of the US-England match because it has been analyzed to death by ESPN and all of their hired-gun European analysts.

Have you noticed that with the exception of the moderators and Alexi Lalas all of ESPN's analysts and game announcers were plucked away from European networks only for the tournament. While I love the insight and the analysis that they provide I sometimes finding myself wishing that a match would get called by Chris Berman and Joe Morgan for the hilarity of it. I can see it now:

Berman: Dempsey goes FLYING down the left side and..WHOOP! He squeaks past Steven Gerrard and into the attacking third.
Morgan: See there Chris, that pass was like a cutter. You could tell because it cut across the field.
Berman: Dempsey crosses it into the box to Jozy "and the Pussycats" Altidore who rumbles and bumbles his way into the box.
Morgan: See there Chris, that pass was like a cutter. You could tell because it cut across the field.

So far the best matches of the tournament have all included African teams. South Africa's emotional draw with Mexico to start the tournament, Nigeria's entertaining battle with Argentina, and Ghana's 1-0 win over Serbia on Sunday morning. The African nations play an exciting brand of football and everyone should stop to see at least one match involving an African team.

Question: Why can't anyone score? Germany pummeled Australia 4-0 on Sunday night and their scoring outburst equaled the amount of goals on Friday and the other two games on Sunday combined. I know that there were questions about the ball coming into the tournament, but the teams need to find a way to put the ball in the net or risk having the tournament becoming a slog of 1-0 and 1-1 games.

Best game from the opening weekend: Argentina 1, Nigeria 0. I know that it is ironic that I'm awarding a 1-0 game right after I railed against the low scoring of the tournament, but this match had it all. After Argentina scored in the 7th minute both teams ran up and down the pitch trading scoring chances. It was the beautiful game at its finest.

Monday Preview: We got the Dutch taking on the Danes right after sunrise, but the game I am most interested in is Japan v. Cameroon at ten because I want to see Samuel Eto'o play. He is one of the best strikers on the planet today. The final match of the day features the reigning champions Italy taking on Paraguay.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Argentina holds off Nigeria

When Gabriel Heinze headed in Argentina's first goal of the World Cup in the seventh minute against Nigeria I felt that a rout was coming. Instead, I saw the most entertaining game of the World Cup thus far. It was a back and forth tussle that saw Argentina's massive firepower held at bay by the stellar play of Nigerian keeper Vincent Enyeama, who turned aside six Argentine shots. For a 1-0 game it was quite the spectacle. Seeing Lionel Messi get turned aside time after time was just as entertaining as seeing him work his magic. All in all it was a tremendous match between two terrific football teams.

South Korea Wins as The Sun Rises in The States

After a whole day of fixtures that saw missed chances and shots off the woodwork, South Korea notched the first win of the World Cup over Greece by a score of 2-0 to kick off play in Group B. Korea dominated for the duration of the match and struck early when Lee Jung-Soo found the back of the net in the seventh minute. The Koreans put the nail in the coffin when Park Ji-Sung took an errant Greek pass from about thirty yards out before dribbling in and putting it home in the 52nd minute. The win gives the South Koreans three key points, and with their up-tempo style they should be able to advance pending their game with Nigeria.

Finally, someone got a win. As I predicted, Greece played like hell and South Korea ran right by them. I can't wait to see them play Argentina

Friday, June 11, 2010

Uruguay frustrates France, Play to 0-0 Draw

In a game that was supposed to show off offensive firepower France and Uruguay put on an anemic display that was highlighted by Uruguay's stifling defense en route to a 0-0 draw. If a non-soccer fan decided to watch this match as their "I'll watch one match to give this sport a try" match then they'll probably never watch the sport again. Each team had a few chances. Patrice Evra for France and Diego Forlan got as close to a goal as anyone on the pitch could get. Nicolas Lodeiro was disqualified with ten minutes to go for a hard tackle, and even with an extra man the French were unable to break through and score. Theirry Henry had a free kick in the 93rd minute, but he kicked it straight into the wall.

This match was almost unbearable to watch. Most of the match was played in the middle third of the pitch with neither team getting many solid chances. For most of the second half I found myself staring at my laptop rather than watching the match. I know that the tournament will get better, but today's showing by Group A was mixed. The first match was compelling, and the second was mind-numbingly dull.