July 4th, 2011
Weekend Results: A Declaration of Intent
Roque! We missed you, baby! Image: REUTERS/Jorge Adorno/Daylife
For some, Independence Day is an opportunity to contemplate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and it’s implications for citizens of the globe. For Kickette staff, it is an opportunity to not do any work. All day. You might think this is sheer laziness, but actually is requires quite a lot of strategic planning; we have to constantly ensure we are in an area with no wifi, broadband or cell signal, in case our Editor changes her mind and tries to round us up.
You have Weekend Results, featuring the highlights of both the Copa America and the Women’s World Cup. Treasure them. We’re not sure if anything else (apart from empty bottles) will make it out of here today.
Sergio Aguero is just relieved he can breathe. Image: MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images/Daylife
With three goals scored in four matches, Brazil failing to beat Venezuela in their opening match and Argentina held to a 1-1 draw by Bolivia, our Copa America correspondent has been forced to head to the broom cupboard to seek out and dust off the cliches. She’s come up with ‘the first group games in a major tournament are rarely a reflection of the quality on show’. It’ll do for now.
With the game being played at an altitude not normally requiring an additional oxygen supply (the last time these two met Argentina were tonked 6-1, but the stadium the match was played in was 3,600 metres above sea-level, which *may* have given the home side an advantage ) we would have expected a typical Argentina side to cruise to a comfortable win. In the event, they spent most of the match playing catch-up after Bolivian midfielder Edivaldo Rojas’ 47th minute opener; Tevez, Lavezzi and Cambiasso all missing good chances. Sergio Aguero saved his side from the embarrassment of a group stage defeat with a goal shortly after he replaced Lavezzi.
The 1-1 draw leaves Argentina and Bolivia joint second in the Group A table, two points behind Colombia. They beat Costa Rica 1-0 in a feisty encounter that saw Randall Brenes sent off for a poor challenge in the twenty-eighth minute. He will be doubly pleased with that as he is the first Costa Rica player to be red carded in a Copa America. A dubious honour, but one to enjoy with the ‘rents, no?
Despite failing to score, Neymar was able to evade the fashion police for another fixture. Image: REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian/Daylife
If you think that Group A was a disappointing start to the competition, don’t be looking at Group B for excitement. Brazil vs. Venezuela and Paraguay vs. Ecuador both ended in 0-0 draws, which made the table interesting to look at, but that’s all. The best that can be said is that both Neymar and Pato came close in Brazil’s game, while Roque Santa Cruz looked hot (top) for Paraguay. You can expect us to keep you fully updated on how the latter issue manifests itself in further games.
Women’s World Cup
We’re afraid that Cristiano is going to see this picture and consider growing his hair for extra photographic impact. Gulp. Image: REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/Daylife
No mucking about in Group A, where France and Germany are in pole position with two wins out of two and Canada and Nigeria are out. France’s 4-0 defeat of the Canadians in their second group fixture was pretty decisive, but the same cannot be said for the heavily favoured Germans, who struggled against a brave Nigeria side and as yet haven’t displayed anything like the form that saw them win in previous years.
Birgit Prinz’ performances have been particularly worrisome by her own ridic standards, and it was Simone Laudehr who broke the deadlock after half-time with a fabulous volley. The game finished 1-0 and France lead the group by superior goal difference.
Nahomi Kawasumi (r) is probably the only Japanese currently hoping that Homara Sawa doesn’t score another tournament hat-trick. Image: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/Daylife
Group B is a much more disorganised affair, thanks to Japan. Having held England to a 1-1 draw in their opening fixture, Mexico might have sniffed an opportunity to get themselves into contention against the team who narrowly beat New Zealand 2-1 last time out. But Japan’s tight, skillful and gifted side had other ideas and beat Mexico 4-0, a goal from Shinobu Ohno and a hat-trick by Homare Sawa putting them in pole for their final group game against England, who barely scraped a 2-1 win over New Zealand.
The Kiwis took the lead through Sarah Gregorius, before Jill Scott’s equaliser on sixty-three minutes. Coach Hope Powell’s decision to replace Rachel Yankey with Jess Clarke might well prove to have saved England’s campaign as the Lincoln winger scored the winning goal on eighty-one. England now need a draw against Japan tomorrow to stand a chance of moving through to the knockout stages.
Um… ow? Heather O’Reilly takes one for the team that may well have killed any one of us mere mortals. You watching, boys? Image: Reuters/Daylife
Consecutive wins for the USA and Sweden see them both qualify, while Columbia and North Korea are both out without scoring a goal. Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd all scored for the US, while Lisa Dahlkvist’s goal against North Korea assured a play-off between the top two for group winning glory.
It really can be that simple and straightforward, y’know.
See what happens when you spend all that time practicing football and fail to work on your goal celebration? Marta (r)? Are you listening? Image: Scott Heavey/Getty Images/Daylife
Brazil consolidated on their 1-0 victory against Australia with a 3-0 battering of Norway that takes them comfortably through to the quarter-finals. The ‘impossible to contain’ Marta scored two of the goals while Rosana added to her tournament tally with another in the first few minutes of the second half. Norway can still qualify if they beat Australia on Wednesday, and this looks the more likely scenario after the Aussies struggled to beat Equatorial Guinea. The game finished 3-2, but while the referee’s failure to spot a handball of Thierry Henry proportions by Equatorial Guinea defender Bruna can be cited as an excuse, the Australians are going to need to improve their play if they stand a chance of qualifying.
Got a team involved in one of these competitions? Are you proud or peeved about their performances to date?