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*** Official 2010 World Cup Thread ***


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"Coach Diego Maradona replaced seven starters from the Albiceleste lineup that ran up a 4-1 victory over South Korea -- the other team to make it out of the group -- but it didn't matter much. Argentina still won its third straight game.

"We're showing ourselves that many of the things you [journalists] said were wrong," Maradona said, referring to predictions that his team, which struggled in South American qualifying, would do the same in South Africa.

"The players leave everything they have on the pitch, they're 100 percent professionals and they make the people happy.""

Wow, starting 7 backups and they roll over Greece. It seems the guys benched had yellow cards so Maradona protected them from the chance of having to sit out a game.

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I would love to see the North Korean coverage of World Cup. They probably have teams of specially kidnapped actors ready to recreate all the matches according to the Propaganda Ministry's script. So w

This pic is making me think about moving to Paraguay. Hot women and the guys are absolutely no competition.

Maradona has constantly been giving the Argentinian media a big "f*** you". While they were highly impressive in group play, I think his paranoia and volatile personality combined with little international experience will catch up to him.

I don't expect Argentina to make it past the quarterfinals once the cream really starts rising to the top.

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91 minutes of pure torture. A perfectly good goal disallowed, Algerian keeper making save after save after save. Some truly woeful misses, and then one moment of sheer, if a bit lucky, magic.

And hopefully Germany will win tonight, and proceed to knock those condescending English c**ts out in the next round. Them and their f**king E-A-S-Y group crap. Who topped the group? Not f**king Eng-er-lund.

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Awesome for you guys, absoluetly awesome.

Delighted for the USA, really am rooting for them. Justice was done in the end after being screwed with bad calls.

LOL at England, they're acting like they've won the world cup because the beat Slovenia. LMAO!

Germany, Argentina, Spain/Brazil - They should be happy to see them. It was so important that you guys topped the group, especially if Germany do waht they should do tonight and finish 1st.

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Such an impressive group win.

This team not only had to come the opposing teams but the ****ty FIFA refs that robbed them of two goals. Pretty remarkable that they made it through.

England still sucks. The US is clearly the better team as of right now. Clearly.

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Germany takes a 1-0 lead on Ghana, Serbia and Australia are still tied 0-0. If those scores remain the same, Ghana finishes 2nd and matches up with us in the round of 16.

If Serbia scores, however, Ghana are in trouble.

EDIT: Australia takes a 1-0 lead on Serbia. Serbia are f***ed.

EDIT: Australia up 2-0!

Edited by Jetsfan80
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I never expected the US to win their group and I never expected them to be able to overcome refereeing this biased. This is a great team. Before the game Donovan was saying their defense is good enough to throw everyone into the attack and it showed this game. I give most of the credit to the coach. That last two coaches were attention whores, always making weird decisions so people would talk about them instead of the game or the players. We finally have a coach who keeps quiet and makes good decisions. With some fair reffing this team could do some damage. And right now there are only 3 elite teams in this WC, Argie, Brazil and Holland. This is a good cup for an underdog winner.

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Am I right in saying that the USA beating Ghana would have them go on to play the winner of Uruguay/South Korea?

Yep, we avoid Argentina/Mexico. Uruguay scares me though. No road to the Semis is easy, but like you say, its there for the taking for the US.

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I never expected the US to win their group and I never expected them to be able to overcome refereeing this biased. This is a great team. Before the game Donovan was saying their defense is good enough to throw everyone into the attack and it showed this game. I give most of the credit to the coach. That last two coaches were attention whores, always making weird decisions so people would talk about them instead of the game or the players. We finally have a coach who keeps quiet and makes good decisions. With some fair reffing this team could do some damage. And right now there are only 3 elite teams in this WC, Argie, Brazil and Holland. This is a good cup for an underdog winner.

And done without Charlie Davies...one of our best towards.

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World Cup 2010: Saifi 'slapped female journalist'

A female journalist has claimed Algeria footballer Rafik Saifi slapped her in the face after his side were knocked out of the World Cup.

"I was waiting for the Algerian players. When Saifi came I just moved away. I felt a hit," Asma Halimi told BBC World Service.

The journalist, who works for Algerian newspaper Competition, said she had a disagreement with Saifi a year ago.

"I will make [a] complaint with Fifa and the police," she added.

The BBC World Service's Richard Connelly witnessed the incident in the mixed zone - an area where journalists and players congregate - after the match.

"Rafik Saifi slapped the face of journalist Asma Halifi," said Connelly.

"She hit him back as a reflex.

"He then threw a bottle of sports drink which missed and had to be restrained from attacking her again."

The BBC understands the altercation comes after a year of bad feelings between the pair.

"Saifi took exception to an interview that she translated and published in her newspaper," explained Connelly.

"There was a similar incident between the two last year. She's going to complain formally to Fifa and to the police later on tonight."

Halimi says that Saifi threatened that she will come to harm in Algeria.

An Algerian federation spokesman said he had no information about the incident and so could not comment.

There was nobody immediately available from Fifa.

The Algerians had just been knocked out of the World Cup after losing to an injury-time goal by Landon Donovan of the United States.

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http://soccernet.espn.go.com/world-cup/columns/story/_/id/5319437/ce/us/us-win-owes-lot-tim-howards?cc=5901&ver=us

How about that gun-and-run football?

PRETORIA, South Africa -- It ended with Landon Donovan slotting home the winning goal -- the advancing goal, the miracle goal -- but it began with goalkeeper Tim Howard putting the hopes of American soccer fans in his suddenly bionic arm.

Donovan, streaking past the halfway line, got the ball only because Howard managed to throw it to him on a single bounce from nearly 40 yards away.

In the chaos after, Donovan wasn't entirely sure how the ball had ended up on his feet -- "I don't know if it was maybe from Timmy," he said -- but it was a conspiracy of circumstance, as well as Howard's arm, that delivered it.

The U.S. goalkeepers don't practice throwing; they perform no throwing drills, set no time aside for it. Their arms are their arms. Marcus Hahnemann, one of the team's reserve keepers, will sometimes pull out a football -- as in an American football, a pigskin -- for them to toss around to warm up their shoulders, but that's the sum of it since they've been in South Africa.

They have talked, however, about the Jabulani -- the controversial World Cup ball from adidas -- and how it's a better throwing ball than a kicking ball. "Throwing with it is definitely more accurate," Hahnemann said Wednesday night. The ball's seeming lightness, as well as the altitude here in South Africa, has also allowed it to carry farther than usual. The keepers have found their throws have more distance.

"I'm not a big thrower," Howard said after the game. "But if there's a plus to the ball, it goes."

The combination of greater distance and accuracy means that the keepers have been more reliant on their arms. Not long before he made his critical throw to Donovan, Howard had thrown another ball to him over the head of Algerian defender Nadir Belhadj. The carry had surprised him, and that stuck in his head.

So did the fact that Donovan was wide open. Because both team's offenses were pressing forward, there was an unusually large gap in the midfield. The Algerians had as many as seven players leaning into Howard, putting huge pressure on the American defense, but also leaving U.S. players unmarked near the halfway line -- the outer limits of Howard's arm.

"That last 45 minutes wasn't soccer," he said. "That was something else. It was a tennis match. It was a track meet."

Howard chose discus. In quick succession, he stopped a Rafik Saifi attempt -- not an easy save, incidentally -- managed to hold on to the ball, sprinted toward the edge of his box, saw Donovan streaking up the field, and launched.

It was the sort of throw normally associated with other keepers, with keepers who have extraordinary arms: England's David James; Brazilian reserve Heurelho Gomes; former Danish international Peter Schmeichel. But because of the ball, the altitude, the adrenaline -- maybe even the desperation -- Howard's throw came up giant.

"I just didn't want to go home," he said. "Thankfully Landon was open. It was easy."

"No, it was a great throw," Hahnemann corrected. "Just straight out, and I could see he was looking to bomb it. Landon was cheating a bit, because we needed to win, and Tim found him. He was just within range."

Any farther, Howard would have had to kick it. And a kick wouldn't have been nearly so accurate. A kick would have left a tougher bounce for Donovan to control. A kick would have given more time for the Algerian defense to react.

A kick wouldn't have worked.

The U.S. team is still in this World Cup only because of that throw -- only because a keeper with a good arm miraculously found himself with a great one, just when he needed it most.

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Nice article on Howard. He had a deep throw earlier in the game that nearly lead to a goal for the US.

Italy's currently trailing Slovakia 1-0. If the scores remain the same, Italy & France (the two finalists last year) will both be knocked out in group play.

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