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FIFA World Cup 2010


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Vuvuzelas are annoying but at least they drown out the sound of the annoying commentating team on Australian TV. I'm not sure which is the greater evil.

Khune: Vuvuzelas weren't loud enough

Khune needs to die in a fire.

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^Oh, and SeƱor Guarda - now that you've made one of Michael*'s wishes come true, can we now see Oprah managing a top European club??? :gocho:

She'll be giving cash away to everyone in the crowd. Perfect for Citeh.

I'll see what I can do about it. The gods don't like Oprah that much. They prefer Ellen.

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Vuvuzelas are annoying but at least they drown out the sound of the annoying commentating team on Australian TV. I'm not sure which is the greater evil.

Khune: Vuvuzelas weren't loud enough

Khune needs to die in a fire.


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Iniesta a major doubt for Spain

Andres Iniesta remains a major doubt for Spain's World Cup opener with Switzerland after being forced to train alone.

The Barcelona playmaker did not take part in training on Friday as Spain took their first training session since their arrival in South Africa.

Iniesta, who had only recently returned from injury, picked up a knock in their final warm-up victory over Poland on Tuesday.

Spain coach Vincente del Bosque will give Iniesta until the last minute to prove his fitness as he finalises his side for next Wednesday's opener with Switzerland.

Fernando Torres took a full part in training with his knee heavily bandaged after recently recovering from knee surgery.

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France vs Uruguay Player Ratings

We rate the players in the Group A game between France and Uruguay on Friday.

France were unable to break down a dogged 10-man Uruguayan outfit in Cape Town as both the opening matches of the 2010 FFIA World Cup ended in draws.


Hugo Lloris - 5.5

Beat away a stinging Diego Forlan drive but was not troubled otherwise. A couple of spills that did not cause any harm.

Bacary Sagna - 6

Barely provided any service from the right flank - seemingly content to sit back and defend. At least he made sure William Gallas was protected from the wiles of Diego Forlan.

Eric Abidal - 6

Props for keeping the feared Luis Suarez quiet throughout the game, and he did not have much to do in the last 20-25 minutes as he was the only man in the French half.

William Gallas - 4

Had a harrowing time against Diego Forlan - especially when the striker stepped inside to shoot. The Arsenal veteran had to rely on club teammate Bacary Sagna to bail him out more than once.

Patrice Evra - 6

Started off with intent and linked up well with Ribery on the left. But as the winger's star waned - so did the left-back's. Struggled to have any influence moving forward although he was quite consistent at the back.

Jeremy Toulalan - 6.5

Was solid as the sweeper in front of the backline and showed why he is highly rated across Europe. Snuffed out numerous Uruguay breaks with some well-timed tackles, but also had a couple of poor tackles and was booked.

Yoann Gourcuff (off 75') - 6.5

Was given a lot of space in the middle of the park and took advantage by unleashing some furious strikes from distance. His dead-ball delivery was excellent too, but there was a distinct lack of understanding with his forwards and too little support for him.

Abou Diaby - 5

His old failings were on display yet again. Came away with the ball most of the time but then instead of passing it, tried to take on the entire defence himself. He just does not seem to learn.

Franck Ribery - 5

Troubled Victorino with some clever turns on the left flank in the first half. The Bayern Munich winger was relatively quiet in the second half when the Uruguayans double teamed him, and gave away the ball fairly frequently.

Sebastian Govou (off 85') - 2

Govou was poor, to say the least. Missed a great chance early in the game and that set the tone for his evening. His control was a mess and positioning even worse. It will be a surprise if Domenech picks him for the next game as he was largely anonymous, and we cannot think of single attack which he initiated or was involved in other than the chance he missed.

Nicolas Anelka (off 72') - 6

Showed why he is more suited to the role he plays for Chelsea, that of the "fox in the box", than the out and out striker role Domenech cast him in. Won the ball in and around the box, but found himself bereft of support and options.


Thierry Henry (on 72') - 5

Teed up the likes of Gourcuff and Diaby a couple of times, but that was the extent of Titi's contribution.

Florent Malouda (on 75') - 5.5

Provided some incision on the left - but really, needed more time on the pitch to make an impact. Domenech - are you listening? Probably not.

Andre Gignac (on 85') - 4

Came on and lost the ball thrice in about two minutes. End of his "contribution", but given his reputation as an out-and-out striker, he may be an option to start the next game alongside Anelka.


Fernando Muslera - 7.5

The Uruguay keeper looked solid and made the save of the match to prevent Gourcuff's fearsome free kick from going in, but other than that was not tested much by the French attackers.

Mauricio Victorino - 6

The right-back did well to keep Ribery quiet after the first ten or fifteen minutes.

Diego Lugano -7

Was defensively solid and kept Anelka and then Henry at bay for most of the game.

Diego Godin - 7

Produced a number of important blocks and headers away to ensure that the French could not score.

Alvaro Pereira - 6.5

The left back was not troubled at all by Govou, and had a decent game.

Maxi Pereira - 6.5

Had a few good runs down the left, but was ably covered by Toulalan and Sagna for most of the game.

Diego Perez (off 87') - 6

Had a rather quiet game but made a few crucial blocks.

Egidio Arevalo - 5

Was useful in defense but gave the ball away a tad too often.

Ignacio Gonzalez (off 64') - 6.5

A few misplaced passes, but pressed the French midfielders and ensured that they were unable to pry the defence open.

Diego Forlan - 7

Stepped inside his marker frequently and showed why he is one of the most-feared strikers in Europe with a good first half shot that forced a save from Lloris. However, he missed a relatively easy chance after Suarez headed on to him.

Luis Suarez (off 74') - 6

The hugely touted Ajax striker had a few good moments but failed to live up to the pre-game hype as Uruguay were forced to defend for much of the game.


Nicolas Lodeiro (on 64', sent off 82') - 2

The substitute midfielder made two poor tackles within 15 minutes of his introduction and was sent off, forcing his side to sit back for the last ten minutes of the game.

Sebastian Abreu (on 74') - 5

Did not get much of a chance as he was introduced to counter attack, but Uruguay were reduced to 10 men soon after, and so had to sit back and help the side defend.

Sebastian Eguren (on 87') - 5

Did an able job defending after coming on for the last few minutes of the game.

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Domenech frustrated after draw

French coach Raymond Domenech was left gritting his teeth after his side failed to break down a dogged Uruguayan defence.

France created most of the chances in the match but failed to capitalise on a single on as the South Americans held them to a goalless draw in Cape Town.

Domenech baffled observers yet again with his choice of players. Florent Malouda was left on the bench with Franck Ribery starting the game on the left flank.

Sidney Govou was given a start behind Nicolas Anelka and went on to prove his coach spectacularly wrong with a lacklustre performance.

By the time the eccentric coach rang in the changes, it was too late and even though Uruguay were reduced to 10 men in the final nine minutes of the match, Les Blues failed to find the back of the net.

The French are notoriously slow starters and the resulted reflected their opening game scoreline against Switzerland four years ago.

Speaking to TF1 after the match, Domenech said: "With regards to the game, it was frustrating. We said that we wanted to take the moment, but we also said we didn't want to concede.

"It was tense, but there was something [there]. We had rhythm. We set the pace since the game was blocked by Uruguay. They prevented us from playing."

Domenech's side will next play Mexico and on the evidence of the opening day, one would consider the North Americans to be firm favourites for the match.

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Evra: How did we not win it?

Patrice Evra is amazed at France's failure to bag all three points in their 2010 FIFA World Cup opener against Uruguay.

The Les Bleus enjoyed the majority of possession and had numerous chances to score.

However, the Uruguay defence stood resolute even when their player Nicolas Lodeiro was sent off with 10 minutes to go and managed to scrap a goalless draw.

Evra told L'Equipe: "Frankly, I don't see what the problem was. We played really well. I don't know how they could take it (a draw)."

France take on Mexico next on 17 June.

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Malouda: Substitute role is frustrating

Florent Malouda found it "frustrating" to be on the bench until the last 15 minutes of France's 2010 FIFA World Cup stalemate with Uruguay.

Les Blues failed to win in their opening group match for the third successive World Cup as Raymond Domenech's mis-firing side failed to find a way past their Group A opponents at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town.

Domenech deployed Malouda, Thierry Henry and Andre Pierre Gignac off the bench but the Chelsea forward admits it was disappointing to come on with just 15 minutes left.

"It's frustrating," he said. "But that's life. I hope I get a chance to show my quality.

"Hopefully we can take this (point) as an opportunity to move on. That will be important."

After Group A rivals South Africa and Mexico drew 1-1 in yesterday's early match, Domenech believes it is they who hold the advantage.

"We lacked that last bit, the last pass," Domenech admitted. "We had to guard against an unlucky counter (by the opposition).

"It is almost a beautiful 0-0, but the result is what it is. They were good, solid in defence."

Uruguay striker Diego Forlan had a few opportunities for the South Americans, whose emphasis was on keeping tight and looking to counter.

France, though, had chances to win the game, not least in the seventh minute when winger Sidney Govou somehow side-footed wide from close range after Franck Ribery's teasing left-wing cross.

The outgoing France boss added: "The other two have the advantage."

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez, whose side were not bullied in terms of possession by the 1998 champions, said: "The pitch was not particularly good. It created some problems for us controlling the ball.

"Bearing in mind what happened in the game and that France, a recent world champion who are very well organised and prepared, I think it is not a bad result, bearing all this in mind.

"The results in the second round of matches are now more important because both opening matches ended in draws."

Tabarez was forced to defend his team's discipline on the eve of the match and had to do the same last night after substitute Nicolas Lodeiro was sent off for two bookings.

"I think football is one thing, and behaviour on the pitch is a different kettle of fish," he said. "Theoretically, any card is avoidable but I was once a player and I know what it is like to be out there. So I understand my players' point of view.

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Alves: Barca better than Argentina

Daniel Alves believes the Argentina squad is inferior to Barcelona - the reason why Lionel Messi struggles to repeat his club form.

FIFA World Player of the year Messi was the top scorer in Spain last season and the creative force behind the Catalan giants retaining their Primera Division crown.

Yet he has rarely shown such brilliance in an Argentina shirt.

Alves, who plays just behind Messi at Barca, was quick to point the finger at Brazil's South American rivals by suggesting Diego Maradona's players are not able to bring the best out of the 22-year-old.

He told The Times: "I think the reason Messi has difficulties with Argentina is because there is no comparison between Barcelona and Argentina.

"With all respect to the players in Argentina, there is no comparison between the two.

"At Barcelona, he has players of his level."

Messi goes into the tournament widely recognised as the best player in the world. Yet Alves feels there is too much pressure on the Rosario-born star.

"Messi is young," he added.

"He has to carry the nation on his back and it's a big responsibility.

"He is too good a person, he never complains about anything."

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Alves hails Brazilian creativity

Brazil defender Daniel Alves expects tough games at the World Cup but believes his team's "quality and creativity" will be decisive.

The Canarinha, as usual, are among the favourites to win the tournament in South Africa.

"Although everyone knows how we play, Brazil have the capacity to surprise opponents," said Alves.

"What is important is to be ready for the opportunities we get.

"I think what makes our national team different is the quality and creativity that it has."

The Barcelona defender, meanwhile, has defended Brazil coach Dunga's tactics.

"To make changes would only drive us away from our path," said the Barcelona defender.

"We are on the right track and we have to finish in the same manner."

Brazil kick off their tournament against North Korea on Monday in Johannesburg, before further Group G games against Ivory Coast and Portugal.

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Higuain: Messi can stop favourites Spain

Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain has tagged Spain as favourites to win the World Cup but believes Lionel Messi could change all that.

The Real Madrid forward knows all about the talent in Spain's squad, having played with and against most of the squad during an outstanding Primera Division campaign.

However, Argentina has a mind-boggling array of talent at their disposal if Diego Maradona can marshall it in the correct way.

"We know that at the moment Spain is the team who plays the best football, but in a World Cup you never know. Anyway Spain is top candidate," he said at an event hosted by gaming site bwin.com.

"Argentina is my country and we will fight for it, hopefully we can bring this beautiful cup to Argentina.

"Hopefully Lionel (Messi) shows the same performance as he does in Spanish League. For us it will be decisive. We know that the World Cup will be very tough because you have the best players there and if we want to win we need to do almost everything perfectly."

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Ramos: Failing is not an option

Sergio Ramos is in confident mood heading into the World Cup and is keen to banish any thoughts of possible failure in South Africa.

Heading into major tournaments with high expectations is nothing new for the Spanish, but in the past they have often failed to live up to their lofty billing with a series of disappointing displays on the biggest stages.

However, that all changed at Euro 2008 when the Spanish ended a 44-year wait to win their second international tournament, and now many are tipping the Iberian nation to add the world title to their European crown this summer.

The pressure is on the Spanish and the tag of favourites could weigh heavily on their shoulders, but Ramos is determined to keep a positive outlook.

"We shouldn't think about failure, we need to be optimistic. We must be positive and try to do a good job," said Ramos.

"We've got our minds set on doing what we did at the European Championships. We're really eager for everything to start and we're confident we can achieve something important."

Spain, who arrive in South Africa tomorrow, are alongside Switzerland, Chile and Honduras in Group H and they will fancy their chances of finishing top of that pool.

It could become very difficult for Vicente Del Bosque's side after that though, with a potential match-up against either Brazil, Portugal or Ivory Coast in the last 16.

Ramos preferred not to look that far ahead though, and warned against underestimating any of the teams in the group phase.

"In these types of events any team can cause a surprise," the Real Madrid man added.

"We need to think about the first three games and then we'll see what happens after that.

"We're going there calm and relaxed and with the utmost respect for everyone."

Spain warmed up for their trip to South Africa with an impressive 6-0 mauling of Poland in Murcia on Tuesday.

That victory saw Spain improve their remarkable run of form over the last few years to 45 victories - including two after extra time - in 48 matches, with just one defeat.

Ramos said of the big win, which came after less impressive friendly triumphs over Saudi Arabia and South Korea last week: "It was important to get a good victory to boost confidence ahead of the trip to South Africa."

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next up:

South Korea vs. Greece

Argentina vs. Nigeria

England vs. United States

your predictions?

South Korea 2 - Greece 1

Argentina 3 - Nigeria 1

England 2 - USA 2

USA beat Spain in Fed Cup so I think they will be trouble for England, England should win but I'm not too sure. Argentina will beat Nigeria even though I'd rather Nigeria won and SK every WC they do well enough.

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