We’re now approaching the end of the first third of the round-robin in this geek-blog World Cup 2010 coverage. Long way to go yet.

I didn’t get up at 4AM to watch New Zealand-Slovakia, although I am the husband of a New Zealander and the father of two more. Oh well. And I might divert a bit of attention from work for an interesting game but I decided that Brazil-DPRK wouldn’t be one of those; I gather I was wrong. I have a certain sick fascination with North Korea to the extent of feeling physical pain in my gut when I read about what its poor people have to live through. And watching them play a football match, or otherwise pretend to be normal in the context of a normal human activity, well it just seems wrong.

Ivory Coast 0 Portugal 0 · OK, I’m a fan now, of the team from the country that would prefer to be known as Côte d'Ivoire. They pretty well made mincemeat of the Portuguese midfield; if Drogba had been able to play 90 minutes I can’t see them not having won.

There’s all this noise about Ronaldo’s hotness; but today Gervinho was the more impressive attacker. No, he’s not an import, his real name is Gervais Yao Kouassi and Gervinho’s a nickname he got from a Brazilian coach. If Drogba can get back on form that just might be the best one-two attacking punch in the tournament.

As for the Portuguese, feaugh. I have an attitude problem caused by their despicable clutching and diving and whining in the 2006 tournament, and I will say they didn’t seem quite as loathsome this time around. I literally crowed with glee when the no-bullshit referee gave Ronaldo and his dance partner yellow cards right at the start of the game; I think the ref may have done his colleagues in the rest of the tournament a big favor there.

It’s a pity — that big early shot of Ronaldo’s was like a force of nature unleashed. The guy’s got so much talent and so little class.

Tomorrow · The interesting game, since Group H is a complete yawner which will deliver Spain and some cannon fodder to the round of 16, is South Africa-Uruguay of course, since Group A is so wide-open. Pity it’s in the middle of the work-day.



Contributions

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From: Lennart Bonnevier (Jun 16 2010, at 00:00)

Agree about the poor North Koreans being totally out-of-place. Did you notice most of them were crying during the anthem?

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From: Jim Millen (Jun 16 2010, at 01:17)

I watched most of the second half of the Brazil - North Korea game with very mixed feelings. Like you I despair of their regime and there's little doubt it's a miserable place to live, made that way through stupidity, greed and political absolutism.

Yet during the game yesterday it was hard to get away from the fact it was 11 (plus a couple of subs) young players who despite being hopeless underdogs played with effort, conviction and at times even a degree of style. I couldn't help but feel pleased when they scored, despite my feeling about their government...

Not sure what to make of it all, really.

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From: ZiglioNZ (Jun 16 2010, at 05:40)

"...I am the husband of a New Zealander and the father of two more"

Oh, really? me too!

that's why we were up until 2am here on the Kapiti Coast, well worth it!!

Kia Ora,

Emanuele

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From: Patrix (Jun 16 2010, at 09:51)

Looks like the "cannon fodder" wasn't so bad after all! Go, Switzerland, go!

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From: Liam Bedford (Jun 16 2010, at 14:06)

Group H is less of a yawner now I guess :)

Thankfully everything isn't as predictable as it seems.

Brazil vs Spain in the next round would be interesting.

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From: Dave Neary (Jun 17 2010, at 04:41)

Spain being fed cannon fodder? It certainly looked that way when Spain were attacking, but with Switzerland winning 1-0, it looks like you might have to eat some humble pie there (along with the rest of us!)

Will be interesting to see if France can overcome the mighty Mexico today to almost ensure qualification (a draw against Uruguay would get both through, so you could probably put money on that result).

Dave.

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