A second column from guest writer Sibi Gnanasundaram:
Well. I’ve recovered… a little bit.
I kept postponing writing this article because I didn’t want to spread my misery to all of you and make everyone depressed. Well, the fact of the matter is, you guys should most likely be depressed on your teams’ exit now too (I’m assuming most of you are England, USA, or Australia fans – after all, this is an English language blog).
I pretty much had very little hope after the 4 – 0 thrashing that Germany laid on Australia. But I could never give up complete hope as an Australian fan. I proceeded to calculated all the possibilities the Socceroos had to advance to the next round and was genuinely disappointed when we didn’t beat Serbia 7-0 (or when Ghana didn’t beat Germany). After the Australia disappointment, I turned my attention to the US national team for which I also root for (not in the same level as the Socceroos, but enough that I watched all their qualification matches in the years prior to the WC). They promptly lost to Ghana. I then proceeded to cry for a week. Well, I didn’t cry, but you can understand my disappointment. I waited four years watching all the qualification matches and useless friendlies just to be heartbroken mainly due two very questionable red cards. Cahill’s shouldn’t have been a red – studs down, going for ball, no intent ; Kewell’s was an obvious handball that stopped a goal-scoring opportunity and should have been a penalty, but it was obvious he was trying to chest the ball. Alright, I’m done. No more sad talk. I just had to get all that off my chest.
The Good, The Bad, and The Shockingly Horrible Chester City-like Play
I’ll come up with something better when the Premier League season starts, but for now this is going to be the name of this column.
· John Heitinga – He has played pretty well. A couple of mistakes here and there, but none that blatantly allowed a goal or anything. Plus Holland has made it to the finals. I would say he’s been a success based on that alone.
· Tim Howard – Not going to say he was spectacular like some people are because he wasn’t. He made some great saves and didn’t make any major gaffes, but some goals he let up were a little soft. Just look at the replays to the Ghana – US match and you’ll understand.
· Joseph Yobo – He actually didn’t play that bad, but their defense collectively stunk it up. Their back line was in disarray and their team in general was a disappointment. Did this World Cup help his transfer case? I would say it’s a wash. He showed pretty much what people already knew – He is a pretty good individual defender but isn’t the greatest leader for the defense.
· Tim Cahill – Another pretty good performance that was put in the “The Bad” section because their team didn’t live up to expectations. He did not play well in Australia’s first match against Germany, but I would attribute that more towards the coach going clinically insane right before the match and switching the lineup and formation the team had been used to for years. The red card also should not have been awarded to him either. He was suspended for the second match against Ghana. Cahill played much better in their third match against Serbia in which he scored a goal (It was a header – surprise!).
The Shockingly Horrible Chester City-like Play
If you don’t know, Chester City is a soccer team that plays in the Conference National and as of March 2010 ceased to exist because they were so bad. Conference National is the 5th tier in the English football league system, one below League Two, and in general is pretty terrible football. Chester City FC was so terrible that the club’s season that they were playing was expunged and they were expelled from Conference National. Alright, I’m exaggerating their bad play, but they were bad and they had financial problems and now they don’t exist. Why am I explaining all this? Well, this category is for the players that were so bad that they should be transferred to this non-existent, expelled club after their horrific performances (no I don’t completely mean that, but that’s how disappointing these players were).
· Steven Pienaar – He did not show up. Period. He should have been one of the best, if not the best on his team, but was such a non-existent factor that I barely heard his name during South Africa’s matches. He gave some bullshit reason that he was “tired”, but who isn’t tired? He played the same season that everyone else was played, why was he so much more tired? In the end, he just didn’t live up to the national side’s expectations and as a result, the Bafana Bafana bowed out in the group stages.
· Yakubu – He also did not play well, but at least it looked like he tried. Yakubu’s horrible play was not because of lack of effort, it was just…bad. The culmination of all his bad touches and bad shots was when he missed a wide open net against South Korea, from what seemed like one yard out. He did later make up for it by punching in a penalty shot, but it didn’t matter in the end and Nigeria didn’t make it to the next round. The Nigerian government then proceeded to ban the national team from all international competition for two years. Nigeria is actually moving towards the fate of Chester City if they aren’t careful. For his awful performances and for his team’s awful performances, Yakubu is definitely Everton’s biggest goat in this World Cup.