World Cup Analysis Day 3: Slovenia vs. Argelia
I have the time, I have the words, and I've got the football knowledge, so there is really no reason why not to resume my writing in this blog, by including my "every" match analysis on the World Cup games. I have tried to watch as much minutes as possible, but due to a tight schedule on the first two days of the competition, this is just the second complete match I have seen.
By individual names, the game would make the traffic stop in any other than the playing countries, since none of them feature big star players on their line-ups, but after yesterday's "big ones" drew, this match meant a lot to whomever decided to win this game. It's true that this is just the first match of the group for both teams, but the losing side would have missed the chance to add points, something which seems harder on the upcoming fixtures against England and the USA. So, even though in theory, the game could incline on any side, none of the teams were taking much risks, and were planning on capitalizing on the opponent's error, something which just didn't happen, or was not taken full advantage of. The truth is that during the first half, I wasn't 100% into the game, preferring to grab a paper and test my memory, trying to remember the teams and groups of the last two world cups (France 98 proved to be a little too far behind), but also, the game didn't do much to grab my attention, so much, that I feared this would be another goalless match in this tournament.
Fortunately, when the game restarted after the break, both teams seemed to have realized that they needed to put more effort if they wished to place those valuable three points in their pockets. Argelia risked by making the first substitution of the game, when striker Ghezzal hit the field, and receiving a yellow card after a first few minutes in the game for grabbing a rival's shirt. HOwever, Ghezzal's substitution was proving to be a productive one, when he caused danger on the Slovenian area, unfortunately, after generating two dangerous plays, Ghezzal received a center which he would not connect, and tried to get the ball down with his arm. The player hit the floor and knew what was coming. Guatemalan referee Carlos Batres didn't back down and gave him his second yellow card.
Argelia, who were showing a better game, were left with one player less. On the next minutes, Slovenia's numerical advantage will begin to show, when they began having more ball possesion and more space where to move. Just before the match hitted the final ten minutes of full time, Slovenia's captain Robert Koren, saw a chance, shot and scored a goal, not much unlike Clint Dempsey's last night equalizer against England.
Excuses will come, and Jabulani, this tournament's official ball, will probably be targeted, but this not excuse, since the players should already be acquainted with the ball's performance differences (if any).
After the goal, Argelia knew what losing this match would mean for them, and decided to risk it all. Slovenia didn't completely back down, although they took their time whenever possible, but the game seemed to be on equal numbers again. GOal differntial might end up being important for Slovenia, but not enough to risk the 3 points which currently have them on the top position of Group C. However, I believe both Anglo speaking contries should have no problems of getting into the next round, with the US having a strong chance of ending up first.
Player of the Match: THe player chosen by the users of fifa.com was the Slovenian cpatain and goalscorer Robert Koren, but in my opinion, the best player was Karim Ziani, who seem to be all over the place, and battle 'til the last moments of the match, and who belong to the Argelian side, which in my opinion deserved a better result.
Images taken from fifa.com