On the eve of the USA’s massive match with Slovenia (I’ll be watching at Ragtag tomorrow at 9am-join us if you can), a number of storylines are developing in South Africa:
- Vuvuzelas. The only thing more annoying than the incessant buzzing of vuvuzelas is the incessant blather about vuvuzelas. The stadiums are mostly South Africans anyway, so do you think you’d be hearing chants and anthems from the few thousand scattered, hard-core fans in the crowd? It’s not Old Trafford on a Sunday morning, folks. That said, vuvuzelas suck.
- South America. The best futbol being played at the World Cup is being turned in by South Americans. Germany is the only non-South American team that has shown as much creativity and energy as Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. And Brazil hasn’t even gotten going yet. (Mexico doesn’t count geographically but is playing well too.)
- Goals. Much was made a few days ago about the lack of scoring in the first round (23 goals this year vs. 34 in 2006 at the same point, or something). Then Argentina went off. My feeling is that it’s an abberation and has nothing to do with the…
- Jabulani ball. People complain about the ball at every World Cup. I have no idea why. First it made it too hard on the keepers, then it made it too hard on the strikers. Please.
- South Africa. Half-empty stadiums, insane transportation problems and vuvuzela madness do not a quality host country make.
- Spain. I have them winning the Cup but they looked dreadful in their first game. Where’s the flair? The artistry? My guess is we’ll see it open up
- Officiating. It’s generally been stellar.
- Diving. Outside of hilarious dive-monkey Cristiano Ronaldo, players are generally trying to stay on their feet. Blessed be.