A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


For me, what has marked the 2010 World Cup more than previous Cups is the sense that upsets abound, that the "giants" of the beautiful game (Germany, Italy, etc.)can be got at with sophisticated slingshots. That, Goliaths do get felled by Davids, that overconfident teams falls under the pressure of their own hubris, and that true sportsmen are virtuosos of great skill and heart.

The 2010 Cup has also been marked with a plethora of shots saved by the post. The post is mostly unforgiving, like the net in basketball; one could safely say, iron unkind, and it would apply to many of the 2010 Cup matches. Futhermore, I don't see how divine intervention was not at hand during Serbia vs. Germany, or Spain vs. Switzerland. So many shot were saved by the post, you'd think it was the 12th man.

There has also been lost of chatter about the Jabulani, the ball designed by Adidas for the 2010 Cup. The Jabulani is not stitched together, the hexagons on its face are thermally bonded, and there are rivulets and channels on the ball that only an engi-nerd could explain. I even heard one of the goalies was so shook up about the wiley Jabulani that it drove them to tears.

Last, referees have been a hot topic this Cup. It seems that FIFA has attempted to exhibit its reach by having refs that are from exotic and far-away locales when it should instead opt for refs that have more experience and are better versed in protocols. Exhibit A: the ref that officiated at the Slovenia vs. U.S. match, Koman Coulibaly. Coulibaly, a native of Malawi, has surely officiated games in his native country, but how many matches of international stature? To this day, neither he nor FIFA have ever given any explanation for the invalidation of a third goal by Edu that would have put the U.S. over Slovenia, 3 to 2. The game was hotly contested and then hotly debated for the next couple of days.

There's the case of Germany, which was bested by a Serbian scissor kick authored by Jovanich, and a missed penalty by Podolski. There's the case of France, which was the obvious choice against Mexico (France made it to the Finals in 2006). But, they were no match for el Chicharita's torero moves or a swift penalty booted in by Cuahtemoc. How about Switzerland beating Spain, how about little old blond-haired, blue-eyed Switzerland besting the Red Tide of Spain.

There has also been a fair share of matches expertly played. For example, Brazil's spanking of Cote d'Ivoire on Sunday was an expert, flamboyant spanking with three of the pretties goals I have seen all Cup. Both play an aggressive, physical style with loads of creative, technical passes. The first goal by Fabiano was surgical; he was almost parallel with the goalie but manages to slice it into the opposite pocket. However, it would not have been possible without Kaka's wrangling of a volatile, overhead pass. The second goal, I thought, even more masterful.

Again, the ball finds Fabiano who cascades it over three defenders in lock-step, positions himself in front of the goal, and extends a killer rocketball past goalkeeper Boubacar Barry. That is not to say that Drogba's goal against Brazil wasn't equally as spectacular. My man fields a pass and uses the momentum of it falling to equalize on Brazilian goalie Julio Cesar.

The Paraguay vs Slovakia game was a dazzling match. Paraguay played a vivacious futbol, full of stop-and-go, suicide sprints, and misdirection that proved magical to watch. The main problem is that Slovakia gave Paraguay openings and Paraguay was able to define; in the 27 minute Enrique Vera burst through the Slovakian defense to bumrush it in; in the 86th minute Rivieros sails one in after balon does a little pinball wizardy in the goalie box. All in all, Slovakia seemed dazed and confused and Paraguay capitalized on that.

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