Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The Crowns and Thorns of Ball
By Bagga Wilks
Mexico has shown over the last couple of weeks that it is more than a country of internecine drug cartels. The Mexican economy has been growing at a steady pace and the investment in the nation’s soccer program is reaping dividends.
Mexico defeated the United States convincingly in the final of the CONCACAF tournament. The Central American nation staged the Under 17 World Cup and the Mexican youth team emerged as 2011 Champions. Mexico defeated Uruguay in the final and Germany pinched Brazil 4-3 to win the Bronze medal. Mexico will be a force in world football in the coming years.
The Brazil Triple Tragedy
The United States Women’s World Cup team put up an epic performance in defeating Brazil in penalty kicks. Brazil was leading 2-1 in overtime from a spectacular goal from Martha. The United States Women’s Team down to 10 players, rather unjustly, played with great determination and their leading scorer, Wambach, converted a header in the extra minutes of the 30 minute overtime.
The game was decided by the goalkeeping prowess of Sola who was herculean between the sticks and pulled off a great save in the penalty shootout to give her team the opportunity to dream as they enter the semi-final against France. Japan will play Sweden in the other semi-final.
This was a terrible weekend for Brazilian football. The men’s team performance in the Copa America competition has been thus far abysmal. Brazil led Paraguay at half time 1 nil and like in the game against Netherlands in South Africa in the 2010 World Cup, the normal ironclad Brazilian defense fell apart. Paraguay scored two goals on breakaways and poor marking. Brazil fortuitously rescued its Copa America chances of reaching the quarter final as Fred, the substitute, salvaged a draw for Brazil by scoring a spectacular goal in the 89th minute.
The Brazilians play Ecuador on Wednesday and must win to remain alive. Paraguay will play Venezuela who leads the group going into Wednesday.
The Brazilian Youth Team (Under 17) were leading 3-1 and allowed Germany back into the game. The Germans were dangerous on attack and simply destroyed the Brazilian defenders by running at them. Brazilian football is played at too slow a pace and Brazilian players turn back the ball too frequently. They maintain possession but give opposing defenses time to regroup.
The Men’s team will get another opportunity to shine on Wednesday against Ecuador. At present, Brazil’s soccer is lingering under the dark clouds.