11 June 2010

World Cup 2010, Match Day 1

Today's action was... largely to be expected, except for one pleasant surprise. The first day of the World Cup tends to be somewhat tentative — nobody wants to lose. And nobody did.

The pleasant surprise was the officiating crews, which — with the exception of the fourth official in the France-Uruguay match, who did not allot nearly enough stoppage time (when a player is off the pitch for treatment due to a foul by the other team that resulted in an ejection, that period of "non-advantage" is also to be added to stoppage time) — demonstrated a far higher level of performance than were any of the four coaching staffs (or any of the four teams). It's more than arguable that the French manager Domanech threw away two points (the difference between a draw and a win) with a poor tactical system, questionable lineup selections, and excessive delay in going to the bench. So, so far:

South Africa 1:1 Mexico — the teams get Bs, the officials an A (particularly regarding the "controversial" offside goal in the 36th minute)
Uruguay 0:0 France — Uruguay gets a B-, France a C+, the officials an A (despite my comment above about the fourth official!)

And tomorrow, the first time US TV viewers might really care: England v. US. Unfortunately, it is extremely unlikely that the officiating will be of the caliber that it was today... and that's more than just annoying after the incompetent officiating in US v. Italy in 2006 and US v. Germany in 2002.