Arsenal World Cup Match Day 12: French Gunners Book Early Flight Home While Vela’s Mexico Move On

Arsenal World Cup Match Day 12:  French Gunners Book Early Flight Home While Vela’s Mexico Move On

The main story thus far in the World Cup isn’t all the wackiness going on with the French and England squads or the vuvuzela’s.  Not by a long shot.  The main story of this tournament is and will continue to be the refereeing.  Every match seems to have at least one major gaffe, an entire match worth of consistently poor calls or inconsistent application of the rules.  Yellow cards come out early, then aren’t seen again despite clear plays, red cards are shown for nebulous fouls and blatant handballs have gone unpunished.  OK, the football hasn’t been top caliber in every match, but the refereeing should never be the main story.

I didn’t really know what to expect from France today after the week they’ve had.  Thankfully, the French side seemed to regain some measure of self esteem and opened their last Group match against the home Bafana Bafana of South Africa in quite good form.  Sadly, the renewed spirit was not rewarded with a result.  There was real intent and purpose from the Arsenal-led Les Bleus early on as they threw themselves into both attacking and defending responsibilities.  Both sides looked to take opportunities as they traded offensive jabs throughout the first 20 minutes.  South Africa struck first though, with a brilliant header by Bongani Khumalo off a corner kick just on the 20 minute mark.  There will be calls that Diaby lost Khumalo on the marking, but Hugo Lloris clearly whiffed to get a touch on the ball as it sailed towards Khumalo’s head and into the net.  Things started to fall apart for France at this point, especially following Yoann Gourcuff being sent off on 25 minutes for a wild elbow to the head of MacBeth Sibaya in the box.  Down a man, the French attack became more tentative and it was only a matter of time before South Africa notched another goal.  Sure enough, the 37th minute saw South Africa build up play, cross into the box and take advantage of a free ball to cross again from the 6 yard area to right in front of the goal for a bundled in score by Katlego Mphela.  Arsenal’s Gael Clichy was negligent on clearing the final ball and Mphela was the man on the spot to make it 2-0 for South Africa.  Second half sub Florent Malouda cut the deficit to 1 on 70 minutes, scoring the only goal for France in the 2010 World Cup.  The second half was an exciting, if academic affair with France down a man and South Africa failing to add to their lead.  France and South Africa are now out of the 2010 World Cup.

With Carlos Vela sitting out through injury, I only took a cursory glance or two at the Mexico-Uruguay match.  Uruguay took top honors in the Group with a 1-0 win on a 43rd minute goal by Luis Suarez.  Uruguay now face South Korea in the Round of 16 on Saturday, while Mexico will line up against high flying Argentina on Sunday.

Mexico

Vela Gets A Rest As Mexico Lose And Win At The Same Time

Carlos Vela had the day off for injury recovery as his Mexico side took the 1-0 loss to Uruguay.  With South Africa failing to close the goal differential though, El Tri were able to secure moving into the Knockout Stage despite the defeat.

France

Sagna Has Quiet Day On Right Side

Bacary Sagna’s World Cup finished with a rather quiet day on the French right side as much of the South African attack came centrally or from the left.  He managed his responsibilities well when called upon, but there were few opportunities to feature in play.

Clichy Starts At Left Back – Suffers On Crucial Goal

I’m disappointed for Gael Clichy.  I had huge hopes for him this World Cup, and really wanted to see him step up on the international level.  Sadly, taking the first two matches from the bench and getting the start today after what surely was an emotional week for everyone, this will be a World Cup Gael will want to forget.  Clichy was active on the left side and closed down nicely some early South African possessions and was always looking to make the overlapping run when France switched to the attack.  Clichy’s nightmare moment came on 37 minutes when he failed to control a cross into the French goal area and the ball was bundled into the net for South Africa’s second goal.  The cross had some zip on it, and the close proximity to the goal might have given some nerves to Clichy, but he really should have been able to deal with it better.  Playing for Arsenal in the toughest European club league and getting massive Champions League experience, one expects better from the Gunners’ left back.  Gael needs to put this experience behind him and return to top form for Arsenal in the upcoming season.

Diaby Puts In Positive Shift On Tough Day

Abou Diaby was once again impressive.  Early doors saw him with a quality ball into the right corner and he was effectively active in his midfield role.  There are times when Diaby seems to really exert his presence on a match and there were some real flashes of that today with galloping runs forward while controlling the ball, tracking back to close down South African possession and good vision with his passing.  As mentioned above, Diaby might have done better to mark Khumalo on the opening goal, but the blame shouldn’t largely be at Diaby’s feet on that one.  While the squad results may not have been great, Abou Diaby gained some valuable experience from this World Cup that he can take forward with Arsenal next season.

Gallas Returns To Arsenal Form

Well, what a difference a few days can make!  I almost thought William Gallas was wearing Red and White again, such was his overall performance today.  Supportive to his back line mates in coverage, moving forward centrally when the opportunity presented and displaying a real willingness to collect the back four as they tried to keep South Africa from battering Hugo Lloris, Gallas looked ever so sharp.

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Football Nomad is in South Africa!  Time to get on over to FN and check out Andy’s on the scene awesomeness.

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Thoughts?

Have your say on Arsenal’s participation in the World Cup by leaving a comment.

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13 Responses to “Arsenal World Cup Match Day 12: French Gunners Book Early Flight Home While Vela’s Mexico Move On”

  1. shambogunner
    June 23, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    I have no sympathy for the french as they robbed my country of a world cup place and showed no humility after, their captain Patrice Evra offering to have a replay over a game of Fifa 2010…aswel as Diarras disrespect in Dublin shows an arrogance that has preceded them.
    They then showed a lack of pride, togetherness and responsibility that have made our fans, and im sure players, even more angry.
    They should be ashamed, when the going got tough they were happy to stroll about because they knew all the criticism would be aimed at the coach. They cheated their way to the greatest footballing event and then didnt have the balls to justify it and fight like a team, finishing bottom of the group,winless with only 1 goal.
    Many of our players will be retired when the next one comes around, and for what?
    And as far as Diaby goes his concentration was poor for the first goal and his touch was shocking for the second, in between he showed his usual flashes of brilliance/ shocking touch and dwelling in possession….still not a fan of him and there wont be clubs rushing to sign him after those three displays.

  2. Larryking
    June 24, 2010 at 4:09 am #

    For my own view i would say let all french team should accept there failure not passing it to there coach.individually france have so many talented players that any country could wish for and there coach played every each of them still they failed.for outburst in there camp cause by one player(anelka)others found it as an excuse to lay there failure on the coach.how can a player will be playing out off manager’s instructions when try to be corrected he turned and abuse his coach calling him(son of whore)he deserve what he got and even more.that just remind me the story behind all his transfers,from arsenal to madrid to liverpool how he killed the star in him with his own hands,that made him appear on a world cup tournament at age of 32 what a shame.

  3. Larryking
    June 24, 2010 at 4:14 am #

    For my own view i would say let all french team should accept there failure not passing it to there coach.individually france have so many talented players that any country could wish for and there coach played every each of them still they failed.for outburst in there camp cause by one player(anelka)others found it as an excuse to lay there failure on the coach.how can a player will be playing out off manager’s instructions when try to be corrected he turned and abuse his coach calling him(son of a whore)he deserve what he got and even more.that just remind me the story behind all his transfers,from arsenal to madrid to liverpool how he killed the star in him with his own hands,that made him appear on a world cup tournament at age of 32 what a shame.

  4. censored
    June 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    worred about Arsenal’s reported pursuit of Mark Schwarzer. We have reportedly increased our bid to £3.5m. Judging from his world cup performance and his age, he’s not even worth an arsenal no. 1 jersey. First was the terrible mistake against us at the Emirates then against Germany, misjudging Lahm’s cross for Klose to head the ball then now its against Serbia, spilling the ball in front of goal for Pantellic to poke a goal in.

  5. Margaret
    June 24, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Now that France are out of the World Cup perhaps the snide cheat cheap comments will stop from the commentators et all. We all know if England had cheated to qualify they would have got a knighthood!!

  6. Mike Urbanski
    June 24, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    @ censored –

    Yeah, we seem not to be seriously linked with any keepers who are positionally top class. Sure, they can all stop a shot, which is important, but so can Almunia & Fabianski stop shots. But both Almunia & Fab are positionally suspect and so are most of the keepers we’re supposedly looking at. I’m all for signing an experienced, caretaker-type keeper who can fill in between the sticks until Wally Cheese is ready. But that keeper has to be better than what we have now, and I don’t think Schwarzer quite fits the bill there.

  7. shambogunner
    June 25, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    @mike and censored,
    Agree with both of you fellas, Schwarzer was a great signing for fulham because he was cheap and had a great season, that doesnt exactly mean he will have the same at Arsenal…..it makes you wonder why we cudnt have paid 5.5m for Given yet we will pay 3.5 for Schwarzer who is getting on a bit….I really dont see the logic behind it, but I can see Wengers thinking simply because hes cheap.

  8. 2010 Wimbledon Live
    June 25, 2010 at 6:59 am #

    Hi and thanks for the excellent info, It was just what I was searching for, and very helpful.

  9. Mama Nomad
    June 25, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    Firstly, Mike, I want to thank you for all the fantastic work you are doing on the Blog while Andrew is away “Nomading”! It is really wonderful 🙂
    Secondly, as an Aussie who knows little about football – other than to have produced 2 complete football tragics – I would love to see Schwarzer in an Arsenal kit and think he has enough quality in him to fill the gap until Wally Cheese!
    Keep up the good work, Mike!

  10. anonymous
    June 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    we hav to replace fabregas that shud be the main focus rite now

  11. Hey Nonny Mouse
    June 25, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    Hail all Gooners! I can’t help feeling France’s early exit reflects badly on the Arsenal. No less than SIX Arsenal or-ex Arsenal players involved: Sagna, Clichy, Gallas, Diarra, Diaby, Henry. AND that’s not including sent-home-in-disgrace Anelka. SEVEN Arsenal faces in total! Many commentators have put France’s pathetic display down to attitude…something we Gooners have looooooong had to suffer with our players. The Great Man himself actually said: “…there is not enough quality in the team.” and almost half the team were our frigging players!
    The upshot is- we seriously need some new defensive players for the upcoming season. Gallas must go. Silly obviously. Campbell, at his age, can only be a back-up. We need at least 2 and probably 3 very very good defenders otherwise we’re Joan Collins. ie. completely fucked. As yet we’ve bought none. OK – World Cup’s on and TGM is commentating for French TV (does he ever take a break??) but when it’s over – let’s splash the cash. Personally I think Dopey (Diaby) should stay in SA and join the natives.

    GK – Schwarzer – better than ‘moonia but to my mind not really quite the full biscuit. I mooted Reina previously (because Benitez has gone) but also – why not David James – for at least a season? He’s better now than he was when he was younger. He’s big, he’s experienced and he’s got presence. Prolly cheap too.

    In the meantime cuurrrrmaaahhhnn Inger-lund!

  12. kiprono
    June 27, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    i feel so sorry for the french team and also the country at large but it also shows that whatsoever happens at arsenal is likely to affect the country team,but why did the coach left some good players like Nasri,benzema and the football federation should not have told coach that is contract will expire after world cup with or without result his contract is over instead they should have motivate him,for arsenal french players cogratulation to sagna and Diaby you apply what profesor wenger call mental strenght.

  13. Mike Urbanski
    June 30, 2010 at 1:11 am #

    Thanks, Mama Nomad! It’s really been a great deal of fun to fill in while Andy’s off on his adventure. And I’m quite honored that he asked me to do so. 🙂

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