France v Uruguay

France at the moment is like a big, grumpy family piling into the minivan for a big road trip to Disneyland with Domenach as the uptight dad, reviled by his brood but  all stuck together in tight quarters for the duration. I’ve been in that car as both the scowling teen and the miscreant dad (“No, you can’t get a milkshake with that. You’ve already got a side of onion rings.”). It’s no fun and you’ve really got to work hard to find that happy medium so you don’t end up parking the car on the I5 south of Stockton and all walking away into the desert in different directions.

Will they get to Disneyland (the Final) or will the wheels fall off (figuratively for France, more literally for myself when we got a flat tire entering Oregon)? They seem more likely to out-Dutch the Netherlands in the self-destruction department at the moment. Already there’s talk of open defiance towards Domenach and in-fighting amongst the players. We’ll find out soon. With South Africa looking much better than expected against Mexico earlier today, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any easy victories in this group.

Prediction-wise, France on paper is vastly superior but Uruguay’s strengths (Diego Forlan and Ajax striker Suarez up front) match up nicely with France’s weakness (central defenders).

I’ll go with a 2-2 draw.

(Excellent coincidence…International Language of Screaming by Super Furry Animals just came on as I write this. How apropos.)

1st Half:

Wow. No Malouda and Evra captains the team. Apparently Malouda had to be restrained by Gallas when he found out he wasn’t starting. How do you not start Malouda especially when you’re playing with Anelka on his own up front?

Zzzzzz. That was poor. If it stays like this we’ll need to hope Malouda goes after Domenach haymaker-style because that’ll be the only excitement.

2nd Half:

That really struggled to hold my attention. Ended up paying almost as much attention to Dana White’s ‘hide and tweet’ UFC thing on Twitter.

As it went on it became apparent that Uruguay were going to settle for the draw but France showed all the cohesion of six ADD kids in a rowboat. Poor service into the box. No one looked too happy and the French are generally good at conveying their unhappiness. Cue le Sulk looking less and less interested until he was eventually dropped for Henry.

The result bodes well for Uruguay. The performances by both teams bodes well for South Africa and Mexico.

Soft yellow card count: Three (Ribery, Evra, Lodeiro). The Japanese ref painted himself into a corner by giving what appeared to be a very marginal yellow to Ledeiro for throwing the ball back a few yards when it was a French free kick. It led to him having to eject the Uruguayan sub only 17 minutes after he’d come on when he was way late on a challenge on Sagna. Otherwise, it would’ve been his first yellow, both teams would’ve finished with eleven and Lodeiro might not be facing the prospect of a World Cup that lasted about as long as Jason de Vos and John Collins explanation of offside in the pre-game show.

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