Saturday, July 3, 2010

Uruguay/Ghana musings

My dad, after the US lost to Ghana, adopted Ghana as his team, along with the rest of Africa. He believed that Ghana's advancement to the final would vindicate yet another poor showing from the United States.

I, personally, didn't really care much about the result of the game, but was kinda hoping that a Ghana loss would mean fewer vuvuzelas through the rest of the Cup.

As a former defender, I can confidently state that Suarez's handball at the goal line with no time remaining was a brilliant, gutsy play. I have had the opportunity to stop a sure goal with my hands to save my team, and I tried. I missed the ball by inches, my team was eliminated from the tournament, and I still regret not being able to get a hand on the ball before it crossed the goal line. To say that Suarez was wrong in saving a sure goal by breaking the fundamental rule of soccer is a foolish argument. There is a time and place for sportsmanship, but the final shot of an elimination game in the world's grandest tournament is not the time to surrender a stoppable goal.

Much as with basketball and free throws, missing penalty kicks is a cardinal sin. Gyan's miss on the subsequent penalty shot with zero time remaining, and Ghana's later pair of misses during the shootout are the equivalent of the Lakers missing 6 consecutive free throws in a tie, overtime game. It's unacceptable, and although Ghana certainly deserved to win the game, execution is the only critical part of soccer, and Ghana was simply unable to execute properly.

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