World Cup: Group A Matchday Commentary

World Cup: Group A Matchday Commentary

World Cup 2010

World Cup: Group A Matchday Commentary

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MexicoLogo UruguayLogo  FranceLogoSAlogo

By AVI CREDITOR

Group play begins to finish up Tuesday, as two teams seemingly battle for knockout-stage positioning and two duel for survival.

Uruguay and Mexico will square off in a winner-takes-all battle for Group A supremacy at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenberg, South Africa (10 a.m., ESPN/ESPN3.com). Both teams have four points and both have scored three goals, but Uruguay is in the driver's seat with the better goal differential. A draw would put both teams through to the knockout stage, where the second-place team is likely to meet Argentina.

France and South Africa each cling to the thinnest shred of hope, as each team needs a victory by multiple goals and some outside help to advance. They'll meet at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein (10 a.m., ESPN2/ESPN3.com), as South Africa tries to avoid becoming the first host nation to be eliminated in the group stage and as France tries to save some face after an embarrassing couple of weeks.

I'll be providing live commentary on Group A action, with a focus on the Uruguay-Mexico match. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on both matches in the comments section below. Enjoy the games (commentary after the jump).

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POSTGAME – That's all for me for now. Keep checking SBI for more on Group A and the rest of the World Cup. Thanks for following along!

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90th Minute – And there's the final whistle! South Africa turns in a valiant effort by defeating France, 2-1. The hosts have tied Mexico with four points, but El Tri's goal differential is better by three.

South Africa becomes the first host nation to fail to reach the knockout stage, but considering it tied Mexico and beat France, that's a pretty nice accomplishment for a big underdog.

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90th Minute – Free kick coming for South Africa as stoppage time winds down in Bloemfontein.

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90th Minute – There's the final whistle! Uruguay takes first place in Group A with a 1-0 victory over Mexico.

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90th Minute – This corner should do it.

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90th Minute – Three minutes of stoppage time for France-South Africa. Still 2-1 there.

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90th Minute – Three added minutes for El Tri to try and score twice and steal the group. Unlikely.

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89th Minute – Looks like the drama is over as Uruguay and Mexico will most definitely go through to the knockout stage.

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88th Minute – Cavani with a speculative shot from distance and Perez can't catch it cleanly. Out for a corner. Nice effort.

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85th Minute – Castro picks up a yellow for a harsh challenge. Lugano, who's playing very forward, picks up another foul. Things getting chippy as time winds down.

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84th Minute – Deflected Salcido pass gets through to Franco on the doorstep, but he can't react quickly enough. It has not been the greatest of tournaments for Franco.

Luis Suarez comes off for Alvaro Fernandez. His goal is the group-clincher as things stand right now.

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83rd Minute – Lugano whistled for pushing off Franco on a Uruguay corner.

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81st Minute – Everyone but Forlan back defending, as it's officially bunker-in time for Uruguay.

JINX ALERT: Uruguay has yet to concede a goal in the World Cup.

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80th Minute – Uruguay content to defend knowing that Mexico needs two goals in 10 minutes to steal the top spot in the group.

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77th Minute – Yellow card for the Little Green Pea for swinging his arm at Victorino prior to the corner.

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77th Minute – Andres Scotti is on for Alvaro Perreira.

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76th Minute – Dos Santos and Hernandez link up on a great run by Chicharito into the box. Mexico with another corner. 

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73rd Minute – Mexico might not need to score anyway. Florent Malouda's goal cuts into South Africa's lead and goal differential. 2-1 South Africa, which now needs to make up three goals on Mexico.

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72nd Minute – Too many touches and short passes for Mexico in the attacking third. Build-up is getting too complicated.

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72nd Minute – Forlan almost sneaks in on goal but the ball is played too far ahead of him. Uruguay almost with a golden chance out of nowhere.

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70th Minute – Mexico with all the possession, and Marquez moving back has had a calming effect for the Mexican defense.

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69th Minute – Designed play off the set piece doesn't work out and Muslera will boot it deep.

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67th Minute – Dos Santos' pace causes more problems for Uruguay, and Fucile is forced into a foul that earns him a yellow. Free kick from distance for El Tri.

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66th Minute – Mexico putting the pressure on Uruguay now.

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65th Minute – How does Rodriguez miss that header!! Point blank and served up perfectly by Barrera. What a missed opportunity for Mexico to get some insurance.

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64th Minute – Fucile stops what would have been a brilliant through ball to Dos Santos. Would've put him in on goal for the equalizer.

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63rd Minute – Chicharito comes on for Blanco.

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62nd Minute – Salcido with the dive of the tournament.

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60th Minute – Ribery fires high as South Africa still has a chance.

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59th Minute – Nice defending by Osorio to fend off Forlan and save the ball from going out off Mexico deep in its own territory.

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58th Minute – Nervy moments for Mexico. Uruguay spending a ton of time in the Mexi
can half of the pitch.

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57th Minute – Israel Castro on for Hector Moreno. Marquez likely moves back to yield his midfield spot to Castro.

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56th Minute – Perez whiffs on a corner, but Suarez' attempt is well wide.

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55th Minute – Alvaro Pereira couldn't react quickly enough on the rebound, and Mexico is still alive and breathing.

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54th Minute – WHAT A SAVE BY PEREZ! Lugano's header off Forlan's free kick is saved by the diving keeper! WOW what a moment.

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52nd Minute – Dos Santos slips and falls after a nice run in the box. Tough break for Mexico. 

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50th Minute – Cavani with a simple shot from the right after Forlan did so well to individually hold up the ball and wait for the attack to come.

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48th Minute – Dos Santos tries to take on two defenders, and it results in a Uruguay counterattack. Mexico is living dangerously.

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47th Minute – Blanco with a long free kick attempt on frame, but Muslera catches it with confidence. No rebound for Franco.

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46th Minute – Pablo Barrera has come on for Andres Guardado.

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46th Minute – And we're back. 45 more minutes to determine the group.

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HALFTIME – Either way, Aguirre has got to make sure things are more stable in the back. Sliding Marquez back is a decent option. Also, Franco has got to go. He's only harming Mexico's attacking chances. Javier Hernandez seems like the logical choice.

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HALFTIME – What do you think Mexico should do? Play for the win? Bunker down, hope South Africa doesn't score two more and accept a Round-of-16 date with (almost definitely) Argentina?

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HALFTIME – As of this second, Group A looks like this:

1. Uruguay, 7 points, +4 GD
2. Mexico, 4 points, +1 GD
3. South Africa, 4 points, -1 GD
4. France, 1 points, -4 GD, and may god have mercy on their souls

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HALFTIME – South Africa 2, 10-man Team Turmoil 0.

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HALFTIME – 1-0 Uruguay at the half, and Mexico fans worldwide are holding their collective breath.

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45th Minute – Last-gasp corner for Uruguay as the first half ends. If they convert here, the shouts from Bloemfontein will be heard in Rustenberg.

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45th Minute – A DREAM first 45 minutes for South Africa.

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44th Minute – Cavani had the cross, and there's the vulnerability for the Mexico defense, as Suarez was WIDE open for that.

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43rd MinuteGOAL URUGUAY!!! SUAREZ WITH THE HEADER! 1-0 URUGUAY

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43rd Minute – If Mexico catches wind of the South Africa score (which it will), it might want to consider being a bit more conservative in the back. Way to vulnerable to a Uruguay attack right now.

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40th Minute – Pace has slowed for Uruguay-Mexico. South Africa still trails Mexico in goal differential by three. A 2-0 Uruguay win and another South Africa goal would put the hosts through. Still a long way from that scenario unfolding.

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38th Minute – Mphela finishes a chance for South Africa…2-0 Bafana Bafana. There might be some Group A drama after all.

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36th Minute – Diego Perez getting tended to on the sideline after a massive cut opened up on the side of his face. Uruguay down a man for a bit.

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35th Minute – Blanco's got the captain's armband today. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's three captains in three games for Aguirre.

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33rd Minute – Forlan looks itching to get more involved.

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32nd Minute – Miscommunication between Muslera and Victorino, but the keeper does enough to clear the ball from Franco's range.

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30th Minute – Dos Santos had room to work with in the area but his first touch was off and he stumbled to gather himself. Back and forth we go.

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29th Minute – France Disaster update: Gourcuff red card. 1-0 South Africa, which will play a man-up for the rest of the match.

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28th Minute – Wild shot from distance for Cavani when the support was on its way. Not the right decision.

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26th Minute – If the current scores hold up, Uruguay wins the group, Mexico goes through and South Africa takes third.

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23rd Minute – GOAL SOUTH AFRICA! Khumalo heads home a Tshabalala corner to give the hosts a 1-0 lead!

Chances left and right for Mexico and Uruguay. Conspiracy theorists who think there was a pre-arranged draw have zero evidence to back that up.

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22nd Minute – Guardado hits the post from distance!!!

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21st Minute – Alvaro Pereira misses ANOTHER great look for Uruguay off another bad turnover.

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20th Minute – Moreno runs through Fucile on a Mexico corner and Uruguay takes over.

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18th Minute – Clean look on goal for Victorino off Forlan's corner, but the defender heads it wild. Another golden chance not taken for Uruguay.

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15th Minute – Mexico settles down and has some excellent possession, with Franco sneaking behind the backline onside in the area, but the former West Ham striker was a bit too hesitant to do anything with the chance. Paging Chicharito…

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13th Minute – Perez with some confident goalkeeping to punch away the free kick. Perez makes all the plays, but Ochoa gets all the commercials. Life ain't fair.

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12th Minute – Forlan with a steal and draws a foul to earn a free kick from a dangerous spot about 25 or so yards out.

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10th Minute – Cisse gets a header on frame for France, but Josephs makes the easy catch.

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10th Minute – Uruguay clears a Mexico corner.

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9th Minute – Blanco just got shot. Oh wait, no it was just a slight touch to the back of his leg.

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8th Minute – Goalless in both matches. France couldn't convert off an early corner after a South African defensive miscommunication led to the set piece.

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6th Minute – Suarez misses a golden chance!! Moreno flubs a long pass deep in his own end, but Suarez pushed his shot wide left. WOW what a miss for Uruguay.

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5th Minute – Franco's offside on a long pass, but Mexico is clearly seeking the early goal to put the pressure on Uruguay.

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3rd Minute – Uruguay has all the reason to bunker down and play for the tie, Mexico's the team that needs to press a bit more. Free kick coming in El Tri's own end.

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2nd Minute – Both Uruguay and Mexico looking to attack long early. Lets see h
ow this game unfolds.

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1st Minute – And the final day of Group A is underway. Nothing like the final day of group play with so much still on the line.

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PREGAME – Minutes away from game time. Again, Mexico and Uruguay both advance with draws in either match. France and South Africa each need a win and Mexico or Uruguay to lose while making up some serious goal differential.

Goal differentials for the table: Uruguay +3, Mexico +2, France -2, South Africa -3

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PREGAME – Couldn't you picture the French having a "Varsity Blues"-like moment with Domenech? Ribery steps up and says, "The only way we're going out of that tunnel is without you," followed by Henry player-coaching France to a 4-0 win and a spot in the knockout stage? It could be called Varsity Bleus.

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PREGAME – What are your predictions for the matches? How do you think the group table will look two hours from now?

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PREGAME – The most notable changes for the Bafana Bafana are the insertion of Bernard Parker into the starting lineup and Moeneeb Josephs starting at goalkeeper. Itumeleng Khune, the starting keeper, is suspended for receiving a red card against Uruguay.

Look for the attacking line of Tshabalala, Pienaar and Parker to create problems for the French.

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PREGAME – For France-South Africa:

Wow. Wholesale changes for Raymond Domenech's side, including no Nicolas Anelka (we already knew that), no Patrice Evra (not surprising considering his recent outburst, but he was the team's captain), no Thierry Henry (what does Domenech stand to lose by playing him?), no Jeremy Toulalan (card accumulation), no Eric Abidal, Florent Malouda or Sidney Govou.

Alou Diarra is the new captain, Sebastien Squillaci gets his first action of the tournament at centerback and this train wreck of a team likely has a few hours left in the spotlight.

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PREGAME – Lots to take in here. First, for Mexico-Uruguay:

Javier Aguirre has inserted Andres Guardado and Cuauhtemoc Blanco into the starting lineup. Efrain Juarez is ineligible because of card accumulation, and Carlos Vela is injured, but Guardado and Blanco could give El Tri the necessary boost of offense to crack Uruguay's disciplined back line.

With Guardado, Blanco, Giovanni Dos Santos and Guillermo Franco all on the pitch, Mexico is certainly not going for the draw.

The only change in Uruguay's lineup from the last time out is Mauricio Victorino playing centerback for the injured Diego Godin.

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PREGAME – Here are the lineups for the France-South Africa match:

FRANCE

——————Cisse—————–

–Ribery——Gourcuff——Gignac–

———-Diaby——-Diarra———-

–Clichy–Squillaci–Gallas–Sagna–

——————Lloris—————-

SOUTH AFRICA

——————–Mphela——————–

–Tshabalala——–Pienaar——–Parker–

———-Sibaya———–Khuboni———–

–Masilela–Khumalo–Mokoena–Ngcongca–

——————–Josephs——————–

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PREGAME – Here are the lineups for the Mexico-Uruguay match:

MEXICO

——————–Franco——————-

—Guardado—–Blanco—-Dos Santos—

———-Torrado———Marquez——–

–Salcido–Moreno–Rodriguez–Osorio–

——————–Perez——————-

URUGUAY

——————-Suarez——————–

–A. Pereira——–Forlan——–Cavani–

———-Arevalo———-Perez————

–Fucile–Victorino–Lugano–M. Pereira–

——————–Muslera——————-

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