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Winners and Losers Day 3: Attack of the Red Cards

June 13, 2010

3 days into the tournament and there have already been 4 red cards. Way to go guys, keep up the good work. But at least Germany gave us a show, even if the other two games mostly put us to sleep. So here are your winners and losers for Day 3.

Winners:

Referees– They have so far managed to get every important decision right this World Cup. First with Khune playing Vela offside, and now with the Kuzmanovic handball. They may be a little card happy with the yellows, but they are being consistent and getting the major decisions right.

Slovenia– Raise you hand if you thought Slovenia would at any point be on top of Group C. Didn’t think so. They still have two games left, against England and America, but they are in the driver’s seat after their first match.

Robert Koren– The man without a club managed to take hold of the situation and put himself in the shop window. He scored an excellent winner for Slovenia, and maybe drew some attention from managers.

German forwards– It was a free for all today against Australia, and the German forwards put on an excellent display. Both Klose and Podolski managed to shake off the poor form they have displayed all season and score a goal each, with Thomas Muller getting in on the act as well as Klose’s replacement Cacau. Certainly no one will be short of confidence after today’s display.

Germany’s Opening Day Record– They have held the opposition scoreless and won their opening game since 1994, and in the previous two World Cups scored 4 and 8 goals. Needless to say, this was hardly unexpected if you looked at the statistics. It seems Australia overlooked them when preparing.

Martin Tyler and Ally McCoist– Certainly the most entertaining commentary team ESPN has put together. They are both insightful and entertaining, with a vast array of amusing quotes coming from the both of them. I hope they get the chance to do commentary for as many games as possible.

Ruud Gullit and Roberto Martinez– The in studio version of Tyler and McCoist, Gullit and Martinez are both extremely knowledgeable ex-players and ex-coaches. They lend an intelligence and dignity to the proceedings, but maybe that is just because I can’t always understand what they are saying. I’m sure Alexi Lalas would be great if I didn’t hear half the things that came out of his mouth.

Losers:

Abdelkader Ghezzal– Clearly in a personal competition with Uruguay’s Nicolas Lodiero to see who can be sent off the fastest. Coming on as a sub in the second half, he was sent off 15 minutes later for his second bookable offense. Not that you can blame him for trying the handball trick, I mean it worked for Maradona and Henry.

Zdravko Kuzmanovic– Clearly doesn’t understand that handballs only work for you when you are in the opposing team’s box, not your own. He almost did a convincing job of acting like he didn’t do it, but not a good enough job to convince the ref. Sadly, Kuzmanovic was likely more at fault for the loss than Lukovic, who was sent off.

Aleksandar Lukovic – The second red card of the day. Once again, he was sent off for two bookable offenses, but at least he had started the match. Although, in his defense, they played much better after he was sent off.

Mesut Ozil– Yes, he played very, very well. But that dive at the beginning of the game was horrendous. You know its a bad dive when they get booked for simulation, and Ozil definitely deserved the card. It was stupid, cheap, and an insult to the game.

Tim Cahill– Rounding out the day with a third red card, Cahill had the second fewest touches of any Australian player. But really he is a loser today because he didn’t deserve a red card. The tackle was late, but it was a yellow card at best. More than that, the ban will likely end his World Cup, a sad fate for a hard working player.

Pim Verbeek– Today, he realized that being Guus Hiddink’s assistant didn’t make you Guus Hiddink. He seems like a nice enough guy, if a little dour, and you have to feel a little sorry for him. He has followed Guus Hiddink as an assistant coach, and now took over the team he led so admirably in the last World Cup only to watch it be dismantled. Better luck in you next job, at a club that is bottom of the Dutch 2nd tier.

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