Confederations Cup Matchday 1: The Ellis Park Dull and Spain Proves Nothing

14 June 2009

The 2009 Confederations Cup got underway today with two results that I pretty much expected. South Africa and Iraq put us to sleep while Spain and New Zealand was train wreck TV; done and dusted inside of six minutes.

Ellis Park was a buzz as host nation South Africa took the park to host Iraq. Great crowd, great atmosphere, pathetic football. Joel Santana has asked the South African press to judge this side based on results in this tournament. Based on play today, I think the media may have the swords out to have their fun. While this isn't Rugby or Cricket, the two primary sports in South Africa, everyone in the nation wanted a respectable showing. Today wasn't such a performance.

Iraq can claim a moral victory in this one. Bora Milutinovic had a set game plan and stuck to it. Their back line and midfield stayed tight and compact, which is where the compliments end for Iraq. Their attack was only slightly better than the attack New Zealand had in game two. Khune wasn't even tested in ninety minutes between the pipes. Despite obvious fatigue late in the match, Iraq can consider themselves grateful for the major mistake Parker made in gifting them the point. It was a tragic wrong place at the wrong time.

If you expect me to be serious about Spain's 5-0 lambs to the slaughtering of New Zealand, I'm sorry I just can't do it. Had Spain taken this game seriously from minute one, we would have seen one of those classic Australia v Solomon Island scorelines. The fact remains there was a reason Australia bailed as fast as they could out of Oceania once they could qualify for world cups, not having to be stuck with the most embarrassing rag tag of footballing misfits. The only thing surprising to me was it took Torres 17 minutes to secure his hat trick.

So when it's all said and done in matchday one, the best way to describe it was a day that went right by the book. Hopefully for all of our sakes, this tourney isn't by the book from start to finish.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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