Jun 22

World Cup and Omaha Update

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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For me, the summer of 2010 will be remembered by two sporting events: the World Cup and the College World Series. With teams now beginning to be eliminated from both, here is a quick look at who is doing well and who is being sent home. College football season is still 84 days away, but with action like this to hold us over, what's the rush, right?!

At the World Cup in South Africa, there have been some surprises and some non-surprises. Among the non-surprises is that Brazil has already advanced to the knockout stage of the event. The Brazilians have the most World Cup titles ever with five (last in 2002), and won their first two games in this year's version. On Friday they will play Portugal in what should be one of the more entertaining games of this WC. Portugal is one of the better skilled teams I have seen in this year's tournament, but is not certain to get through. Somehow - and I'm not sure how - but Portugal didn't score against Ivory Coast and received a draw. Now, they must earn a point against Brazil and hope CIV doesnt' get more points against Korea. Portugal's 7-0 win over North Korea was awesome. The second half featured six goals in 45 minutes!

Another non-surprise - like Brazil - is Argentina getting through already. The two South American clubs are among the top-5 favorites in South Africa, and seeing them in the next round is like betting on the sun to rise.

Other teams looking strong right now that will almost certainly be in the round of 16 are The Netherlands, Chile, Paraguay, and Ghana. Those four countries look to certainly make it through. Right behind these teams in nearly every group are teams with four points - a win and a tie - and it is still too tough to call.

Among the surprises, a big chunk of Europe is scratching its head as Germany, Spain, France, England and Italy are all still battling to stay alive. Each of these nations are World Cup regulars deep into the later rounds, and each are having difficulty in 2010. Spain beat Honduras yesterday, but is going to have to see what happens to see who goes through between them and the Swiss. Germany will face group leader Ghana to try and gain points, France could be eliminated before you read this against South Africa Tuesday morning, and Italy should advance as it plays lowly Slovakia next.

As for England, they are caught up in the Group C debacle with the USA, Slovenia and Algeria. Goalie Robert Green's error in net is really haunting England now as there is a strong chance the Brits might not advance. His slip-up cost England two points in a tight standings race. There isn't really too much I can put here as the four teams will all play Wednesday morning to decide who goes on through. For the USA, simply win agaisnt Algeria and you advance. But if you watch World Cup soccer at all (or international soccer in general), you know that is easier said than done - especially with these referees!

TODAY: France vs South Africa - 9:30 AM - ESPN2

              Mexico vs Uruguay - 10:00 - ESPN

              Greece vs Argentina - 2:30 - ESPN

              Nigeria vs South Korea - 2:30 - ESPN2


On to Omaha and the College World Series...

Well, if you thought I would lead this off with anything other than Clemson knocking off the number one team in the land, Arizona State, you were sorely mistaken! Casey Harman threw six strong innings, Alex Frederick came in and saved it in the final three innings, the Tiger bats got to work, and Clemson is now in the winner's bracket game in Omaha. Tonight they will face Oklahoma, who defeated South Carolina Sunday night. The Gamecocks and Sun Devils will play at 4:30 today to see who gets to stick around...

In the other bracket, Florida got sent home quickly as they were defeated by hated rival Florida State. The Seminoles got a scare in the end as Florida rallied in the ninth, but in the end, the Gators season now comes to a close. Florida State will now play TCU Wednesday night in another elimination game. UCLA is in charge of this bracket at 2-0 after defeating TCU 6-3 late Monday night. The pitching of the Bruins is and will be a factor as they have three guns that can mow down anyone. They are the favorite right this second.

As much as I love all of the tributes that folks are making to Rosenblatt, it gets old. The whole idea of a new stadium just seems so odd, yet it is so inevtiable. I know 20 years from now when we are all accustomed to seeing the new park we won't be so attached to Rosenblatt, but right now that seems hard. As EVERYONE has said, Rosenblatt just has that "it" that nobody can explain. It has tradition, and it has a feel of fun. It is a very colorful place that always sees happy people in the stands (unless their team of course just lost a heartbreaker). So as I see these camera shots of a memory filled park that is as wide open as the landscape it sits in, I just wonder why it has to go. It did nothing wrong, yet its reward will be demolition. I guess I should just sit back and enjoy the final games to be played there...

TODAY: Arizona State vs South Carolina - 4:30 - ESPN2

TONITE: Clemson vs Oklahoma - 9:00- ESPN2

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