Offsides’ the Game

Good morning! Hope everyone is well on this beautiful Friday morning (at least, it is absolutely gorgeous here; over in Natal, Brazil, not so much, which makes the soccer even more brilliant). Only a few things can keep me inside on such a perfect day, and a triple header on the second day of the World Cup does exactly that. The first match I am covering today is Mexico versus Cameroon. Later this afternoon, we will have Spain and the Netherlands and then rounding out the night, Chile against Australia. Personally, since I am not too invested in any of these teams, I wouldn’t mind some upsets coming today (and albeit I love me some Spanish soccer, if the Netherlands managed to win today, that would be something else ((though I will prolly cheer for Spain, lets be honest))). Excited for some quality soccer today, so lets get started!

Match Two: Group A, Mexico and Cameroon, 6.13.14

3rd minute — Good cross by Aguilar (22) Mexico, yet into the side of the net; goal kick; this rain is awesome. Rain is definitely going to play a factor in this match.

7th minute — Offsides call on  Peralta (19); good idea; Mexico has dominated possession and tempo to start this match. I may have misremembered, but I don’t remember many (or any) offsides calls in yesterday’s Brazil and Croatia match. That is definitely not the case in this one.

10th minute — Awesome play, awesome goal…but offside. As the commentators say and I agree, wrongfully disallowed. He was even with the defenders. Well played ball and fine shot. Still nil-nil. Unlucky for Mexico, especially because it was such a well set up play and well executed shot. But the woes for Mexico are far from over.

13th minute — Another offside against Mexico, taking away from the possible foul that would have favored a free kick for the Mexican side. Will this be the thorn in Mexico’s side? We will see. (Psst: it is a huge thorn; a two-disallowed-goals-and-still-tied-scoreless-at-half type of thorn).

15th minute — Corner for Cameroon, first corner of the match. Ball initially cleared out of the box, but after being put back in, offside call on the Cameroon side. No score.

17th minute — Another opportunity for Cameroon, resulting in a corner. Header (more of a shoulder, really) out of bounds. Goal kick. 

20th minute — Very good run by Assou Ekotto (2) Cameroon, solid shot from Eto’o (9) off of the post. Is Mexico feeling a bit nervous here? Cameroon is definitely getting more looks than I was expecting here, especially with the dominance of possession on the Mexican side.

22nd minute — Corner Cameroon; crazy mess in the box but Mexico stays safe. But if Cameroon keeps this up, they will score. Can their defense hold long enough for them to do so, and completely take over the tempo of the match? Well, it has held long enough to remain scoreless in the half (with quite a bit of help from the referees). But I want to see them capitalize.

26th minute — Tackle by Cameroon results in Mexico free kick, soaring to the heads at the far post, but just over them. Cameroon goal kick.

27th minute — Offside again, this time against Cameroon. I’m sensing a trend here. 

29th minute — Mexican corner, goal by Dos Santos (10) yet ANOTHER offside call and another goal taken away. How crazy is this? Two disallowed goals for Mexico. Cameroon, you must capitalize on this crazy blessing! Taylor Twellman, one of the announcers for ESPN, is definitely upset by the offsides calls here. This one really blew my mind. To have one disallowed goal because of an offsides call, I mean, that sucks. But to have two, both I think fair goals? Mexico is not catching any breaks here. But on the other side, Cameroon is catching some major breaks here. Yet later in the match, I comment on the fact that they make a great defensive play, make a run, yet the run is ended after none of the other players continue the run. They are playing with a laid-back feeling that I saw Brazil play with yesterday. If Cameroon wants any chance to win this match, they need to play more aggressively and more offensively, especially because I believe, if Mexico continues to play as they have, they will score again (we just have to wait for the referees to allow one).

34th minute — Whistle from the stands continues to try and pester the players; almost succeeds.

38th minute — Cameroon makes a nice run halfway up the field after taking the ball away from Mexico, but is forced to stop when no one else makes the run with him. How irritating; makes it seem like Cameroon isn’t fully in it (discussed above). Gotta capitalize on the crazy calls from the referees side. With the way their offense is playing, they need all the help they can get.

39th minute — No yellow card given to Cameroon after a hard elbow in the face against Mexico. Interesting no call. Interesting particularly based off the yellow Neymar got for Brazil early in the match yesterday, which I felt was much more unintentional compared to this elbow.

42nd minute — Official heads over to talk with Mexican coach, telling him to simmer down. Always fun to see.

44th minute — Mexican corner; cleared out by Cameroon, regained by Mexico, cross and header, labeled offsides (well called off). A good offsides call and prolly the dozenth one. Geez-o-pete.

Two minutes of stoppage time added to end of first half. 

46th minute — Poor shot from Enoh (18). Looks like he just wanted to shot the ball, without any accuracy or precision. More of a frustration shot or a shot-just-to-take-a-shot than anything else.

End of half: 0-0

Half time subs: Cameroon, Nounkeu (5) coming on for Djeugoue (4).

47th minute — What a flick shot from Peralta, but even better save by Cameroon’s keeper, Itanjde!

49th minute — Hard tackle against Dos Santos; announcers believe it is worthy of a yellow; I disagree. No call. Not going to go too in-depth on this, but I think it was a clean tackle. The player slid, going after ball, and Dos Santos happened to get into the way. Should he have kept his cleans down? Yes, he should have. But based off of this referee’s performance throughout the rest of the match, I would disagree had a yellow been given here.

56th minute — First yellow issued against Moreno (15), setting up a a good set piece for Cameroon. Shot from Assou Ekotto, just outside the left after getting deflected by the Mexican wall. Corner. Luckily cleared by Mexico.

60th minute — GOAL by Peralta, following the shot of his teammate. And this goal, ladies and gents, is ALLOWED! 1-0 Mexico! I almost felt like it wasn’t going to happen, but finally, a solid, clean, *onsides* goal by Mexico to put them up 1-nil.

Sub for Mexico, Guardado (18) coming off for Fabian (8). 

72nd minute — Hernandez (14) coming on (finally) for Peralta. Is a little less than twenty minutes enough time for him to make any impact? He played hard, granted, and I think putting him in when they did gave Mexico a good pick-me-up as far as tempo and speed for the team goes. Interested to see his impact and what role he will play in the rest of the tournament.

76th minute — Yellow on Nounkeu (5) for Cameroon, giving Mexico a free kick right outside the box. Wasted opportunity for Mexico.

79th minute — Etn’o’s shot goes wide, but is deflected. Corner opportunity for Cameroon. Nothing, goal kick. 

81st minute — GREAT defense by Nounkeu, forcing the throw in instead of the one-on-one shot opportunity for Hernandez. Another one of my pet peeves is not staying square as a defender with the ball. Nounkeu, I applaude you. Well done here!

84th minute — Good opportunities for Cameroon, but just could not capitalize on them. Time is running out for the men in yellow.

86th minute — Don’t take the extra pass, TAKE THE SHOT, Cameroon! (Also, in the 87th minute, don’t aim for the back post if no one is going to make that run, or even prior, if no one is there). Ohhh, I just wanted them to take the shot here down at the right post. It was him and the keeper! Instead, sending it across into traffic amongst both Cameroon and Mexican players…you don’t have time for such antics. Gotta take the shot when you can.

Four minutes of stoppage time added.

89th minute — Moukandjo (8) Cameroon header blocked by the Mexican keeper, Ochoa. That was your chance, Cameroon! Cameroon really put the pressure on during the last ten minutes or so (definitely during stoppage time). I think it was a very commendable effort! Alas, time just ran out for them. I wanted to see this kind of effort throughout the entire second half. Had that happened, I think the result would have been different after the final whistle, and Cameroon might have liked it a bit better.

90th minute — Sub for Mexico Herrera (6) coming out for Salcido (3). 

92nd minute — Hernandez clear chance to put the game away, but hits it too hard off the knee. 

Final, Mexico wins, 1-0 over Cameroon. 

Not a bad match, to say the least! Definitely continuing the streak of controversy with the plethora of offside calls given by the referees (including the two pivotal ones that disallowed two clean goals for the Mexican side). But, Mexico was able to prevail! And now, it is on to the next match, as Spain takes on the Netherlands!





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