Friday, June 18, 2010

Ghana Black Stars

If my time in Ghana teaches me nothing about maternal mortality, I will at least have left with a better understanding and much greater appreciation for soccer/football. Thank you Bryant for the best quick soccer synopsis (posted as a comment). I've officially caught World Cup Fever and can't wait to join all of Ghana tomorrow to cheer them on in game 2 against Australia.

So, what's it like watching the World Cup in Ghana? From my research project's perspective, the World Cup is a significant enough distraction that I have to plan my assessment and interviews around it. There are usually three games a day and the first game starts at 11:30AM, so I have to try to talk to the right people before 11:30AM. Or I'll have to compete with the buzzing sound of the vuvuzelas. My interviewees' eyes will literally drift towards the TV while I'm talking to them!

Though if Ghana is playing...the entire country is sitting in front of a TV. Erika and I made the mistake of trying to visit the National Cultural Center during the Ghana game last Saturday. It was "open" but all of the employees were occupied watching the game. Even the streets were deserted! We will not make that mistake this week. At 2PM tomorrow, we will sit in the medical school lounge and watch the Ghana game. Now, we just need to run out and get some Ghana Black Stars flare!

US Team Update: We tied with Slovenia...even though we should have won! That last ref call was totally wrong! He should walk home with a bodyguard tonight...

1 comment:

  1. Bryant Chen - There are a certain number of teams from each region that qualify (32 teams total). There is some kind of seeding done and then they are drawn randomly to create groups of 4. Each team plays every other team in their group. 3 points are given for wins, 1 point for ties, 0 points for losses. The 2 teams with the most points in each group advance to the knockout stages. If there is a tie in points, placement is decided by goal difference. During the knock out stage, if you lose you're out. That's basically how the tournament works.

    Brazil and Spain are the favorites this year. I think the Netherlands look really really good in attack, but will lose to Brazil because they're defense isn't as strong. Italy is always a contender, but they play very defensively and IMO are boring to watch. England have not done well in recent history but have the best shot they've had in a long, long time. They've done very well in qualifying. People attribute their success to the new manager (Fabio Capello). Argentina have a ridiculously talented attack (including the best player in the world, Lionel Messi), but their manager, Maradona, is f'ed up in the head, so I'm not sure how well they will do. Maradona is arguably the best player that ever lived, but he has almost no coaching credentials. Also, he has done some really crazy things--could be the Lindsay Lohan of the soccer world. Who else? France has talent, but their coach is horrible and they've pretty much sucked since making it to the WC finals in 2006. They recently lost to China in a friendly, and China blows (never qualified for WC as far as I know). Portugal is seeded 3 by Fifa, but I don't think theyll make it past the round of 16. They do have Cristiano Ronaldo, who is ridiculously good (also a huge douche bag). Germany is also a consistently good team.

    As for our home country of the USA, I think they have the best shot that they've ever had. The squad has gotten stronger and stronger. We do have some injury issues (Onyewu just coming back from a long layoff, Bocanegra recently had surgery, and Davies hasn't recovered from a car accident almost a year ago), but we have the potential surprise everyone and make it pretty far. Last year we beat Spain to made it to the finals of the Confederations Cup (not a very important tournament, but still... we ended a seriously long undefeated streak for Spain) and almost beat Brazil (were 2-0 up at halftime) in the finals. USA plays England on Saturday. I think it'll be a really good game to watch.

    Bryant Chen - Hope you're having an awesome time in Ghana. I think Essien is from Ghana, but he's injured for the World Cup. Essien is a really solid player. The best African team is probably the Ivory Coast. However, their best player, who is ridiculously good, messed up his arm or something and it's hard to say how much he will be able to play. They still have some other really good players like Kalou, Eboue, and the Toure brothers. Their group is really tough, though, and it's hard to say whether they'll make it to the knock out rounds if Drogba can't play.

    Bryant Chen - Also, David Beckham plays for the LA Galaxy, but he is English and not American, so he cannot play for the USA. He would probably be in the England squad (not as a starter) except he's injured. As far as England goes, I'm sad they didn't include Theo Walcott. He plays for Arsenal, and I like him . Nasri (also plays for Arsenal) not being included in France's squad is just ridiculous. Some other surprising exclusions: Benzema (France), Ronaldinho (Brazil), Pato (Brazil).

    OK I'm done spewing random soccer knowledge. I'm obviously way too obsessed with this sport.