On the other hand, this is a clear victory for negative soccer. I don't blame the Swiss for taking the only route they could to challenge a superior Spanish team; but their uncompromisingly defensive game is still a bad omen in an already ultra-conservative Cup. Here's hoping Marcelo Bielsa's flowing Chileans can unlock the Swiss guards (0 goals in their last 5 World Cup games) when they play next week.
Uruguay's 3-0 drubbing of South Africa though, was unambiguously bad. Not only does it put the hosts virtually out of the tournament, and threaten the livelihood of more interesting sides France and Mexico, the game itself was dull. Three goals will inflate the overall totals (still just 28 in 17 games, 1.64 per game), but they were all pretty junky: a deflected Jabulani wobble from 30 yards out; an ugly box scramble leading to a penalty kick; and a clumsy header against a dispirited defense in garbage time.
The goallessness of it all is starting to become disturbing. And not just to hack American soccer-skeptics like Rick Reilly. (Guess what? He just hates the vuvuzelas. And the ties.) The nerds at TNR's Goal Post throw a few ideas at the wall -- less-interesting qualifying teams, maybe, or maybe a combination of various different annoyances. The Guardian's Spain-Switzerland minute-by-minute reporter was even fielding suggestions on how to make the modern game more friendly to scoring -- bigger goalmouths, fewer players, etc. I don't know if we should give in to such heresy with almost 50 matches still left to be played, but there's no doubt that this Cup has showcased contemporary football at its most dismal.
In happier news, the chotches at Deadspin have been impressively diligent in their coverage of sideline hotness on display in South Africa. After a flock of Dutch babes were exposed by FIFA as ambush-marketers, this review of Real vs. Fake sexiness is worthwhile. As is their feature on the "cell-phone bosomed Paraguay girl" -- clearly the "star of the tournament so far."