Soccer News of Thursday, 28 October 2010
AS UZBEKISTAN LIFT WORLD CUP
By Theodore K. Viwotor, a.k.a. Solomon Davids, Argentina
At long last the 30th World Amputee Football Cup has come to an end with Ghana placing a respectable 6th position and setting the record as the first African country to ever reach the quarter finals stage of the competition.
In the final match played on Sunday at Crespo, about an 8 hour drive from the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, Uzbekistan, the defending champions, beat their Argentine counterparts by 3-1 to lift the coveted cup.
The match, play at the packed-to-capacity stadium of Crespo, climaxed the week-long energy-sapping tournament that brought together the 16 best teams from across the world. The Argentines could not match the speed, skills and tactical play of the Uzbekistan team which silenced the crowd with two goals in the second half, before the Argentines pulled one back.
Just when the Argentines were trying to get the equalizer to push the game into extra time, the Uzbekistan team came back strongly to score the last goal of the match to put the Argentines’ hopes of host-and-win to permanent sleep.
On Saturday, Ghana on the other hand, lost 2-0 to Brazil in their final match to determine who places 5th in the competition. The Brazilians exhibited good soccer to tame the resilient and equally skillful Ghanaians who were the toast of the fans at the Cerrito Sports stadium.
The disappointed fans, however, expressed their delight at the beautiful Ghanaian soccer showcased by the Black Challenged team with a standing ovation when the players marched to the dressing room at the end of the game.
Playing in the national colours, the Black Challenged took the game to the half of the Brazilians but failed on several occasions to utilize the chances that came their way due to good defensive work by the Brazilians. However, a defensive blunder on the part of Joseph Amoh, caused the team the first goal of the match in the first half.
As the second half went on, the Ghanaians continued to probe for goals but met a resistant Brazilian defense that soaked the pressure and counter-attacked. The game was a ding-dong affair until the Brazilians sealed victory with a late goal, becoming the 5th placed team in the world.
Earlier on Friday, Ghana beat Ukraine 2-1, but failed to qualify to the semi finals because Argentina lost by 3-1 to Turkey. The quarter finals were played in group form, with Ghana, Argentina, Ukraine and Turkey in one group and Russia, Uzbekistan, Brazil and England in another group. Collins Gyamfi, a.k.a. Ember, scored Ghana’s two goals with support from Richard Ekwam.
Argentina and Turkey qualified from group 1 and Russia and Uzbekistan were the best two from group 2. Russia lost to Argentina in the penalty shoot-outs after a goalless draw, whilst Uzbekistan beat Turkey by a lone goal.
In the third place match, Turkey beat Russia by a lone goal, which came as a result of a penalty caused by the Russian goalkeeper, who received a yellow card as well for an off-the-ball tackle. Unhappy with the referee’s decision, the goalie uttered some unpalatable words at the referee, forcing the latter to issue him with the red card. This infuriated the goalkeeper and before one could intervene, he had thrown some blows at the referee. The referee’s son, who is always with him at the stadium whenever he is officiating, came to his father’s rescue with some kicks at the keeper; it took the intervention of the police to calm down tempers and bring sanity to the stadium.
With the exception of that incident, the final day of the tournament was excellent and Uzbekistan took the trophy home as the new World Champions. Argentina placed 2nd, Turkey 3rd and Russia 4th. Brazil were 5th, followed by Ghana at the 6th position; England beat Ukraine 2-0 to place 7th and Ukraine became the 8th best team in the world. Japan would host the next World Cup tournament in 2012.
Below are the results on Ghana’s group.
Turkey 3 Liberia 0
Ghana 0 El Salvador 1-
Ghana 1 Turkey 1
El Salvador o Liberia 0
Ghana 2 Liberia 0
Turkey 3 El Salvador 1
Quarter finals group
Ghana 0 Argentina 5
Turkey 0 Ukraine 0
Argentina 1 Ukraine 0 (Match ended abruptly when Ukraine refused to continue after 2 red cards to each side)
Argentina 1 Turkey 3
Ghana 1 Turkey 1
Ghana 2 Ukraine 1
5th position match
Ghana 0 Brazil 2