Monday, June 19, 2006

With a win over the Swiss today, Togo can take the lead in Group G. Two weeks ago, you would have called me crazy, but today it is true. Since France drew twice, and Korea tops the group with only three points, all possibilities are open.
"Neither Swiss nor Togo can be eliminated, they fight for points," says the commentator.
The Royals of Togo are watching while Togo is the first to test their opponents’ keeper. A test, from to close, proves too easy.
Swiss struggles to keep the ball for more then two passes. Their dream fueled, a striker of Togo comes eye to eye with the Swiss keeper. He lifts his right foot as if he is going to make a small step, suddenly he turns one hundred and eight degrees. All the defenders are fooled, remains only to fool the keeper. But, the Swiss keeper steps forward, narrowing the target-window and the striker of Togo fires the ball into the crunch of the Swiss keeper.
Not too spectacular. The same I can say about the first Swiss strike on the goal of Togo, when a striker of Togo heads a cross in the hands of the keeper of Togo, as if he was his teammate. Not too spectacular.
Minutes later, a striker of Togo puts more oomph in a diving header, but less direction. The ball goes meters wide.
Possession of the ball bounces between nations. Swiss seems to outnumber the players of Togo. Not only when they defend, but also when they attack. I think Togo needs to rethink their formation, and they will do just fine.
Moments later again, the Swiss profit from the space they are given. A Swiss striker stretches his right leg. With one touch, he rolls the ball back in the face of the goal. Another teammate stretches his right leg for a touch on the ball. It shoots to the right of the keeper, into the back of the net.


Togo regroups quickly. The Royals in the stand might be a great motivator.

They seem to close in on an equalizer.
Then, A Swiss defender tackles a striker of Togo in the penalty box. However, the referee denies Togo the penalty.
"That is a huge mistake," says the commentator.

People in Togo will be playing the footage back for years.
In the start of the second half, Swiss gives Togo more space. Still I see no spectacle.
The commentator suggests an orange card, to solve the problem of the many yellow cards.
Think about it.
The game, like all the games so far, heats up in the end phase. Both nations fight for possession, and organize shots on target.
A striker of Swiss, from twenty-five meters, brushes the ball of a defender.
The ball catches the inside of the left post.


Swiss holds on to the lead, while Togo fights until the end. In front of the eyes of their Royals,
the dream of Togo has faded.
"Togo is eliminated," says the commentator, correcting the mistake he made before the match.