World Cup Diary
BATTLE OF THE TOGAS
|GAME 30, GROUP G, JUNE 19, 2006 --DORTMUND LIVE COMMENTARY NOW!
TOGO 0, SWITZERLAND 2
What have I missed? Fair action in the first eight minutes of a game that will decide the fate of Togo for sure, and go a long way to deciding the fate of the Swiss.
9... Togo attacking: nice to see, a good cross into the box, headed out by the attacker.
14... Underdog though they are, Togo aren't the underdogs by much in this match: They're keeping up with a relatively tentative Swiss attack that plans too much and strikes too little. Togo on the other foot just took the ball downfield, a couple of quick laterals at the edge of the box, a shot: right into the keeper's hands. Not much popwer there, but fair execution.
16... GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL SWITZERLAND
BEAUTIFULLY Done: the swess counterattacked quickly after that Togo shot, they took it fast down the far wing, a cross into the near box to an unmarked Swiss there, who one-kicked it back to the middle of the box to a Waiting Alexander Frei, who booted it in for the 1-0 lead. Just like that: three touches, a goal.
18... Togo could have had its equalizer had it not been for an off-side call on Mohammed Kader, who'd made a run on goal by himself. He was off-side by barely a quarter of a stride, if that.
25... Togo has been out of it for the last few minutes, since the Swiss goal; its last attack just now was a drive down the far wing, then a cross into a box to absolutely no one. Not even a Swiss guard. Togo have lost their swagger and stride. But a sign of hope? Another drive into the box, passed to Kader, who evades two defenders to take a shot straight at the keeper. Good challenge.
29... Togo on the attack again, but overshot to the keeper. Still, they regain possession, drive down, shoot: just wide. It was a terrific chance, lost on Togo.
34... Clearly, CLEARLY a penalty-deserving foul by Switzerland on an attacking Emmanuel Adebayor. The Paraguayan referee says nada.
36... Mohammed Kader was fed a ball into the box, took too long to think it over rather than shoot it, Swiss defense bumped it out from beneath him for a counter-attack, and another by Togo.
39... Togo are no underdogs. This game is an even match between two young teams; Togo are hard-driving, Switzerland more deliberate. Great long-distance left-footed rocket by Togo's Mamam, straight on goal, diving save. If anything, Togo are playing better (but for that lull they fell into after the Swiss goal).
45... More fouls than shots in the last few minutes; here come Togo again, but the ball has been stuck in the Swiss half, between the half line and the penalty box, and the ref has just whictled the half-time.
An airborne dogfight, but without bullseyes
Togo, bot too thrilled by the refereeing in this game. They know they have the game's fortune on their boot, but not if the calls keep going against them.
49... Now it's the Swiss who can't build an attack worth the name: Togolese everywhere. Ah, maybe I spoke too soon: a well crafted swerve down the near side that ends with a Barnetta left footer, just above goal.
54... Togo back to sending long-distance crosses with no one at the receiving end. But the Swiss aren't yet attacking.
58... Here's how uneventful the game has become: BBC commentators are up to discussing the weather: "The weather's turned interesting - even if Togo's attack isn't providing much in the way of entertainment. It's sunny, but it's also raining in Dortmund."
61... Salifou takes a long wide shot: the Swiss keep snuffing out whatever the Togolese put together, and now that they're into their last 30 minutes, they're going to combine all the worst aspects of Mittleeuropa football--the clampdown, the time-wasting, the hee-hawing--to reduce this game to clock-watching. Yakin, a Swiss player by citizenship only, just took it to the Togolese keeper with a fabulous shot.
66... A game of tit-for-tat crosses into the box for both teams, consistently rejected. A Togoloese corner kick goes once again begging for a receiver.
73... Where are the Togolese? An attack into the box finds red shirts only: not the way for Togo to be playing what may be its last relevant minutes of its first World Cup.
75... Togo free kick deep in the Swiss half, directly onto a Swiss head for a clear to the Netherlands.
77... Mohammed Kader with another fine attempt snuffed out by the off-side flag. From time to time I have unseemly fantasies of sharp-shooters practicing on line-judges. I yellow-card myself for offensive thoughts.
80... Togo down to its last ten minutes,
86... The result doesn't quite help France: It emboldens South Korea. At this point we have Switzerland with 4 points, Korea with 3: A Korean victory or draw with enough goals would leave France desperate for a huge win against Togo. Oh!
A run from midfield, a cross at the edge of the box to a running Barnetta, a diagonal shot that found the inside of the naer post and careened into the net for the 2-0 lead. That's it for Switzerland-Togo.