Slovenia 1-0 Algeria
Slovenia Hall in south Etobicoke--for donuts. Inside the church/cultural centre hall you'll find the game blasting with big-screen projector, a pumped up crowd decked out in green-and-yellow jerseys, plus all the Slovenian donuts you can handle and more.
After a scoreless half, the TV feed in the hall cuts away from soccer-jock commentary to some advertisements promoting Slovenian culture in Toronto. Fun facts:
- The Toronto Slovenian Youth Organization is 49 years youthful.
- Slovenian folk dancing requires much dedication, but dancers get to wear rose-covered hats!
- My wife, who's awake early to travel and watch with me, takes exception to my idea that we raise our future children to be Slovenian.
Anyhow, the game: Algeria substitute Ghezzal (who along with several Slovenia players named 'Z'latko indulges my love of 'Z') rushes on field and immediately draws two yellow cards and so is sent off with a red, handicapping his side who had been playing elegantly. Slovenia capitalizes as Robert Koren deposits a tally following a series of slick passes. Slovenia Hall erupts into cheers that last a good ten minutes; it's thrilling to watch a match among the winning side finally!
Ghana 1-0 Serbia
After Slovenia we head to Fox and Fiddle on Dundas West in Etobicoke's Islington Village to meet friends for breakfast and Ghana-Serbia. F&F is neither Ghanaian nor Serbian territory, so not much to report blogwise, although the number of widescreens make this a good viewing spot for casual fans. As an aside, I'm glad Croatia's not in this tournament as I can't keep all the Balkan nations and their blue-white-and-red flags straight.
The game: Ghana beats Serbia 1-0. The hero is Asamoah Gyan, whose penalty after an inexplicably moronic hand-ball by defender Zdravko Kuzmanovic in the goal zone qualifies the poor Serbian as Cup Goat thus far--more goatlike even than that English goalkeeper. I hope to cheer with the West Africans at Mamma Pee's for Ghana's next match.