World Cup: Germany and Ghana Buzz the U.S. team

Ghana's Asamoah Gyan celebrates after scoring during the World Cup group D soccer match between Serbia and Ghana at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Sunday, June 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno) Luca Bruno

Ghana's Asamoah Gyan celebrates after scoring Ghana's winning goal against Serbia.
Luca Bruno

The important question first: are you watching on mute?

There have been many complaints about the vuvuzelas, the trumpets that make like hornets and have you believe you have a plague in your living room. Especially if you're watching in surround-sound.

FIFA, football's governing body, is now considering disallowing their presence.

However, the noise seems to have also got to the ears of the Serbian team, defeated 1-0 Sunday as much by their own negative view of life as by the Ghanaians.

The Serbs complained that they couldn't hear their own fans because of the overly vuvuzealous blowhards in the stands. 

Serbian fans don't always tend to be among the most charming, so the drowning of their voices might have been something of a positive, given that Serbia rarely offered too much in the way of melody.

Ghana, on the other hand, often whistled like the wind, with Prince Tagoe and Daniel Gyan threatening both with power and pace. Though the Ghanaians only won by a penalty, they were clearly the more positive, the more forceful and the more enterprising.

This might have made American mouths hum once or twice, as, should the U.S. qualify from its own Group C, it will have to very probably face either Ghana or Germany.

Germany's encounter with Australia promised to be little more than a tune-up. Yet an early goal from Lukas Podolski allowed the Germans to orchestrate its own version of the power game.

Watching the Germans it was hard to imagine that there was one who couldn't play shooting guard or even small forward for, at the very least, the Golden State Warriors in the NBA.

This is a young team, each of whom seems to have bought a Bowflex at a very early age.

But the most important aspect, if Germany continues to play this way, was that coach Joachim Low has added something not seen from Germany in a long time, and barely seen so far in this World Cup: joyous flair.

Germany's Cacau celebrates after scoring during the World Cup group D soccer match between Germany and Australia
Gero Breloer

In Mesut Ozil, a 21-year-old of Turkish heritage, Germany demonstrated that it recognized the need for a soloist.

While so many teams, even Brazil's, have been constructed to resemble a chorus of worker bees, buzzing around, denying space and generally having as their first priority the need to be a nuisance for the opposition, Ozil's deft imagination raised hopes and spirits.

The U.S. didn't have to face that kind of player against England. Should the team reach the last 16, Ozil might be someone deserving of especially close surveillance.

While the Australians were not exactly the most testing of adversaries-- and the red-carding of Australia's Tim Cahill by Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez was especially harsh--Germany brought something new and slightly daring to its 4-0 win.

This could not be said of the U.S's next opponent, Slovenia. Both slow and slightly venal, one of the Balkans' two representatives offered little of quality and much of banality.

Slovenia won 1-0 with a goal donated by Faouzi Chaouchi, the Algerian goalkeeper.

While not quite as Saturday Night Live as the mistake made by England goalkeeper Robert Green against the U.S., Chaouchi seemed to believe that instead of putting his body behind a shot from Slovenia's Robert Koren in order to prevent its progress, he should simply fling itself in its general direction while whistling at it.

On the basis of what was performed on Sunday, America might have more to fear from its slightly more distant future than from the next two games against Algeria and Slovenia.

Let the buzz begin.


Chris Matyszczyk is an award-winning creative director who advises major corporations on content creation and marketing, and an avid sports fan. He is also the author of the popular CNET blog Technically Incorrect.

See also:

Pictures: Opening rounds of the World Cup

World Cup: U.S. Lets England Put Egg on Its Own Face

South Africa Shows the World How Soccer Is Celebrated

Guess Who Will Win the World Cup

  • Chris Matyszczyk

    Chris has been a multi award-winning executive creative director with some of the most celebrated advertising agencies in the world. His creative work has been recognized at the Cannes Advertising Festival, the New York Festivals, Clio, the One Show, as well as many other festivals around the world. His writing has appeared in such publications as the Financial Times, the European, the Sacramento Bee and The Singapore Press Holdings Group.

    He currently advises major global companies about content creation and marketing, through his company Howard Raucous LLC.

    He brings an irreverent, sarcastic, and sometimes ironic voice to the tech world.

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