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The Cup Running Over


June 22, 2010 1:52 PM

Group A in Review: The Home Team Goes Home


WINNER: URUGUAY

RUNNER-UP: MEXICO


TURNING POINT: South African keeper Itumeleng Khune's harsh red card against Uruguay. At only 1-0 down, the hosts could have fought back to secure a point, but after his sending off and the subsequent penalty, the team crumbled, even conceding a third late on. With its final fate resting on goal differential with Mexico - - how different could things have been if not for that card?

BEST MATCH: Maybe we were swept up in all the history and pageantry but the first match between Mexico and South Africa (ending 1-1) was a thriller.

WORST MATCH: Any game with France -- take your pick.

PLAYER OF THE GROUP: Diego Lugano, Uruguay captain and centerback. He was commanding, effective, and brutally efficient in the tackle. Who'd have thought Uruguay would post three shutouts?

BIGGEST NO-SHOW: France's Raymond Domenech, who goes home as perhaps the most disgraced manager in World Cup history. Yes, he was ridiculed for making tactical errors and baffling squad selections, but the sight of him calmly reading the players' statement to the press as his team went on strike may have been the greatest piece of tragicomedy we've seen in recent World Cup history. And for that, Raymond, we say merci and au revoir.

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