Well, even though we lost 2-1 to the Koreans, it was a valiant effort. When you're leading 1-0 at halftime, it's a little disappointing to lose, but after going a man down when Abalo received his 2nd yellow card, I figured we were finished. The Koreans are just too skilled and experienced to hold off when you're playing with only 10 men.
So who's to blame? Not Mohamed Kader. He scored a brilliant goal on a hard grounder that barely hit the post before finding the back of the net. (This pic is the team celebrating Kader's goal. Gotta love it!) If there is any blame to go around, it falls on Togo's soccer federation for causing all of the chaos in the days before the match. You're in the World Cup for the first time ever; NOW PAY YOUR PLAYERS!!! Seriously, just getting there was huge, because many people, Americans especially, have never even heard of Togo. These players fought hard to give their country some world recognition, and they are rewarded with a contract squabble. Anyways...
The Togolese definitely played with more heart than the U.S. team. That game was an embarressment, but this is our AFRICA blog, and we will not speak of such things here.
Togo's next match is against Switzerland on June 19th. It's a winnable game for them if they can just focus. Switzerland is just so...neutral. Prediction: Togo 3, Switzerland 2. Go Hawks!!!