Follow the 2010 World Cup with the UCSB men's and women's soccer programs all tournament long on UCSBgauchos.com. "South Africa to Santa Barbara: The Cup is Coming" will provide daily commentary on the day's biggest storylines, featuring video interviews with Gaucho soccer players and head coaches Tim Vom Steeg and Paul Stumpf.
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Some wacky stuff is going on at the World Cup in South Africa.
First, the French are sent packing - in coach class no less - with a mere point to show for its three matches against South Africa, Mexico, and Uruguay. Then, the Americans not only advance to the knockout round but they win their group because they scored more goals than England.
On Thursday, things got even crazier. Italy, which beat France on penalty kicks in the 2006 final, lost to Slovakia, 3-2. Three goals? The vaunted Azzurri defense gave up three goals to Slovakia? In 2006, the Italians gave up two goals in seven matches, one apiece to the United States and France.
So, what exactly happened to Italy's defense? Actually it was pretty good, giving up just six shots on frame in three games.
The goalkeeping? That's another story. With regular goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon suffering from back problems, backup Federico Marchetti could muster just one save in three contests and thus, Azzurri goes home.
It seems like only yesterday that Zinedine Zidane's head butt sent Marco Materazzi flying in the 2006 final.
Thursday also marked the end of former UCSB star Tony Lochhead's run in the World Cup. Lochhead, who was an All-American defender for a Gaucho team that played for the 2004 NCAA Championship, started every match for his native New Zealand.
On Thursday, the All Whites (although they strangely wore all black Thursday) battled Paraguay, the winners of the Group F, to a scoreless draw. New Zealand finished the tournament - its second ever - with three ties.
As for Lochhead? He has to have enjoyed his experiences on the fields and golf courses of Santa Barbara.
Season tickets start at just $75 and include one ticket to all home men's and women's regular season games and one College Cup All Session Pass. UCSB staff and faculty can purchase their season tickets for a reduced rate of $50.