Sunday, June 25, 2006

Review of The Round of 16, Day 2

Funnily enough, my analysis of these games was pretty much dead-on, and yet my predictions were off. Dammit!

Ecuador 0, England 1. Once again, England doesn't impress, but does just barely enough to get the win. They did look like the heat affected them (Beckham puking all over the place was just the most graphic depiction), but a well struck free kick from Posh Spice's husband was enough to get a score and a win. I think I've said this after every single England game, but I'm going to say again--they need to play better if they want to get any further. Sooner or later, that's going to be true, so I'll keep saying it. Stopped clocks are right twice a day, and all that.

Portugal 1, The Netherlands 0. This game lived up to the advance billing. The Netherlands came up with a great strategy to contain Christiano Ronaldo--spike him in the thighs. Ronaldo left the game in the first half, limping pretty badly. The game was chock full of fouls and cards of all sorts of hues. It ended up finishing as a 9 on 9 affair. Portugal scored in the first half, with a great strike from Maniche. Van der Saar played out of his head to keep it at just one score. As guys were getting kicked off right and left, the field opened up dramatically, and the second half was just a ton of up and down play, stopped for the occasional card. Their were a couple of near full out fights on the pitch, and even Figo head-butted some dude. No Van Nistelroy in this game at all, something Van Basten is going to have to answer for to the Dutch press. And the Portugese are going to have to play England without Deco or Constinha and possibly Ronaldo.


Muumuuman said...

I’d have to say that was the silliest world cup match I’ve seen. No card for spikes to the thigh, but cards for just about everything else which inspired a wave of diving all over the pitch. True, Figo did administer a head butt, but it took the diving Dutchman a good 5 seconds to decide to fall down casually. It reminded me of my daughter when I lived in a house with tile floors. She would get worked up into a temper tantrum and before diving on the floor she’d remember the floor was hard. So she’d stop and sit down real gingerly, establish her place on the floor, then roll around and continue the fit. She’s a three-year-old girl. I’m not going to say no blood no card (the spikes to the leg did draw blood), but when Figo was brushed by an arm and went writhing in pain the match became stupid. I couldn’t even tell which side of his face was hit, and thought for a moment that he may be icing the wrong side (anyone TiVo the match?). Perhaps FIFA should take page from the scarlet letter, and when replay indicates diving the offender should have to wear a yellow D on their uni for the next match. I do agree with the result of the match though – the drama really took the Dutch out of the match for 20 – 30 minutes, and any coach who is ignorant enough to leave Ruud out deserves to loose. Did Ruud administer a head butt to the coach’s daughter or something? I can’t see any reason to keep him out of the match other than disciplinary.

Garwood B. Jones said...

Agree with Muumuuman whole-heartedly. While it was clear from the action that the referree had lost control, it's hard to argue that both teams played with horrible sportsmanship. Figo, Costinha, Van Bommel, and the B------z guy that spiked Ronaldo all were disgraceful in either their thuggishness or their play-acting (often both). Between the diving, the awkward and cynical tackles, and the turgid goalless draws, it's becoming more difficult to convince folks that this is indeed a beautiful game. I really like the yellow "d" and I'd add some severe sanction to accumulating more than one (ala the NHL this year). Unfortunately when Italy plays, everyone will just think it's part of their kit. C'mon Ukraine - I've had more than enough of the Azzurri. And despite their uninspired play so far, I'll be cheering for England after watching Portugal's Italy impression yesterday.

Muumuuman said...

I've also had enough of the Azzurri and the pompus ass that occasionally shows up in the espn post game to praise the Azzurri. The anouncers wouldn't say it, but I will- when a man slides down and a striker goes out of his way to dive on top on him it's not a penalty. The socceroo even lowered his profile on the turf to make it easy to avoid him. So who's left to cheer for... England? No, they're the common enemy...I guess I'm cheering for Germany, in part to spite the commentators who have poo-pooed them from day 1.