A few notes from the game I said would have to be blogged about.
1. If I hadn't said so ahead of time, would I think that game had to be blogged about? Probably not. It was hardly a classic, though the French showed great character in continuing to plug away after some serious bad news in the first 25 minutes, which included losing Eric Abidal to a Red Card after a pretty clumsy ass challenge on Luca Toni in the box. Andrea Pirlo put home the resulting penalty kick to make it 1-0.
2. The troubles began before that though, when the French were forced to replace badass Franck Ribery after he went awkwardly to ground during a challenge (his challenge, not a foul from an Italian) in the 7th minute. Ribery wasn't mentioned again by the TV crew, but reports today are that he still isn't putting weight on that foot this morning.
Good news for Ribery, though. Felipe Scolari is eyeing him (and every other footballer of quality) to be part of the Chelsea Revolution! (does Chelsea need a revolution? Do they even need a major revision?) But seriously--you say publicly that you are targeting Ribery, Torres, Robinho, Deco, and Kaka? Why not publicly express a desire to live forever, or visit Saturn, or spend a month time-traveling?
3. Italy was a man up for 65 minutes, but rare were the times you could actually see that numeric advantage on the pitch. This Italian squad has kind of snuck into the next round of play, and I'd be very tempted to say that they probably won't last too long. The only thing keeping me from saying exactly that is that I believe I may have said exactly that 2 years ago, during the World Cup when they barely squeaked out of their qualifying group, and ended up winning the whole damn thing.
Italy did win the game, 2-0, but not without some of those yellow cards beginning to catch up. Right as the knockout stages begin, Italy will be without Pirlo and Gattuso, who in some ways are the heart and soul of the interior of the Italian team. It will be interesting to see that team play without either of those guys.