Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I can't let too many days pass without some kind of World Cup commentary. I saw a bit of the Australia-Italy game, the end anyway. Italy scored on a penalty in the closing seconds of the game. I really hoped that Australia would make it to the quarter finals, but they failed to really press and finish when they could have and paid the price.

On the upside, some Italians I met recently told me that most countries get a swing in GDP when they start a war, but Italy gets one when they win the World Cup. They seemed pretty pleased with their make goals, not war statistic 'til I pointed out that it's much easier to start a war than to win the World Cup. And of course, some countries find it much easier to win wars than to win the creme of sporting tournaments - hence the Jerry-taunting England terrace chant "Two World Wars and One World Cup" (I think this chant can get you a spell in the cooler under Germany's tight running of this tourney)

Then Switzerland v Ukraine. How 'bout them Ukrainians. 120 minutes without score and then after the first three penalties still nil-nil. I had thought the Swiss looked pretty good, but I guess I'm pleased by the Ukranian win. Of course, are the folks back home pleased? Did they swamp the streets of Kiev with soccer celebrations? They were out in force alright-10,000 Ukrainians waving banners and placards in the capital today, but not for something really important...nah, instead it was something about global security, fuel prices, yatta, yatta. C'mon y'all, get your priorities straight.

I missed Brazil v Ghana. I could have watched it (I was off sick today) but as the score crept up for Brazil, I had no interest. I thought Brazil would have it in the bag and they did. Though now I'm sorry I missed it, since Ghana's coach was sent off by the referee. And apparently Brazil's offense is back on form (helped by a dodgy call)...but the defense is still weak. Quote of the day has to be from the Brazilian coach:

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira had little sympathy for his counterpart, however, saying: "That is what losers do, they whinge and they cry."

And guess who else is back on form? Yep, the cheese-eaters. France's performance thus far has been pretty pathetic, but Zidane scored the final, beautiful goal for France in injury time tjis beating Spain 3-1. I was really hoping that Spain would finally get into the later stages of an international tournament, and of course I was really hoping that Spain would smash those smug French into the turf. Oh well, let France play Brazil and see what they can make of that weak Brazilian defense.

So quarter final line up is:

Argentina v Germany - Argies to win in a tough and bloody battle fought on German soil.
Italy v Ukraine - Hmmm, I'm not sure. If I had to put money on it, I'd wager Ukraine.
England v Portugal - England to win against a depleted but dirty Portugese team
France v Brazil - Braaaazil. Though it's no fun sneering at France if they go down to the class South Americans. Ah well, maybe it is.


Sam said...

I refuse to concede that Grosso's stumble was anything but an opportunistic dive designed to provoke a penalty kick award from a sympathetic and marginally competent referee. I'm STILL furious!

Vol Abroad said...

I agree that stumble was no penalty. But it seemed Australia was trying to play the long game on stamina - striving for the extra 30 minutes and didn't reckon on a deciding penalty.

Did you catch Henry's dive in the game last night? Struck in the chest by a shoulder, he grabbed his face as if he'd been elbowed in the eye?

Sam said...

Let's not mention Thierry's little indiscretion. He might ought to have gotten a harsh talking to from the ref, but the free kick was deserved regardless, n'est pas?