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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Portugal 1 - 0 Holland

What an awful game--but great to watch.

I wanted somehow for them to both lose. My sympathies were with Portugal when Cristiano Ronaldo was hard fouled and had to leave the game. Then I swerved to Holland when Robben got spiked in the shoulder--while jumping for a high cross. You really have to have dangerously high kick to connect with a guys shoulder who is jumping above you.

But then the game just degenerated into thuggish whinery. Only soccer players can combine bullying with such juvenile whining. A Dutch player collapses in agony when Figo gets too close to his face. The Portugese Deco runs away with the ball to try to waste a few seconds. The Dutch, in a remarkably poor show of sportsmanship, refuse to turn-over the ball after play had been stopped with Portugal in possession. Cynical and the mark of a desperate team. I sympathized when Deco took a man down hard from behind. The Dutch deserved it.

But as each card came out--13 in all, I think, with four players being sent off--I disagreed heartily with the ESPN team (and later pundits on the internet, and even Sepp Blatter of FIFA) who claimed the ref was doing a poor job. I thought nearly every card was warranted. The players played like drunk amatuers, and they deserved to be sent off. Costinha handles a ball on a meaningless cross for his second yellow. Just stupid. Deco runs away with the ball when he's already carrying a yellow card. Stupid. The hacking continued until the final whistle. The Dutch deserved to get beat, and Portugal deserve to get beat by England when they have to play without Deco and Costinha. That will be one of the few games in the knock-out rounds that I cheer for a clear favorite. Ingerland, Ingerland, Ingerland.

ADDENDUM: I especially got a kick out of hearing them constantly say Maniche scored the goal. For those of you without sound on your blog, it's pronounced MANEESH. Kudos to you Manny for such a fine strike.


At 11:19 PM, Blogger shmooth said...

wow - good to know not everyone is bashing the refs. I think Blatter should resign.

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Susan said...

Last night at the Chicago Fire game I sat next to a guy who trains referees for one of the local youth organizations. He insisted that every card in the Portugal-Holland game was deserved. You're right about the stupidity of Deco & Constinha. Stupidity topped off with a healthy serving of cynicism. Let's hope it does benefit England.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Not Scott said...

Even today, I listened to Marcello Balboa and Davies going on about the poor officiating in that game. Balboa pontificating about how the ref should never be the center of the story. Well how about putting the blame on the crass, cynical and stupid play of the two teams.

I think the officiating has been poor at times, and the yellow cards are a bit too free this cup, but not that game. What I'd like to see would be a few more cards thrown out for diving. That might have controlled the game better. Flops and retaliations happen because the ref doesn't throw out cards.

And hey Susan--GO FIRE. I moved away four years ago, but spent lots of time at Soldier Field and out in Naperville watching the games. I can't wait to catch a game at the new pitch.

At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Susan said...

Scott--I think that the Fire play almost all the rest of the season's games at their new home to make up for that long tough away spell. Maybe that will help them turn the season around.

I shouldn't be surprised to find another Fire fan who's actually been in Naperville, but I am. The Naperville days were good because I live here and know all the good places to park. But the field was lousy for the players. The new place in Bridgeview really is ideal. Can't wait to see the Chelsea game!

At 11:50 AM, Blogger $sh said...

I have already put in a request for a "Maniche" jersey (to my brother in England). He is sure he can get me a Chelsea jersey, but the Portugal one might be tougher. Those Portugese do need to learn how to spell. I will say that it was a thrill to hear them calling my name during a World Cup match.

And on the game...I waver back and forth on the official. I feel like he let the game get out of hand. Once it did, EVERY card was well-deserved. However, it seems like he was more gullible than most when it came to diving, and that led to the increased tension and lack of sportsmanship. Ultimately, the players were to blame.


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