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.