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"Hand of God", indeed.
June 21, 2010 12:56 PM   Subscribe

All’s Fair in Love and Soccer Cheating and working the refs are part of what make the beautiful game fun to watch.
posted by horsemuth (376 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
think about that sentence for a second.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:01 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


After the blown call for the US in the world cup and that bad call that robbed Armando Galarraga of his perfect game, I'm of the opinion that on-field officals are a bug, and not a feature, in professional sports. Fire them all, and replace them with robots.
posted by mullingitover at 1:01 PM on June 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


http://i.imgur.com/lKxA3.gif
posted by nathancaswell at 1:01 PM on June 21, 2010 [23 favorites]


Americans don't like that kind of stuff. It's not a problem with Americans, it's not a problem with soccer, but you aren't going to sell the sport on the basis of, "No, really! Cheating, corruption, and diving are totally what makes this sport great!"

We have friggin government hearings because of cheating in baseball.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:04 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I dunno, watching all the Italian players act like they got shot every time someone bumped them in the New Zealand game made me angry. I forgot how pathetic their acting got. But they got the calls, which made me even more infuriated.
posted by dig_duggler at 1:05 PM on June 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


The Kaka sending off was a travesty, although it was pointed out that it's really only karma for Rivaldo's ridiculous antics the last time.
posted by djgh at 1:07 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


mullingitover said what I came here to say. It's not part of the game, it is ruining the game.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:11 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also: the World Cup is a horrible showcase for refereeing, mainly because there's an insistence that the referees represent the countries in FIFA - hence 30 referees from 28 countries. Obviously, the standard of football in those 28 countries isn't the same. This ends up with the situation where you have a referee not used to big occasions (Champions League, Copa Libertadores) refereeing huge international matches - especially in the group stages.

There should be free movement of referees amongst various countries, but sadly unlike with players this just doesn't happen.
posted by djgh at 1:11 PM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Aghhh! Looking at this post destroyed my shin! AHGHHGH
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 1:15 PM on June 21, 2010 [24 favorites]


Americans don't like that kind of stuff.
furiousxgeorge, is that uniquely American trait? I'm asking because I certainly do feel that way, but am surprised that those of other nationalities don't. Not doubting you, really, just surprised.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:15 PM on June 21, 2010


Why?
posted by Jakey at 1:17 PM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


No. The beautiful part of the game is superb ball control and fluid teamwork working in harmony. Cheap dives (I'm looking at you, Italy) and bribery aren't remotely beautiful.

I don't want to see video referees take over the game, as part of football's appeal is the fact that it is a fast moving sport that doesn't have many pauses or stoppages. That being said, I'd love for the referee to have the ability to retroactively hand out red cards for diving - cards he can hand out after the game, when they've seen the replays.
posted by twirlypen at 1:19 PM on June 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


It seems like the play-acting would decrease a bit if the penalties weren't so harsh. Of course the players are going to act like they just got sniped if it means a player from the other team gets sent off and now you're playing 11 vs. 10. The problem (that is, if you think it's a problem) is that there is an absolutely HUGE incentive to flop and dive and play-act for the ref, so that's why the players do it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


http://i.imgur.com/lKxA3.gif

We all know whose fault it really was.
posted by kmz at 1:24 PM on June 21, 2010


Americans don't like that kind of stuff.

Except in basketball.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:24 PM on June 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Here's a start
posted by adamvasco at 1:27 PM on June 21, 2010


Worst-basketball flops of all time
posted by bottlebrushtree at 1:27 PM on June 21, 2010


Except in basketball.

No, we hate it in basketball too... Jeff van Gundy bitched about it the entire finals.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:27 PM on June 21, 2010


Americans don't like that kind of stuff.

Except in basketball.


There is definitely flopping in basketball (I'm looking at you, Derek Fisher). But the difference is that, for a much, much smaller court, and fewer players, you have three refs working an NBA game, all of whom can call fouls at any given time, and over-rule poor calls from other refs. In soccer, it's simply impossible for one ref to make all of the calls, and make them correctly. Also, in the NBA, you have six fouls to give and even if you foul out, the team can substitute a player for the player who was sent off.

That is not to say that basketball is "better" than soccer - merely, as I mentioned before, that the penalties in soccer are really (shockingly, to this American) harsh and it's no wonder you get such outrageous flaying and flying and faking.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:30 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can you imagine how heard a coach would chew out a player if they flopped in the middle of a play in American Football? Like some 5th string WR covering kicks decided to take a dive while gunning a punt? They'd probably be cut the next day.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:30 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


hard, not heard
posted by nathancaswell at 1:31 PM on June 21, 2010


Can you imagine how heard a coach would chew out a player if they flopped in the middle of a play in American Football? Like some 5th string WR covering kicks decided to take a dive while gunning a punt? They'd probably be cut the next day.

Yeah, but imagine that if by flopping, that fifth string WR somehow got Peyton Manning ejected from the game (and the next game), and the Colts had to play with one less player. He wouldn't get cut, he'd get a promotion.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:32 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Look at North Korea. Not a flopper in the bunch. Score of today's game? An all-time World Cup record high 7-0. Yeah, nice guys? You can all go have tea in the basement.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:35 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The author of this article has obviously never watched Steven Gerrard or Wayne Rooney dive in front of the net. The English disapprove of simulation only when it is committed by foreign-johnny types with funny sounding names.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:38 PM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


ssss....aahhh
posted by birdherder at 1:39 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Americans don't like that kind of stuff...am surprised that those of other nationalities don't.

It's not infrequent for Anglo football writers to refer to the 'malandragem' of Brazil, which is normally translated as mischief or cunning, and is said to include such antics as Rivaldo's famous dive in the 2002 World Cup. These articles typically hold that winning in such a manner is considered as valid as doing so by skill.
I don't know any Brazilians and can't speak portuguese, so I have no idea if this is a fair reflection of attitudes in Brazil. I suspect that there's an element of holier-than-thou, as mentioned in this article, which also talks about the different attitudes to the English roughousing of Maradona in 1986 and the Joe Jordan handball for SCotland in the 1978 World Cup qualifier. But as my grannie used to say, "Yer ain craw's aye the whitest."
posted by Jakey at 1:41 PM on June 21, 2010


also 1 foul in basketball can mean at worst 2-6 point swing = relatively small change in the game

in soccer it can mean an entire tournament and often does.
it's certainly part of why my friends say soccer is boring.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:42 PM on June 21, 2010


I wonder if there's a correlation between cheating in football and corruption in government. Do the Italian players flop more than the Germans?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 1:43 PM on June 21, 2010


North Korea plays a clean game and reigns victorious over decadent, capitalist Brazil in group G.
posted by ardgedee at 1:44 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't speak for all Americans, but this is why I would say they hate cheating:

There is a lot of sports betting and no one wants to feel cheated on a bet. We use atheletes as role models for kids so we want them to be perfect. Sports is entertainment and escape, if I want to see people bending and breaking every rule they can to get by, I can just go back to real life.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:44 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


[shamefacely admits he didn't read the article, slinks away quietly]
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 1:44 PM on June 21, 2010


Why I hate Landon Donovan.
Yes, the referee blew the call in disallowing the goal by Maurice Edu, but the free kick on which that goal came resulted from a bad call against a Slovenian player. As the New York Times noted, “The foul that led to the free kick was another error by [the referee] Coulibaly. United States striker Jozy Altidore ran right into a Slovene defender and fell theatrically, fooling Coulibaly into blowing his whistle.”
American's need to get over themselves. Also, flopping over and grabbing your face when you get tapped and all that other stupidness is what makes watching some of these world cup games suck. (And then Spain scores a kick ass goal and you forget.)

Go Ivory Coast!
posted by chunking express at 1:47 PM on June 21, 2010


I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with this thesis. I find diving mind-numbingly infuriating in any sport. I don't typically care about sports enough to idolize or demonize particular players, but my hatred for Mike Ribiero is as strong as it was 4 years ago. I'm so glad he was traded to the western division so I don't have to watch his theatrics any more.

And WTH is with the NHL's enforcement of diving penalties? Even when they call someone for diving, they always send the other player who DIDN'T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING to the box too.

/me takes off beer-soaked sports bar loudmouth persona and puts usual mild-mannered geek persona back on
posted by usonian at 1:49 PM on June 21, 2010


Why I hate Landon Donovan.

Uh, what the fuck does Gross Domestic Product have to do with soccer? Our superpower aircraft carrier launched nuclear pilotless soccer ball drones are somehow giving us an advantage in a sport played on a field, with a ball and 2 goals?
posted by nathancaswell at 1:50 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, instead of moralizing about corruption or incompetence when we see it in a sports competition, we would be better off sitting back and enjoying the "hand of God" in action.

I've thought about this in professional American sports, regarding steroids. What if, instead of having rules against steroid use that aren't followed, why not just forget the purity of the game and allow every team to be steroid-mutants.
posted by codacorolla at 1:52 PM on June 21, 2010


If the refs would hand out more early yellow cards for diving, they'd send a message that would clean up the rest of the game a while. And I say that as someone who doesn't particularly mind the drawn penalty here and there.

The last FIFA video game I played was a long time ago, but you could double tap a button to fall to your knees and writhe in pain. If you did it as your opponent was performing a tackle, you often drew a penalty. If you did it in the middle of the field with no one near you, the ref would yellow card you. My brothers and I had to outlaw use of this function, because it was leading to red cardable offenses outside of the game. Anyone know if you can still do this in the newer games?
posted by jermsplan at 1:53 PM on June 21, 2010


Sports are games. Games only exist because they're governed by rules. The ability of humans to excel within the rules make sports interesting.

Nice of Foreign Policy to slip in some subtle racism about firey Latinos in the name of analysis, though.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:53 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


This article isn't really fair. There's a hell of a lot less cheating in soccer than there is in basketball or (american) football or baseball; it's only that in those sports cheating tends to become institutionalized – because the officiation is institutionalized.

Soccer, of all sports, stands firmly and vehemently against institutionalization of officiation. The lineman says he saw it one way? Too fucking bad, the ref says differently, it doesn't matter. You say your feelings were hurt by that call, and you want an instant replay? Nope. Ref doesn't want to , ref doesn't have to. You say you want FIFA to review a call that got your team dropped from the world cup? Tough shit. FIFA's hands are tied. They have no say. It's all down to the ref.

This attitude – one of absolute dictatorship over the field (this is why they're called "laws" and not "rules" in soccer) – is not popular immediately amongst us Americans. We sya "why can't the officials talk it over?" We say "why can't there be a review of the play?" It's simple: because the referee was there, he said it was like this, so there's nothing you can do about it.

That's why there's faking of injuries, by the way, and it's an interesting side-effect of this system. If you can make a referee feel bad for you – if you can appeal to his sense of honor and justice – then you win. In American sports this would never happen, because there is nothing to gain from getting the sympathy of one official; the others will overrule him, or there will be a few moments of deliberation at least and everything will be carefully sorted out. The power of the referee makes soccer a superior sport, but it means that the referee must be above appeals to sympathy like this.

I think the style of officiation certainly does say something about national character. And it's interesting to me that I think of all the aspects of soccer, this is the one that bugs us Americans the most. We just don't have games where a single person is given absolute, dictatorial control over the justice of the game, where one person's sense of fairness is all that's relied upon to make sure it goes well. We implicitly distrust such systems, although we have a strong sense of justice and want to see it win out in the end (at least in the abstract). Witness American football, where dozens of referees swarm around the field and discuss each play with each other, and then one stands apart and announces the decision clearly and carefully to the crowd. This would never happen in soccer. The referee merely pulls a card from his pocket – and the player is out. You want to talk about it? Fuck you. It already happened. Talk about it after the game. There is great power in this approach; it means that the games are much, much smoother (is there anything more halting and cumbersome than the flow of an American football game?) but that smoothness relies wholly on one person's sense of justice.

The closest analogue in American sporting is the umpire in baseball. The umpire stands behind the plate, watching all that occurs, and has a final say in all important calls. But even then, he has important lieutenants, and he must confer with them. I think a good image is to think of the soccer referee as a sort of dictator, and the umpire as a kind of judge.
posted by koeselitz at 1:54 PM on June 21, 2010 [23 favorites]


Also, that Brazil / North Korea game was great precisely because it was so friendly. North Korea played surprisingly well, and both of Brazil's goals were absolutely mental. It was refreshing to see players help each other up when they fall, and no pretend like they might not live to see the end of the game.
posted by chunking express at 1:54 PM on June 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Also: all sporting events are transformed into narratives by their audience, regardless of what's actually happening on the field.

To an American, the best sort of narrative is that you work hard, play by the rules, and are rewarded (I feel safe making that sort of generalization as an American).

To people in other countries, maybe being the underdog, and tweaking the rules a little bit to get your way is the best sort of narrative - where the small fry uses his wits and cleverness to outmatch a bully.
posted by codacorolla at 1:55 PM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Uh, what the fuck does Gross Domestic Product have to do with soccer?

America can afford: better training? better fields? better coaching? better diets? better pretty much everything?
posted by chunking express at 1:56 PM on June 21, 2010


America can afford: better training? better fields? better coaching? better diets? better pretty much everything?

If only they could afford better players it actually might mean something.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:58 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


And, yeah, in case anybody missed it: the travesty that led to the American tie to Slovenia is nothing on the bullshit call that sent Kaká off during the Brazil v. Ivory Coast game. That was insane. The most unjust part of it is that it's clear from other footage that the referee could not possibly have seen the "foul" occur; this is the worst kind of officiation.
posted by koeselitz at 1:58 PM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I am 10000000000000000% sure, despite possessing no evidence to prove this, that that the majority of great soccer players have not come from super powers.

Players make teams great. Not diets.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:59 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Few sports spawn as many cheaters as baseball.

Cheating plays are ingrained in the game of basketball.

The A to Z of cheating in sport.

Of course the biggest cheater in sports is Tiger Woods. *rimshot*
posted by i_cola at 2:00 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


chunking express: “America can afford: better training? better fields? better coaching? better diets? better pretty much everything?”

nathancaswell: “If only they could afford better players it actually might mean something.”

It still means little, actually. "Better players" does not mean "better team." You could have the richest team in Europe and spend more on players and coaches than any other team around, and still finish in a sad, sort of embarrassing average ranking.

This is generally known as the "Real Madrid rule."
posted by koeselitz at 2:02 PM on June 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


We're talking about the World Cup. You know, where you play for the nation where you have citizenship. Not whoever offers you the fattest contract.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:03 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


in soccer it can mean an entire tournament and often does.

Cite? I'm perfectly willing to believe it can and does. But, I'm not sure about often.
posted by josher71 at 2:04 PM on June 21, 2010


I was responding to an article that specifically mentioned the economic disparity between the US and Slovenia as it pertained to a World Cup match.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:05 PM on June 21, 2010


This attitude, not just in sport but in every area of life, the attitude of "I didn't get caught so it's okay," crushes my will to live. This article seemed to be a justification for corruption and unethical behavior of all kinds.

I now desire to hear someone ask why the world is such a horrible place so I can laugh in their face.
posted by Appropriate Username at 2:06 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


This article is spot on. In Latin America anyone can bribe a traffic officer with $5 USD to get out of a speeding fine. In the USA or the UK you have to be a giant corporation or a very rich person to buy the judges and the congressmen.

In American sports, corruption happens at the highest level, in third world sports you try to bend the rules in the field.

As I said before in other threads: Americans hate it when loophole are available to the common man. Loopholes should be for the rich only.

This thread is all about generalizations, right?
posted by dirty lies at 2:06 PM on June 21, 2010 [10 favorites]


It's not just Americans, most soccer fans hate the diving. Just ask any non-Italian soccer fan about Italy's soccer team and you'll be sure to get an earful. FIFA needs to do something about it- obvious dirty plays (shirt grabbing, elbowing in the head when doing up for a header) and as well as slidetackles from behind should still be called on the spot, but I think adopting a "let them play" philosophy during the game and the ability to review plays either during halftime of after the game and hand out retroactive yellow or red cards for diving or penalties would help. I'm an American living in Australia and a sport I've really come to enjoy is AFL- it's a contact sport, and players wear no pads, and it is constant action- the league apparently revamped the rules a few years ago to cut down on stoppage of play. Basically, play doesn't stop if someone's injured, which essentially eliminates players rolling around grabbing their leg to try to draw a whistle (only to be running around unscathed seconds later), because it ain't coming. Players who are legitimately injured are taken off the field and subbed in for during play or when the ball goes out of bounds. Few penalties are called during the game and games are reviewed by the league afterwards and retroactive penalties are handed out when necessary. The retroactive stuff would be hard to do in a tournament like the world cup, when many teams may not have a next game, but if FIFA tightened up the rules a but to cut down on the flopping starting now (or right after this world cup), hopefully by the next world cup, diving would be considered something to be avoided rather than a strategy for success.
posted by emd3737 at 2:07 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, instead of moralizing about corruption or incompetence when we see it in a sports competition, we would be better off sitting back and enjoying the "hand of God" Russian mob in action.

FTFY, FFS.
posted by felix betachat at 2:08 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I was small, my dad told me "The referee is always right, little alias."

"But Dad, what about when he's wrong?"

"Even then he's right."

"But..."

"Always."

That was the full extent of the philosophical discutsion, as Koeselitz says, the referee is the sole arbiter of the game. Anyone who plays football signs up to that.

That said, I think players should be booked and sent off far more than they are currently for diving (incidentally- flopping? makes me think of sinking into the sofa with a beer in one hand and the remote in the other, diving suggests intent) and arguing with the ref. Maybe there we could use some post match analysis from FIFA officials and give proven divers a one match ban.
posted by itsjustanalias at 2:10 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


To an American, the best sort of narrative is that you work hard, play by the rules, and are rewarded

Then why is Basketball popular in the United States?
posted by The World Famous at 2:11 PM on June 21, 2010


http://asset.soup.io/asset/0828/6215_3252.gif
posted by ts;dr at 2:12 PM on June 21, 2010


or maybe clickable.
posted by ts;dr at 2:13 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


You want to talk about it? Fuck you. It already happened.

This should be the new MeTa tagline.
posted by djgh at 2:16 PM on June 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


Cite? I'm perfectly willing to believe it can and does. But, I'm not sure about often.
posted by josher71


Well to be honest I think all fouls in soccer are flops, so this may be confirmation bias. Everytime someone falls down it looks fake to me.

Fouls in general should be done away with except in the case of blood.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:16 PM on June 21, 2010


ts;dr - what's that from? Is there like a Harlem Globetrotters of soccer or something?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:16 PM on June 21, 2010


And WTH is with the NHL's enforcement of diving penalties? Even when they call someone for diving, they always send the other player who DIDN'T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING to the box too.

Well, not always; they call it 'diving' but actually in most cases it should be called 'embellishing'. The majority of the time there was a foul of some sorts committed, but also the player on the receiving end will make a big act and try to sell it to the ref, hence why they both get punished.

This is why, here in Vancouver, we like to call Alex Burrows our best European soccer skater.

But anyways, we were talking about soccer?
posted by mannequito at 2:20 PM on June 21, 2010


Let us not let the World Cup pass us by without hearing Kicker Conspiracy.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:25 PM on June 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I guess I don't know if bending the rules like that is good or bad, but it's certainly boring. It's boring to have to wait if the ref halts play after a dive. It's boring to watch guys whining on camera. It's boring to have to argue over bad calls. What's not boring is good play. Good passing. Good teamwork. Good shots.

Doing things wrong is easy. Doing things well is not.
posted by chasing at 2:25 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Soccer: because in what other sport can will an entire national team throw a hissy fit and go home?

The white flag jokes write themselves.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:30 PM on June 21, 2010


Cheating plays are ingrained in the game of basketball.

Wow. Even for mainstream sportswriting that's poor. Reads like it was written by an eleven-year-old, and not a precocious one.

Basketball is a contact sport. You make contact with other players all the time, and it's up to the referee to determine what is a foul and what isn't. If a player stood back, afraid to touch anyone for fear of being called for a foul, he would be utterly ineffective. Players "selling" calls is more of a grey area, but there's certainly something to be said for letting the referee know you've been fouled.

But none of this falls under any definition of "cheating" a grown-up would use. Cheating is bribing the referee, or bringing an illegal object on the court. Fouls are just part of the game.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:30 PM on June 21, 2010


The white flag jokes write themselves.

And if they don't, Leno's staff is on it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:31 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just ask any non-Italian soccer fan about Italy's soccer team and you'll be sure to get an earful.

Heh. As Johan Cruyff said, "The Italians can't beat you, but you can lose against them".

I'm Dutch and a lifelong football watcher (1988 NEVAR FORGET), and I don't find simulation very sporting but I do consider it a part of the game. I'd even go so far as to say I feel it adds to the drama of the game, and drama is what I like most about football.

It often strikes me that Americans, whose interest in the sport I appreciate, sometimes seem to want association football to be something it's not. The dialogue seems often to go a little bit like this:

MOST OF THE TIME

World: "Yay, football"
USA: *silence*

WHEN THE WORLD CUP IS ON

World: "Yay, football world cup"
USA: "Hmm. Interesting game you have there. Let me fix it for you."


I don't mean to dismiss the genuine interest in and contributions to the beautiful game by Americans -- I find myself rooting for the US in this World Cup (unless they wind up playing Holland, sorry), and I can only applaud the sport's growing popularity Stateside.

But like the mods often say about Metafilter, football doesn't have to be all things to all people.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:33 PM on June 21, 2010 [25 favorites]


Basketball is a contact sport. You make contact with other players all the time, and it's up to the referee to determine what is a foul and what isn't. If a player stood back, afraid to touch anyone for fear of being called for a foul, he would be utterly ineffective.

Exactly. It is impossible to be competitive in basketball without intentionally violating the rules all the time.

And it's clear that Americans don't think of intentional violation of rules to gain a competitive advantage as "cheating." It's just that we (Americans) like our rule violations to be antagonistic ones against the opponent, rather than feigned injury and an appeal to authority.
posted by The World Famous at 2:35 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Burhanistan: “Let us not let the World Cup pass us by without hearing Kicker Conspiracy.”

That song is a small education in itself. Seriously, it is full of interesting truths and wisdoms about soccer. And what's amazing is that it was written even before the 1985 Britain-Europe ban. "Under Marble Millichip the F.A. broods..." indeed.
posted by koeselitz at 2:35 PM on June 21, 2010


And it's clear that Americans don't think of intentional violation of rules to gain a competitive advantage as "cheating.

As a die hard fan of the New England Patriots, I can assure you that this statement is wrong.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:37 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


drjimmy11: “Wow. Even for mainstream sportswriting that's poor.”

Well, maybe the writing isn't perfect, but that statement is correct, isn't it? Every coach tells his players to foul sometimes, and every professional player is trained on when it's a good idea. How is this not "ingrained cheating?"
posted by koeselitz at 2:39 PM on June 21, 2010


Every coach tells his players to foul sometimes, and every professional player is trained on when it's a good idea. How is this not "ingrained cheating?"

Man, Metafilter sucks at sports.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:40 PM on June 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


Well, maybe the writing isn't perfect, but that statement is correct, isn't it? Every coach tells his players to foul sometimes, and every professional player is trained on when it's a good idea. How is this not "ingrained cheating?"

Intentional fouling isn't cheating. There isn't a rule against it.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:41 PM on June 21, 2010


Fair! WHO'S THE FUCKING NIHILIST HERE! WHAT ARE YOU, A BUNCH OF FUCKING CRYBABIES?!
posted by priested at 2:41 PM on June 21, 2010


Americans don't like that kind of stuff.

Except in basketball.


Cheating plays are ingrained in the game of basketball.

To an American, the best sort of narrative is that you work hard, play by the rules, and are rewarded

Then why is Basketball popular in the United States?


Hey cry baby Celtic fans. Your team plays defense like middle linebackers and then cries EVERY TIME they are called for a foul (which is only about 50% of the time they actually commit fouls). Perkins actually had a technical foul rescinded by the NBA front office so he wouldn't have to sit out a game.

You lost to a better team. They played your brand of thugketball and beat you at it.

Stop your god damn whining already, it's pathetic.
posted by cjets at 2:42 PM on June 21, 2010


Fouls in general should be done away with except in the case of blood.

The English league played very much in this fashion for a number of decades. Once they decided to adopt a similar theory to leagues on the continent, that watching flair players get hacked down by neckless men isn't actually that much fun at all, the English game became reasonably watchable (coupled with the Bosman rule and subsequent globalization, so that foreign flair players started playing in England, because God knows England doesn't produce that many themselves).

We're talking about the World Cup. You know, where you play for the nation where you have citizenship.

Just for fun, you should the count the number of naturalized Brazilians playing for nations that aren't Brazil. Even Germany has one, for fuck's sake.

I don't know any Brazilians and can't speak portuguese, so I have no idea if this is a fair reflection of attitudes in Brazil.


The Brazilians that I know aren't terribly fond of diving or simulation, but they also think it's mostly the Argentinians' fault. The Argentinians I know say they had to start playing by Brazil's cheating ways or lose to them forever. Everyone loves Kaka who is just too clean-cut and angelic to be real; nobody really likes Rivaldo but they appreciate his ability to win. One of my good friends thinks Lucio is a demigod, so presumably he doesn't mind those antics too much.

An all-time World Cup record high 7-0.

Third highest in terms of margin: Germany beat Saudi Arabia 8-0 in 2002; Hungary beat South Korea 9-0 in 1954 and Yugoslavia beat Zaire by the same score in 1974, while Hungary beat El Salvador 10-1 in 1982.
posted by Errant at 2:43 PM on June 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


"Intentional fouling isn't cheating. There isn't a rule against it."

er, yes it is. thats why they give free kicks mate.

wow, never thought usaians would be so het up about football. yes, football, not soccer, football.
posted by marienbad at 2:44 PM on June 21, 2010


Cjets, you're jumping to a lot of conclusions here... Paul Pierce is one of the biggest floppers in the NBA. A bunch of those statements could just be about basketball in general.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:44 PM on June 21, 2010


so for eg, you could trip a player up as he runs past and would be through on goal with an opportunity to score. foul, card (red in this case).
posted by marienbad at 2:45 PM on June 21, 2010


"Intentional fouling isn't cheating. There isn't a rule against it." er, yes it is. thats why they give free kicks mate.

He was talking about the strategy of intentional fouling at the end of a basketball game.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:45 PM on June 21, 2010


I find myself "rooting" so hard against the US in this world cup that if they played against Italy I might not know who to support. I'm so happy for you that you guys are finally watching the World Cup. It's great that you care now. You still don't know the rules and nobody gives a shit that you think the ref was wrong in ANY situation because you don't know the rules. When one of you bloody Yanks cares about Kaka or the Bafana keeper, then you might be allowed to talk about the poor call in your match.
posted by jacalata at 2:45 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh lord there are many qualitative differences between soccer dives and basketball flopping. I think the major difference, and the one that fuels American's negative reaction to soccer dives, is the injury-feigning and anguish on the diving player's face as they roll around on the ground. It's not just the dive, it's what happens after the dive that kills us. It has less to do w/ the fact that the divers are cheating and more to do with using a faked injury as a part of it. Honestly, I don't think Americans would mind it all that much if the dive wasn't always followed by the fake expressions of pain and injury.

If Derek Fisher or Reggie Miller had ever faked an injury for 30 seconds after a flop, they'd 1) get booed out of the stadium, home or away, and 2) get benched.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 2:45 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Brazil free kick vs Zaire, 1974 world cup finals. this isn't cheating, just misunderstanding. still funny though.
posted by marienbad at 2:47 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a token of goodwill lest my previous comment be somehow taken as culturally insensitive, some more Cruyff quotes:

"Sometimes something needs to happen before something happens."

"The difficulty about an easy game is to get a weak opponent to play poorly."

"Football is a game of errors. Whoever makes the fewest wins."

"You'll only see it once you get it."

"If you can't win, you have to make sure not to lose."

"I speak better Spanish than any Dutchman, but worse than any Spaniard."

"I do not have faith [in God]. In Spain you'll see all 22 players make the Sign of the Cross before they come on. If that worked, you'd always see draws."

"If I had wanted you to understand, I would have explained better."

And perhaps most famously, in Holland at least:

"Every downside has its upside."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:47 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


When one of you bloody Yanks cares about Kaka or the Bafana keeper, then you might be allowed to talk about the poor call in your match.

Hey, I watched those games and thought the calls were horrible. Do I get a prize? Sorry you hate us so much. Seems the American footballers are a pretty likable lot - shame you root against them because there are some people on the internet you don't like, that seems a bit petty.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:48 PM on June 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


> Oh lord there are many qualitative differences between soccer dives and basketball flopping.

Exactly. The only time a basketball player holds himself in agony is when he's actually injured. They take dives all the time, but if you watch it's usually because they're opting for the floor rather than crashing into another player. There's certainly a lot of room for criticism of the NBA, but comparing the dives to soccer/football is not really valid.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:48 PM on June 21, 2010


Nathan, Paul Pierce plays for the Celtics, so you're making my point for me.

As far as it being about Basketball in general, maybe you're right. But given that the finals just ended four days ago with the Lakers beating the Celtics and the fact that I have seen hundreds of complaints from Celtic fans about the refereeing, I'll stand by my post.

By the way. the last time I posted an anti-Boston sports post here, I was cyber stalked by a some loser Boston fan, which tells you everything you need to know about Boston sports fan (a city whose slogan is "Yankees Suck").
posted by cjets at 2:49 PM on June 21, 2010


If Derek Fisher or Reggie Miller had ever faked an injury for 30 seconds after a flop, they'd 1) get booed out of the stadium, home or away, and 2) get benched.

Dude, Paul Pierce did EXACTLY THIS at home, went to the locker room, came back a minute later to a standing ovation and sparked a comeback.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:49 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


> s. When one of you bloody Yanks cares about Kaka or the Bafana keeper, then you might be allowed to talk about the poor call in your match.

"Bloody Yanks"? We'll bomb your ass!
posted by Burhanistan at 2:49 PM on June 21, 2010


Being English, I shouldn't laugh, but apparently som eFrench players are now refusing to play Bafana Bafana. And the Nigeria keeper is looking awesome, apart from a fumble against Greece. Argentina FTW, as they look fabulous.
posted by marienbad at 2:50 PM on June 21, 2010


marienbad: “yes, football, not soccer, football.”

You're the ones who started calling it "soccer." (It's short for "association football," and you can say a lot of things about Americans, but at least our abbreviations make sense.) They even called it "soccer" in Australia until a few years ago, when they changed it just to make you happy. I'd get used to the term if I were you; there's really no fair way that you can insist that people who use it are clueless.

And don't even get me started on "the English system of measurement."
posted by koeselitz at 2:50 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


cjets, as a Pistons fan living in Los Angeles, I'm a little baffled by your comment. What on earth are you going on about calling me a Celtics fan?
posted by The World Famous at 2:50 PM on June 21, 2010


In baseball, this is about as close to soccer-diving as it gets. And it boils my blood just to see it.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 2:50 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"You're the ones who started calling it "soccer." (It's short for "association football,"

oh man, i knew this when i was like 7 dude. As do most English Football fans. I love how americans think English Football fans don't know this. We know our Footy history mate. Come on Algeria!!
posted by marienbad at 2:52 PM on June 21, 2010


Jacalata, why the USA hatred? I'm just curious.
posted by josher71 at 2:54 PM on June 21, 2010


jacalata: “You still don't know the rules and nobody gives a shit that you think the ref was wrong in ANY situation because you don't know the rules. When one of you bloody Yanks cares about Kaka or the Bafana keeper, then you might be allowed to talk about the poor call in your match.”

Ahem.

Oh, and by the way, they're called laws, not rules. Get it right, and then maybe you might be allowed to act like you're better than everyone else.
posted by koeselitz at 2:54 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nathan, Paul Pierce plays for the Celtics, so you're making my point for me.

I know, and no I'm not. You're running around accusing everyone who dislikes flops in basketball of being a Celtics fan. I'm pointing out that one of the most high profile floppers in basketball is a Celtic, so maybe some of these people complaining about flops are fans of other teams.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:55 PM on June 21, 2010


Hoo boy. Let's face it, if the English get out of the group stage will have their asses handed to them on a plate. They just look flat. That being said, after the USA, that is who I'll root for.
posted by josher71 at 2:55 PM on June 21, 2010


marienbad: “oh man, i knew this when i was like 7 dude. As do most English Football fans. I love how americans think English Football fans don't know this. We know our Footy history mate. Come on Algeria!!”

You're right; how could I forget? You English remember football history quite well. Come on Germany!!
posted by koeselitz at 2:55 PM on June 21, 2010


And lets not forget about Klose getting sent off after 20 minutes (or thereabouts) for two horrible yellow cards.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:56 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spometimes you just don't need to cheat at all - the beautiful game in effect! God that 1982 Brazil team deserved to win the World Cup. zico, Junior, Falcao, Socrates... *sighs*
posted by marienbad at 2:56 PM on June 21, 2010


Dude, Paul Pierce did EXACTLY THIS at home, went to the locker room, came back a minute later to a standing ovation and sparked a comeback.

Huh? Link? Why did he go to the locker room? Because he faked an injury after flopping, faked agony on the court, and faked getting checked out by a trainer in the locker room? Players go to the locker room quite often-- it's usually just a precautionary measure to give the team trainer a chance to look at something, major or minor, that's nagging the player.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 2:57 PM on June 21, 2010


What on earth are you going on about calling me a Celtics fan?

TWF, my apologies. I wouldn't want to be mistaken for a celtic fan either. But I am sick and tired of people disregarding the Lakers championship as some sort of gift of the referees. Especially considering how the Celtics play basketball.

There will always be a human element in calling fouls in basketball. But I don't think the officials are any worse than in any other major U.S. sport (football, baseball, hockey).

And I'll end my derail now.
posted by cjets at 2:58 PM on June 21, 2010


Before this thread turns ugl[y]/[ier] (delete as appropriate), perhaps we can all agree on something:
- People will cheat if they can get away with it
- No ref/umpire is perfect
- Nationality has nothing to do with it
- Different sports are different
posted by djgh at 2:59 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huh? Link?

Ta da!
posted by nathancaswell at 2:59 PM on June 21, 2010


"Hoo boy. Let's face it, if the English get out of the group stage will have their asses handed to them on a plate. They just look flat."

unfortunately you are so right it hurts mate. Jeez, that algeria game, they cut us a new one. I discovered swear words i didn't even know existed that night! appaling, worst rEngland display probably ever, well, at least in my lifetime. Abysmal in every department. We deserve to be going home after wednesday. Slovenia will be tough - they played well against USA.

"You're right; how could I forget? You English remember football history quite well. Come on Germany!!"

They have it tough too, after losing to Serbia, and if Ghana beat them and result in other game goes right way they could be out too.

So could be England, France, Germany, Italy all out. Why is this? is it the standard of smaller teams has improved and we Europeans were not ready for this sea change?
posted by marienbad at 3:00 PM on June 21, 2010


By the way, er...

I just wanted to mention offhand, just in case it isn't clear, that all of this joshing and joking around really isn't serious. I have always wanted to visit England, and I have a deep and heartfelt love of her customs and ideals. If there's a reason I mock England, it's because this is what England has taught me: that a good-natured rivalry means you stand up for your team, and that being a knowledgeable fan is a good thing.

And that goes for every country. Honestly, none of this is meant to insult or degrade anybody, and I hope everybody agrees with me when I say that we're all friends here and will take whatever's said in the spirit of friendliness. Right?

The whole point of the World Cup is to compete forcefully and leave the field as friends. Much love, everybody!

posted by koeselitz at 3:00 PM on June 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


> There will always be a human element in calling fouls in basketball. But I don't think the officials are any worse than in any other major U.S. sport (football, baseball, hockey).

Perhaps, perhaps not.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:01 PM on June 21, 2010


What if, instead of having rules against steroid use that aren't followed, why not just forget the purity of the game and allow every team to be steroid-mutants.

You get 73 home runs in a season.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:01 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anybody know what substance is in the magic spray bottles that is able to magically cure broken legs in 10 seconds? That stuff seems pretty invaluable - do they sell it over the counter?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:01 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


edit: actually, flat is waaay to kind a word for what happened. after looked at the clock and only 5 minutes had passed and i thought, good god, we are going to have to cope with this for 85+ more!?
posted by marienbad at 3:02 PM on June 21, 2010


AH&WO, there's this.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:04 PM on June 21, 2010


England didn't play well but that doesn't mean they're done for. Look at Portugal - they played sort of flat against Ivory Coast and turned it on today vs. DPRK. And England still has some really good players. The European teams still have a chance to turn it on and make it to the knockout stages.

Well, except for France. Oh, poor France. What a farce.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:04 PM on June 21, 2010


Koeslitz: "that all of this joshing and joking around really isn't serious"

absolutely mate. agree with your comment. Interesting to see people's views re: different sports and the cheating that goes on. Klinsman was a diver, Maradona's handball, rivaldo's collapsing-like-he'd been-shot-in-the-face. it all goes on, every country does it.
posted by marienbad at 3:06 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ta da!

Bwahaha, taking Charles Barkley's word for something? Kendrick Perkins, a 260-pound man, landed on his knee, Pierce heard a "pop," and thought that he'd be out for the seriers. They took him off w/ extreme caution, examined it in the locker room, worked it out, and sent him back in when they figured that he hadn't torn his meniscus. (This is spoken as a Laker fan btw). Why would the star player fake an injury during an NBA Finals game?
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 3:07 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


cjets: “I wouldn't want to be mistaken for a celtic fan either.”

Good god, why? Celtic are fucking awesome.
posted by koeselitz at 3:07 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spain certainly looked a hell of a lot better today, that's for sure. Italy and England...not looking great. England has world class players but players like Rooney have been non issues.
I still think they should have taken Bent instead of Heskey but that's spilled milk at this point.
posted by josher71 at 3:08 PM on June 21, 2010


Also: any american mefite footy fans want to guess at what the algeria usa result might be? algeria are good, quick passers, but lacked in front of goal, whereas US have goalscorers and can play solidly. Should be a good game.
posted by marienbad at 3:08 PM on June 21, 2010


"they should have taken Bent instead of Heskey "

YES! totally this. wtf is he doing taking a non-scoring striker?
posted by marienbad at 3:09 PM on June 21, 2010


2 USA - Algeria 0
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:09 PM on June 21, 2010


Why would the star player fake an injury during an NBA Finals game?

Look at the reaction of the crowd, that's why. Then look at the run the Celtics immediately went on after the stadium went apeshit. He missed all of 60 seconds. (This is spoken as a Celtics fan btw).
posted by nathancaswell at 3:10 PM on June 21, 2010


My guess on the match will be USA - 2 and Algeria -1. Algeria to score first.
posted by josher71 at 3:11 PM on June 21, 2010


That's not the only example of Pierce pulling that move to get the fans going, btw, just the highest profile and most shameless.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:11 PM on June 21, 2010


AH&WO - yes, sounds good to me.

also, slovenia 1, england 0.

England out - booo, *sings* what a load of rubbish...

France 0 South Africa 1
Mexico 0 Uruguay 0

France out hoorah!
posted by marienbad at 3:12 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Diving bad, steroids good. Now bring the bucket if chicken wings, it SPORTS NIGHT IN THE US.
posted by mr.marx at 3:12 PM on June 21, 2010


What I find interesting is that even where there is actually a foul, the fouled player still exaggerates the result by tripping over his own feet, or not making any attempt to keep himself from falling over. I assume this is at least in part to make sure the ref - who may be far from the action - actually sees that something took place. This, I think, makes sense, and while I still have a negative gut reaction to it, I understand it.

The flagrant stuff, on the other hand, needs to go. "Part of the game" or not, it makes your team look like a bunch of pussies.
posted by schoolgirl report at 3:12 PM on June 21, 2010


I don't know, I like Mexico's chances to win that one.
posted by josher71 at 3:12 PM on June 21, 2010


You're being a bit harsh on England. I think they got the message and, knowing that they can't afford another draw, they'll push it against Slovenia.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:13 PM on June 21, 2010


My feeling is that if you're a good enough player to be at the World Cup, flop or not, you aren't a "pussy".
posted by josher71 at 3:14 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


France, though, I think you got that one right. I just really can't understand it. Players are going to SIT OUT?! Who gives a shit if you hate the coach! Go play some soccer (football, whatever) and try to win!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:14 PM on June 21, 2010


marienbad: “France out hoorah!”

They did it to themselves, really. The whole mess amongst the players, and the belligerence of the coach, ensured this. I hesitate to say this is karma, but I am a Johnston.
posted by koeselitz at 3:14 PM on June 21, 2010


England is always surprised when they lose, as they think they invented soccer.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:15 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"the fouled player still exaggerates the result by tripping over his own feet,"

when you are running with the ball and someone crops you, the momentum takes you over. mainly, although there have been exagerations.

@Josher - Mexico and Urauey only need a draw to progress though. shades of germany v austria in 82? will FIFA intervene?

@AH&WO - I think it is too late, there is disharmony and fear on a level they have never experienced before. I could be completely wrong though, that's part of the beauty it. Look at Spain v Swiss! and still Spain could go out!!
posted by marienbad at 3:17 PM on June 21, 2010


Is this something I would have to not still feel sick about Kaka's red card to understand?

Seriously, though, I do really appreciate good sportsmanship, and I enjoyed watching the Brazil-North Korea game. So little whining, so little diving, and helping up your opponent is classy.
posted by fiercecupcake at 3:19 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Swiss are the Stoke City of the World Cup. Huge players, not that good, can still get a shocking result, and can defend like a motherfucker.
posted by josher71 at 3:19 PM on June 21, 2010


Koeselitz: Well played, sir.
posted by cjets at 3:20 PM on June 21, 2010


Marienbad, what is the scenario that they might not go through on a draw? Is there one?
posted by josher71 at 3:23 PM on June 21, 2010


nathancaswell, I think you're missing the point (or maybe think that the injury/faked injury was on that first three-pointer in the clip?)-- Perkins, his own teammate, landed on his leg. He's not flopping if his own teammate is the cause. Ronaldo isn't taking a dive if his teammate inadvertently stomps on his leg and Ronaldo things that he's finished for the WC and crumbles to the ground in pain/fear.

I'm not saying that the whole wheelchair/locker-room/ready-to-play sequence wasn't a little dramatic, but using this as an example of NBA players flopping is doing a huge disservice to your point :/

FWIW, when I was watching that game and saw it all happen, I figured that Pierce thought he'd torn his meniscus and was reacting as much to being out of the series for good as he was to the pain; on the flip-side of the coin, when he got a check-up in the locker room and the trainer said that he was fine, he was pumped and ready to get back on the floor.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 3:23 PM on June 21, 2010


"The whole mess amongst the players, and the belligerence of the coach, ensured this"

yeah, Domenech should have gone after they lost 1 - 0 in a friendly to China. China ffs, ranked about 74th in FIFA rankings. The French Junior sports minister (i cant recall her name) commented about their lavish accommodation and said something like "they had better do well." well said mrs/miss Junior Sports Minister.
posted by marienbad at 3:24 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only time a basketball player holds himself in agony is when he's actually injured.

In general, in US sports, being injured only stops you if it makes you absolutely incapable of playing. Look at the number of American Football players who've played in casts, the number of hockey players paying after they've swallowed their own teeth, etc.

This is the land of "Walk it off, son." The idea of diving and faking an injury is bizarre to us, because we know that the coach would give us holy hell if we faked an injury.

In general, while there is cheating, it's only because the act is completely hidden from the officials, and at the moment it's exposed, the perp is nailed for it. Diving is seen as a bad way to win -- you should beat the other guy, not be crying for a foul. Indeed, what US players want is correct calls and consistent judgement calls. There's not a pitcher in the world who prefers the inconsistently called strike zone -- even if it's generally smaller than another's consistent strike zone.

Personally, the right answer is simple -- give out red/yellow cards *after* the game to those caught in the act on tape. FIFA will void a yellow or a red if, after the game, it is shown to be completely wrong, they should use that precedent to correctly hand out the red. If you were wrongly sent off because of a dive, the person who drew the dive should get the RC transferred to them.
posted by eriko at 3:25 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a fun fact: the national team of the Faroe Islands (pop. 50,000) is ranked higher than the national team of India (pop. 1,150,000,000). How about that.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:26 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


@Josher - Mexico and Uruaguay have 4 points each, South Africa and France have 1. so if they draw they both have 5 and that is france and SA out.

also that nplusone mag review is excellent and hilarious.
posted by marienbad at 3:26 PM on June 21, 2010


My feeling is that if you're a good enough player to be at the World Cup, flop or not, you aren't a "pussy".

Agreed. Thus, they should stop acting like pussies.
posted by schoolgirl report at 3:27 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why would the star player fake an injury during an NBA Finals game?

Maybe he's a James Brown fan.

In baseball, this is about as close to soccer-diving as it gets. And it boils my blood just to see it.

What a tool. First he fakes getting hit too late, after the ball wasn't even that close. Then he strikes out and jabs the bat at the ump, resulting in a well-deserved ejection. Then he throws a temper tantrum after being ejected. I guess if you're the kind of jerk who'd fake getting hurt, you wouldn't have the self-respect to not throw a tantrum.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:29 PM on June 21, 2010


marienbad: “yeah, Domenech should have gone after they lost 1 - 0 in a friendly to China. China ffs, ranked about 74th in FIFA rankings. The French Junior sports minister (i cant recall her name) commented about their lavish accommodation and said something like "they had better do well." well said mrs/miss Junior Sports Minister.”

China was bad, but this week has been ridiculous for France. Seriously, even if they were gonna let the friendly to China slide, they should've sacked Domenech in a heartbeat after the French players walked off and refused to practice, and he responded by calling them all "imbeciles."

If I were French, I'd want his head on a stake right about now. Domenech has been a world-class jerk all through this.
posted by koeselitz at 3:30 PM on June 21, 2010


I love how the article sites this year's Inter team as an "Italian" team; there was what, Matterazzi & maybe one or two other actual Italians warming the bench?

Another good one is failing to note that the Azzurri won in 2006 quite possibly largely in response to Calciopoli, that Serie A has had quite the shakeup as well, and that one of the most respected refs in recent history, Pierluigi Collina, is now guiding the reffing program.

Shoddy article. And I'm pretty fucking tired of the lol wops crap that happens in any thread about Italy and/or footie; unfortunately they don't really happen often enough to actually warrent a MeTa community issue post, so I shall merely avoid said threads from now on.

May the best team win. Waka waka.
posted by romakimmy at 3:30 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


schoolgirl report: “Agreed. Thus, they should stop acting like pussies.”

Pussies are fucking awesome. "Acting like a pussy" would presumably mean "acting with powerful finesse to win whatever contest you are a part of."

So, yeah: everybody should act like a pussy.
posted by koeselitz at 3:32 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I guess if you're the kind of jerk who'd fake getting hurt, you wouldn't have the self-respect to not throw a tantrum." - See Christiano Ronaldo, who has child like tantrums (hitting pitch with fists, jumping up and down) when he is tackled and a foul isn't called.

ok, bed for me, is late in England. nice talking to y'all.

COME ON ENGLAND. and (whispers) argentina.
posted by marienbad at 3:32 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's "lol wops" going on? I'm not seeing it but can you elaborate?
posted by josher71 at 3:34 PM on June 21, 2010


I'm pretty fucking tired of the lol wops crap that happens in any thread about Italy and/or footie

Well, it's not like it's just a few random people on Metafilter ragging on Italy. They're sort of the poster boy of national teams for diving. And, you probably didn't like this commercial when it played a few years ago.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:36 PM on June 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Can someone explain why Kaká's red card is controversial? Because I keep watching the video, and what I see is Kaká deliberately elbowing the guy in the chest (but trying to be inconspicuous about it). What am I missing?
posted by equalpants at 3:37 PM on June 21, 2010


Also, romakimmy's comment could be a really good example of "diving" in a Metafilter thread. There wasn't any actual racism or hint of racism in the thread, just a few comments reiterating the commonly held assumption that Italian players often dive during matches. So romakimmy comes in and "dives" by accusing others of blatant racism, hoping that the mods come in and notice his comment, notice his outrage, but don't actual police the thread. The dive is meant to sabotage the thread, get a few comments deleted, maybe even have the thread nuked, even though close observers will notice that such a foul was not perpetrated and such action would be unwarranted.

Bravo for a clever demonstration of the theme of the OP well displayed, romakimmy. Well played.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:41 PM on June 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


Because I keep watching the video, and what I see is Kaká deliberately elbowing the guy in the chest (but trying to be inconspicuous about it). What am I missing?

What I see is Keita running at Kaka, who puts his arm out to block him and does touch him with his elbow or forearm in the chest, followed by Keita grabbing his face, falling to the ground, and rolling around for a couple minutes until Kaka gets his second booking. He probably learned it from Rivaldo, so it's hard to have tons of sympathy, but this is Kaka we're talking about, about as good a sport as the game has.

But, as one commentator said afterward, all Keita's really done is weaken the Brazil team in the face of an upcoming match with the Ivory Coast's rivals for an advancement place, so it's really kind of stupid of him regardless.
posted by Errant at 3:46 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, I'm sorry to everyone who got upset about my comment. I am actually so annoyed because I live in the US, and I am fed up with the stupid comments I'm getting from co-workers/fellow pub watchers who honestly appear to think that the ref has been paid by FIFA to make sure the USA does not outshine all the other countries. Americans on the internet are all way more informed, in my experience.

also I am so annoyed because Australia suck
posted by jacalata at 3:49 PM on June 21, 2010


Domenech has been a world-class jerk all through this.

He should probably have been sacked after 2006, and he definitely should have been sacked after France went out in the group stage of Euro 2008. That FFF kept him on is a mystery to everyone, and in my opinion they're directly culpable for the idiocy we're seeing now, no matter how petulant and stupid the French players are currently being. When you keep around a coach that everyone hates, who picks his players based on whether their astrological signs suit their position, and who attempted to deflect criticism of France's performance by proposing to his girlfriend in the post-match press conference following their Euro exit, you're asking for the insanity that's followed. For the federation to shirk the blame is absurd. They created this situation, even though everyone could see for years how the team was collapsing around him. The sooner Laurent Blanc gets in there and can start fresh, the better, because this is just embarrassing.
posted by Errant at 3:58 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


So the objection is that the elbow wasn't deliberate?

That was certainly a hell of a show that Keita put on afterwards, but man, it looks pretty deliberate to me--like Kaká was trying to sneak in a revenge hit while everyone was distracted. He even leans into it as he delivers.
posted by equalpants at 3:58 PM on June 21, 2010


Can someone explain why Kaká's red card is controversial? Because I keep watching the video, and what I see is Kaká deliberately elbowing the guy in the chest (but trying to be inconspicuous about it). What am I missing?
posted by equalpants:

If it helps, this is the best perspective on the whole thing that I've seen on Youtube. Really and truly ridiculous – Kaká was pretty much just standing there, and Keïta lunged at him. And the referee clearly couldn't have seen what happened at all.

It would be one thing if Kaká had even seen what what happening. All he knew was that somebody was running at him, so he put up his arm. The arm didn't even really touch Keïta, but Keïta went down crying. Awful officiation.
posted by koeselitz at 3:59 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I must say I'm disappointed at the way the World Cup threads have turned out so far. I can't make a claim to understanding exactly what goes wrong each time, but it seems to be a combination of:

1) Ingrained schoolyard patronizing of the U.S./Americans who "don't know the rules" and "can't play anyway";

2) Irritation at some Americans making comments that strike some others as unfitting the spirit of the sport or as downright noobish;

3) Widespread confusion about the cultural norms and traditions surrounding football.

-----------

As for the first point, I'm not American, I love football, and I wish this would stop. I keep having to explain to fellow Europeans how America has come a long way, how yes, it's hardly national sport #1 for them but hey, did you know something like the MLS existed? And that there are many Americans who have a more sincere passion for, and a greater knowledge of, the game than many football-loving Dutch I know? Oh, and "soccer" is fine. People in different dialects use different words for the same things. If you're not okay with that, take the lift down to the car park and lock yourself in the boot of the car, you git.

On the second one, I find myself caging my comments so as to not provoke Americans' ire, or so as to not come across as generalizing, when I do find myself honestly agreeing with some of these sentiments. Without any reservations whatsoever about America or about football in the U.S., it does seem to me sometimes some Americans seem in their comments not to take into account that we have been arguing about football for longer than America exists. This of course does not lend "our" self-important banter -- you'd perhaps call it "Monday morning quarterbacking" -- any more legitimacy than yours, but please don't be offended if we can't help but laugh at, say, the suggestion that the offside rule should be scrapped (believe me, we tried), or upthread, that "[f]ouls [...] should be done away with except in the case of blood". I mean, really? This [SEMI-GRAPHIC FOOTAGE] would be okay? These poor guys, no foul? Come on. I'd be the first to acknowledge that (amateur) football punditry is a cultural minefield rife with shibboleths, but, you know, do some research. There are flaws to the sport just like there are to any other, but anything you're likely to say without Googling it first? Someone probably will have thought of it. Oh, and listen to Moss.

Lastly, the norms and traditions bit. I am absolutely clueless as to how to state my case here without coming off as a gigantic douchebag, but that's probably because I'm Dutch. See, koeselitz makes a tremendously important point upthread, that seems to be widely underestimated. I mean, the comment about Klose having been sent off due to bad refereeing? I had to restrain myself not to post "That's okay, because he's German". It's almost like because I'm Dutch, there's a special sectioned off area called "football" where it's okay to be racist about Germans. I can't say I condone that, but it is what I grew up in, and I will admit I like the jokes. I invite you to take a look at a television ad that passes as completely uncontroversial in the Netherlands, one of many with similar imagery when the European or World Cups roll around. (You don't need translation of the German dialogue: all you need to know is that there is a t-shirt you can get that changes colour under body heat.) I mean, we don't mention the war, but that's about it. I'll assure you that if me and my friends were to find ourselves in Berlin during a Holland-Germany game (would that it had come to pass in '06), we'd drink beer and have fun in peace with our German friends, but rest assured the jokes would not be appropriate to relay to your parents!

More:
This would have been your prize (German)
Germans have white license plates, Dutch yellow ones (Dutch)
The reverse, with speed cameras (German)
The room whisperer (Dutch)

-----------

Anyway, we're going to assemble the final sixteen starting tomorrow. Let's enjoy the games together, shall we?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:00 PM on June 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Even if they're the worst int'l team in this year's WC, I've loved watching the North Koreans play a dive-free style (didn't see them vs. Portugal today and, looking at the score, it doesn't look like they did much of anything). I'm sure it doesn't do them any favors, but I've got a lot of respect for DPRK's style. Kim Jong Il might not understand much, but he knows what I like -- and don't like -- in a sport.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 4:01 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


equalpants: “That was certainly a hell of a show that Keita put on afterwards, but man, it looks pretty deliberate to me--like Kaká was trying to sneak in a revenge hit while everyone was distracted. He even leans into it as he delivers.”

The essential fact of the story is that Kaká didn't hit Keïta. Didn't even touch him. They collided, but their hips collided, likely without much contact at all.

The entire "hit" was a fraud.
posted by koeselitz at 4:02 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


equalpants: could be because the fellow falls to the ground clutching his face? It might be a bit of a you see what you want to see, but seriously it really looks like the other guy jogged into Kaká, got a little push as in, "hey don't run into me dude" and then dude clutches his face and acts as if he's been belted one in the nose.
posted by edgeways at 4:03 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, for those of you wondering about tie-breaking / next-stage qualification scenarios, they're often a headache of contingencies. Check out Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_FIFA_World_Cup_Group_A

And vary the URL for groups B up to H. They all have tables clearly specifying the possible scenarios and their outcomes.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:06 PM on June 21, 2010


A concern about diving is perhaps relevant to a concern about steroids, the above-mentioned prospect of steroid mutants... that it gets to be part of the game, part of being "good" for players at ever-younger ages.

Or maybe it already is. Have lotsa soccer/football players 14 or so and younger, those in lower leagues long ago perfected their diving skills?
posted by ambient2 at 4:09 PM on June 21, 2010


If it helps, this is the best perspective on the whole thing that I've seen on Youtube. Really and truly ridiculous – Kaká was pretty much just standing there, and Keïta lunged at him. And the referee clearly couldn't have seen what happened at all.

Ah, that does help, thanks. I hadn't seen how far away Keïta was when he started heading for Kaká. Clearly he was looking for trouble. It still looks to me like Kaká deliberately throws his elbow at Keïta, though. Did the elbow really not touch him at all? In both of the angles here, it really looks like the elbow connects.

Yeah, obviously Keïta flopped big time. But is that relevant? I mean, either Kaká deserved a card or he didn't, regardless of Keïta's reaction...
posted by equalpants at 4:12 PM on June 21, 2010


Arsenio, it's a cumulative effect over the years of hearing "greasy, diving, masochistic corrupt mafiosi" and I'm just an American expat who's fed up with the same pat media lines that get trotted out & parroted every time. Note that this is not limited to footie threads here.

I flag & move on where neccesary but since the numbers of MeFites here in Italy is infintesimal, It's really only my hide & maybe a few others that gets chapped. Please feel free to memail me if you would like to continue the discussion, though I will most likely reply tommorow as it's late.

Now, more importantly since I've had the damn song stuck in my head all day: why is there no Fozzie Bear - Shakira mashup?
posted by romakimmy at 4:13 PM on June 21, 2010


To me it seems pretty clear that Keita actually smacks his face against Kaka's shoulder. Incidental contact, but I think Keita got the worst of it and actually did get hit in the deal in a way that might have seemed to him to come out of nowhere.

Still, it's no more of a deliberate flop than a hundred thousand others. Get bumped? Is it to your advantage to stop the play or think maybe the other guy might get a yellow card? Grab your face and fall down, son!
posted by fleacircus at 4:17 PM on June 21, 2010


American's need to get over themselves.
I see what Ken Silverstein did there...by histrionically referring to Landon Donovan as an "ass" he used theatrics and unintelligible logic to pretend he saw the US-Slovenia match and knows something about football by suggesting that little Slovenia and its tiny GDP deserve more credit. The poor, under appreciated, Slovenian players played hard; Slovenia and even had the strength, courage, and sportsmanship to show their appreciation to the Americans for playing such a good game by going to the trouble of giving the Americans lots and lots of bearhugs while Edu was kicking that goal. Yet, what did poor economically disadvantaged Slovenia get in return? Not a word of thanks. Not an ounce of credit for playing a strong game against the USA, what with an American GDP and purchasing power the size of Landon Donovan's forehead! Ergo, Landon Donovan is an "ass" for suggesting the the Slovenians might have benefited from a bad call by an inexperienced referee. Brilliant!

And then Spain scores a kick ass goal and you forget.
How could anyone forget David Villa - he was spectacular today. Or are you referring to when the ball bounced off of Whinaldo* today into the goal while he was offside?

*I jest. It takes a brilliant player to make scoring a goal look like shooing away an insect. When he uses his theatrical skills for good, rather than evil, he is magnificent.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:30 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Football's cheats: Kaka red card and other 'losing face' moments on YouTube
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:35 PM on June 21, 2010


Is it to your advantage to stop the play or think maybe the other guy might get a yellow card?

That's the funniest part, it's so not to Keita's advantage. They're not going to score 2 goals in two minutes, and Ivory Coast need Brazil to absolutely batter Portugal if they have any hope of making up what is now a 9-goal margin. Really, neither Keita nor the Nigerian Kaita have covered themselves in glory here or given anyone the impression they have a lick of sense. Although given how generally ineffectual Kaká has been in the two matches, maybe he thought that forcing Dunga to shuffle his pack would help. Probably he was just being a dick, though.

But is that relevant? I mean, either Kaká deserved a card or he didn't, regardless of Keïta's reaction...

It's relevant in that football is a semi-contact sport, as they say, and a certain amount of jostling is perfectly fine. What seems to have happened is that a sideline referee, either a linesman or the fourth official, has seen some contact between Kaká and Keita followed by Keita holding his face and jumped to the conclusion that the former struck the latter, which is construed as violent conduct no matter how incidental the contact and is a dismissable offense. (Which, by the way, is why David Villa should have been sent off today and Clint Dempsey should absolutely have walked in the first minute of the US - Slovenia match.) But if it's a forearm touch to the chest or a bit of shoving between the two, it's not necessarily an infraction, so Keita's reaction was clearly designed to get Kaká sent off by implying a more serious transgression. We call that "simulation", which is a very polite word for "cheating".
posted by Errant at 4:42 PM on June 21, 2010


Probably he was just being a dick, though.

God, stop being so phallus-ist.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:53 PM on June 21, 2010


I stopped watching soccer when Fake Injury Theatre became more important than the ball-kicking part.
posted by Aquaman at 4:59 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


We call that "simulation", which is a very polite word for "cheating".

Yes, but what I mean is that Keïta's antics aren't relevant to the question of whether Kaká deserved a card for what he did. Either Keïta swayed the ref towards making the wrong call, or he swayed the ref towards making the right call. Keïta was obviously wrong, but Kaká may have been wrong too.
posted by equalpants at 5:12 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well to be honest I think all fouls in soccer are flops, so this may be confirmation bias. Everytime someone falls down it looks fake to me.
Kind of puts this video in perspective. The girl who got a ton of flack for hair pulling on the field a while back. I think it's pretty obvious the girl flopped (and this was after, if you watch carefully the girl grabbed her shorts and gave her a wedgie before getting her hair pulled. )
posted by delmoi at 5:18 PM on June 21, 2010


To expand on my earlier comment, I disagree with one premise of this article: that some nations cheat at football more than others. Everyone cheats, they simply do it differently (which I guess is the stated premise of the article, although the author lets the English and the Germans off the hook pretty easily). The English dive and get very self-righteous in the press about foreigners doing it. The Italians will foul you when the ref isn't looking and then fall over. The Ivoiriens will dive and then look like you shot their dog when they don't get a foul (I'm looking at you, Drogba); and for all the complaints about Kaka's "foul," Brasil was just as bad for most of that match. At one point I thought Luis Fabiano was dead. The Germans might not dive as much, but they will put you on your ass pretty quick, and one of their keepers might bite you. Argentines have the "hand of God" reputation, but can also be extremely violent players (I once saw a River Plate-Boca Juniors match in which three red cards were handed out in the second half). America may not have learned how to dive, but anyone remember US-Italy in 2006?

Ultimately, linking cheating to the International Transparency Index is unfair. Corrupt officiating is probably a different story, but gamesmanship is universal.

Now if you'll excuse me...

You're not siBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZny more! YoBZZZZZzzzzZZZinging anyBZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZzzzzzzZZZZZ
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:19 PM on June 21, 2010


delmoi: “Kind of puts this video in perspective. The girl who got a ton of flack for hair pulling on the field a while back. I think it's pretty obvious the girl flopped (and this was after, if you watch carefully the girl grabbed her shorts and gave her a wedgie before getting her hair pulled. )”

Heh. I remember that. What stood out to me then, and stands out to me now, is the absolutely silly way the referee comes off – in several shots he's seen standing there, almost looking at his shoes, just talking to the girls: "well, you see... I think... uh..."

Never would've happened anywhere else. Anywhere else it would've been – red card, walk away.
posted by koeselitz at 5:23 PM on June 21, 2010


LIST OF SOCCER IMPROVEMENTS
By An American

Pre-game
1. Where's the singing of your national anthems? What's with this orchestra bullshit? We need to have an excuse to shoot off fireworks, when you go to a football game you get fireworks at "bombs bursting in air" AND "rockets red glare." If you come from one of those panzy countries that doesn't have an anthem with references to things blowing up then we will let you use ours. Fuck it, you're all using ours, because ours is fucking awesome. At the end when they sing, "Land of the Braves" you yell your own country's name. It is fucking awesome.

2. After the national anthems are over you need a flyover. The best one is the B2 bomber because you can't hear the fucking thing and then all of a sudden you see this big black thing flying over the sky and it's all like, "Didn't see me? Fuck you, good luck stopping me from dropping a bomb all over this fucking stadium," OR the 4 helicopter flyover that's real, real low. It is like you're in the shit in 'Nam and you're waving at them and cheering them on and spilling your $9 beer over everyone around you.

During the game
1. First, you need time outs and quarters. Sometimes it'll be like super boring and then BOOM a goal, so I have a hard time figuring out when to go to the bathroom or get a new beer. I propose that you just divide it into 10 minute segments. Not that hard is it? Your players get a break and I get a break and the television people have commercial time.

2. Where's the color commentary? Where's your Hank Stram? Instead I get this guy from the British Museum who sort of makes little understated things all the time, "Looks like he's going to have a go at it now, oh and he misses." I want someone up their with a little piss and vinegar. I want to be yelled at, I want you to make stupid metaphors. Fuck do we have to bring Dennis Miller back to get things up to speed.

3. Penalties are bullshit. Let players tackle and be fucking pricks, we have the equipment, we have the technology. No arm tackling as that would be football, but go ahead let them plow into each other. Soccer would be a hit just for watching players base slide into each other. This is incredibly cathartic if you have people like Rinaldo, everytime some scrappy player from your side plows into him you get to go wild.

4. Your coaches are all pussies. Like what's up with the English coach? Does he design modern furniture on the side? Your coaches need to gain some weight, look like they drink a quart of whiskey a day and be constantly yelling on the sidelines. Yell about what? Hell if I know, but it better be directed at either officials or players coming of the field. The only respectable coach I've seen is the North Korean guy who looks like he's committed war crimes. That guy is going to chew your ass out in the locker room.

5. Which brings me to ... pansy players. We're still not sure if Beckham is light in his cleats. You don't see that with Joe Namath. Fuck he'd punch you square in the jaw just for looking at him wrong. I've heard good things about George Best, but everyone else looks like they're trolloping through a meadow picking fucking flowers.

6. NFL Films. You need a FIFA Films. I need things explained to me. What the hell are they doing passing back and forth? Fuck if I know. I need it told to me in slow motion, with John Facenda voice overs. Not that hard, you guys gave us Wagner and what happens when you come up with a soccer soundtrack? New Order? New Fucking Order? Why don't you just play soccer all depressed in your bedroom if you're going to go to fucking New Order for your sports material. Listen to this. That's going to battle music, New Order is what you listen to before taking x at a club, Christ Almighty.
posted by geoff. at 5:47 PM on June 21, 2010 [13 favorites]


Joe Jordan handball for Scotland in the 1978 World Cup qualifier.

I am deeply offended and may disable my account at this outrageous slur.

Cheers for kicker conspiracy and the koeslitz celtic thing, great.

Now give me a break, the italian soccer team are a bunch of diving so and so's - i was just explaining this to my gf when they got a penalty against new zealand in the most dubious manner. Uruguay take the most dirty team award though - I simply do not know why they are allowed in world cups.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:49 PM on June 21, 2010


and also it may be time for sparta fc
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:53 PM on June 21, 2010


What if no one is flopping at this year's World Cup, and it's just a series of vuvuzela-inspired seizures? Seizures concentrated in the "faking bastard" lobe of the brain?
Either that, or no one has learned the important lessons about faking injuries that The Mighty Ducks, Seinfeld, and Bob Roberts have taught us.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 5:57 PM on June 21, 2010


At the end when they sing, "Land of the Braves"

Um... Check your lyric sheet.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:00 PM on June 21, 2010


Well we can't give other nations exactly our version, can we?
posted by geoff. at 6:09 PM on June 21, 2010


Amazing that after the numerous dives, Hollywood acting and working of the ref during the NZ-Italy game that netted them penalty after penalty, Italian fans still whine about Smeltz's goal being offside. Then they're suddenly sticklers for the rules.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:10 PM on June 21, 2010


Nicolas Sarkozy steps in to quash France's World Cup feud
posted by homunculus at 6:14 PM on June 21, 2010


At the end when they sing, "Land of the Braves"

Um... Check your lyric sheet.


Yeah, it hasn't really been the Land of the Braves since soon after Columbus landed.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:19 PM on June 21, 2010


And I'm pretty fucking tired of the lol wops crap that happens in any thread about Italy and/or footie; unfortunately they don't really happen often enough to actually warrent a MeTa community issue post, so I shall merely avoid said threads from now on.

Yeah, I'm trying to avoid piling on here, but no one has been calling Italian wops or saying anything that isn't fair. The Italian team is notorious the world over for diving but, what makes it worse, is that they also make bad, dirty tackles. Again, because I don't want to seem like I'm piling on I am not going to provide examples. Are there other countries that make bad, dirty tackles? Of course, but when you combine the two things and the fact that the Italian team have benefited time and time again from what's known euphemistically as 'the dark arts' (see the game v Australia in the last world cup, De Rossi's dive against NZ yesterday) if there is a thread about poor refereeing decisions in football it's going to be pretty fucking hard not to mention the Italian national football team. I feel about the Italian team the same way as I feel about Michael Schumacher: amazingly talented, terrible sportsman.
posted by ob at 6:33 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


My impression (Brazilian, with Brazilian/South American friends), and I have mentioned this before, is that we see diving like those old TV western poker games, where everyone is cheating and pulling cards from their sleeves, and everyone suspects the other guy is cheating, but can't prove it and play along until someone ends up with five aces in their hand and gets shot in the face. Then, at the end of the game, all (but one) of the remaining players go home in the certainty that they lost because have been robbed, and every other player is a lying cheating bastard.

That is, the referee's fallibility is considered a part of the game. That is, especially since diving's already foreseen in the rules, and there is a prescribed punishment for getting caught, and everyone is already doing it (something something broken window), it is considered less of a morally wrong act, and more of a game theoretic tradeoff intrinsic to the game. It is, let's say, something akin to California speed limits - since everyone drives 15mph above it, and you know the prescribed punishment for it, you just keep up with the flow, at the risk of getting pulled over and ticketed.

Back to soccer, every once in a while a player gets punished for it, and everyone gets their sense of justice and holier-than-thou (like seeing someone blatantly speeding pulled over, or some blatant poker cheater getting shot in the face), but the other cases provide one of the most important parts of soccer fandom, which is bitching about being robbed by the referee.
posted by qvantamon at 6:43 PM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


romakimmy: “And I'm pretty fucking tired of the lol wops crap that happens in any thread about Italy and/or footie; unfortunately they don't really happen often enough to actually warrent a MeTa community issue post, so I shall merely avoid said threads from now on.”

I'm pretty sure nobody meant it in a "lol wops" kind of way – that would be terrible, but everybody here is, I think, just speaking in the spirit of competitive rivalry, not of national hatred or bigotry.

I do think it's sort of incumbent on everybody to give Italy a little hell, considering that they're the champions from last time around, and considering that the title then was well deserved. Also, if you're really unhappy about Italy's international football reputation, just think about how French people must feel.
posted by koeselitz at 6:47 PM on June 21, 2010


Intentional fouling isn't cheating. There isn't a rule against it.

That's true, there isn't a rule against disobeying the rules.

Wittgenstein could have been a crafty football coach.
posted by painquale at 7:07 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do think it's sort of incumbent on everybody to give Italy a little hell, considering that they're the champions from last time around, and considering that the title then was well deserved.

Bollocks. They only beat Australia (thereby progressing to the second round of the finals) by milking a penalty through a histrionic stage-dive in the closing minutes.

Granted, they may have prevailed anyway if the match had gone to a penalty shootout, but penalty shootouts can go either way, and Italy have a bit of a history of fucking them up.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:38 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Football's fine. Leave it alone.
posted by doublehappy at 7:52 PM on June 21, 2010


Wow, I would totally watch the game that geoff. is proposing. Sounds way more fun than this chasing a ball around a field stuff.
posted by octothorpe at 8:04 PM on June 21, 2010


Keïta was obviously wrong, but Kaká may have been wrong too.
posted by equalpants


Keita should have received a yellow card for the dive, but Kaka did not do anything worthy of even a foul call. Player's frequently jostle each other like that, the referee's must have assumed that he hit Keita in the face because of his reaction, they wouldn't have called it for a jostling arm to the midsection.

Another bad call was the red card against Switzerland today vs. Chile. The guy had his arms up high to protect the ball and should've been called for a foul, maybe a yellow at most, but the Chilean player dove like crazy as if the Swiss player had elbowed him as hard as he could, and they essentially won the game off of it.
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:07 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dreadful article. Epic thread. Great post. Well played.
posted by motty at 8:30 PM on June 21, 2010


I watched a great documentary last night called, "Their greatest game." It was about the North Korean team scoring a suprise upset against Italy in the 1966 world cup. In this they showed footage of a game between Korea and the U.S.S.R. and the soviet players were literally, grabbing the smaller Korean players, picking them up ala WWF and slamming them to the ground. There were no calls made, no rolling on the ground by the Koreans, up they leapt and the game continued. The diving situation as it is now, is appalling and it is because FIFA has gone over board in punishing contact in a game when a penalty kick often decides games and series. Football (soccer) is a beautiful sport, but the house FIFA has created in its reffing is awful.
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 8:54 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


nathancaswell: “Intentional fouling isn't cheating. There isn't a rule against it.”

Then why is there a punishment for it?
posted by koeselitz at 9:14 PM on June 21, 2010


Intentional fouling isn't cheating. There isn't a rule against it.”

Then why is there a punishment for it?
posted by koeselitz


I would class it as a rules violation, which is distinct from cheating in my mind. For instance an intentional foul to prevent a goal is part and parcel of soccer at all levels. It should be and is penalized with penalty kicks and/or red cards, but calling it cheating doesn't make sense to me. I think the word cheating should be reserved for game rigging and/ or other more nefarious forms of intentional and flagrant violations of the rules (and spirit) of the game.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:26 PM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The "punishment" you speak of is actually the product of a discourse of power/knowledge that produces disciplined bodies within a structure characterised by panoptically ubiquitous television cameras. You cannot reduce it to a mere mechanism of rules & punishments without completely ignoring the way in which it is the discourse itself that provides the structured Logos within which these power/knowledge relations take place.

Sheesh, why am I even trying to explain this to an American?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:27 PM on June 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Intentional fouling isn't cheating. There isn't a rule against it.”

Then why is there a punishment for it?

We're mixing sports here. I was talking about basketball. There's a punishment for fouling. At the end of the game the coach/players determine if the punishment is worth the change of possession. If it is, they foul. They try to foul a player who is bad at free throws. There is no extra rule against, nor punishment for, intentional fouling. I'm not really a basketball fan but, as an American Football fan, I can appreciate the strategic reasoning for intentional fouls and enjoy seeing the clock management aspect play out. Sometimes you have to in order to give yourself a chance to win. But American Football still takes the cake for this. See: the intentional safety.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:36 PM on June 21, 2010


Intentional fouling isn't cheating. There isn't a rule against it.

Exactly. It's dirty pool, maybe, but it's done knowing that it will almost certainly be seen and that a foul (possibly a technical) will get called on it, and you make that choice based on whether it's worth it. Diving seems a lot more like cheating to me. (Though it heartens me to see players getting carded for that, too, when the refs catch it)

Kaka's red card was total bullshit, of course. Keika ran straight for him and then pretended to have been attacked. And it sucks that Kaka will be out for the Portugal game, but all that will really do is hurt Cote d'Ivoire, and Brazil beat them handily anyway. In the U.S./Slovenia case, Americans are pissed because it cost them the game and possibly their chance to make it into the next round, and nobody has explained what the call even fucking was.

I do love North Korea in all of this, though. They stymied BRAZIL for a full half because, though they can't attack for shit, they've got a solid defense of the midfield which throws better teams off of their games. Even in the portugal blowout, Portugal only scored one goal in the first half. Both Brazil and Portugal had to go back at the half and reconfigure their strategies based on what DPRK were doing to their offenses. And the North Koreans have been completely sportsmanlike about it the entire time.

That said, I had to laugh, watching over the highlights of the DPRK game today, where their goalie missed shot after shot while wearing a particularly blue shirt, and my roommate cried out, "Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a goalkeeper!"
posted by Navelgazer at 11:48 PM on June 21, 2010


Undercover footage of Italian* training camp shows coach encouraging questionable practices

* or, I think its Italy? Insert any other team name here
posted by memebake at 11:51 PM on June 21, 2010


Football is a gentleman's sport played by hooligans (and rugby is a hooligan's sport played by gentlemen.)
posted by slimepuppy at 12:05 AM on June 22, 2010



The whole Keita/Kaka dust up was, I thought at the time (and admittedly I have no football chops and a wholly irrational dislike of Kaka and had been enjoying I am not exactly sure how many beers), the result of a solid half-hours worth of shenanigans on Kaka's part. Seeing clips now that tempers have cooled a bit, maybe Kaka did not get the fairest shake there.

Portugal - North Korea was a very physical game. The North Koreans did not dive but the got and gave with intent. It was as though they did not know diving was an option. I was sorry to see them fold at the end. (thanks for the clarification, Errant - obviously I mis-heard.)

@ExuntPursuedBy: There was a nice thread about just that the other day.

posted by From Bklyn at 1:09 AM on June 22, 2010


Uh, what the fuck does Gross Domestic Product have to do with soccer? Our superpower aircraft carrier launched nuclear pilotless soccer ball drones are somehow giving us an advantage in a sport played on a field, with a ball and 2 goals?

I'm very late in replying to this, but: if you read Kuper and Szymanski's brilliant book Why England Lose (aka Soccernomics) it addresses this point.

They did a multiple regression analysis of international soccer performance, and found that the three factors that best predicted a country's success were experience (number of games played); population, and GDP.

Obviously, there were exceptions to this: Brazil outperformed relative to the model, and the US (among others) underperformed [the obvious conclusion being that for most countries, soccer is their number 1 sport. It obviously isn't in the US, so that negates a lot of the theoretical population/GDP advantage]

Seriously, go read the book if you have any interest at all in soccer. It's quite wonderful.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:43 AM on June 22, 2010



To an American, the best sort of narrative is that you work hard, play by the rules, and are rewarded (I feel safe making that sort of generalization as an American).

To people in other countries, maybe being the underdog, and tweaking the rules a little bit to get your way is the best sort of narrative - where the small fry uses his wits and cleverness to outmatch a bully.


This thread is like the jackpot of discovering arrogant, racist, dipshit Americans on Metafilter. Bravo, ladies and gentleman, bravo! Don't hold back from snidely lecturing the rest of us on your vastly superior morality and character!

You could have the richest team in Europe and spend more on players and coaches than any other team around, and still finish in a sad, sort of embarrassing average ranking.

Transfer value of Italian starting XI: $245 million.
Transfer value of New Zealand team: $1.8 million.

New Zealand 1 - Italy 1.

But none of this falls under any definition of "cheating" a grown-up would use.

Deliberately breaking the rules is cheating, except for those filthy, impoverished souls who think that "anything I can get away with isn't cheating."

Fouls in general should be done away with except in the case of blood.

This tends to lead to a bunch of reckless behaviour because "no-one got hurt" until, oops, someone does get hurt. Sprigs-up challenges draw a censure, while an individual instance may not make much difference, eventually you get it wrong and someone's leg or ankle gets shattered.

Hell, my sport (Judo) has a bunch of throws and holds that have been barred from competition (but not the doko) over the years because, when applied properly, they're great moves, but when things go wrong they tend to break necks or rip knee joints apart (we were practising one of the latter only tonight).

China was bad, but this week has been ridiculous for France. Seriously, even if they were gonna let the friendly to China slide, they should've sacked Domenech in a heartbeat after the French players walked off and refused to practice, and he responded by calling them all "imbeciles."

What? They are fucking imbeciles. Get the next 11 guys who actually want to play for France on. If those dickheads don't care enough about playing for their country to actually do it, they should fuck off back to their high-paid club jobs and never disgrace their national jerseys again. The same goes for John fucking Terry.

I'm pretty fucking tired of the lol wops crap that happens in any thread about Italy and/or footie

After the 2006 final, Italian teams deserve any shit they get.

also I am so annoyed because Australia suck

Just follow the age-old practise of co-opting the Kiwis. Until we go down to Paraguy horribly.
posted by rodgerd at 2:55 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


New Zealand has always been part of Australasia.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:37 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]



It still means little, actually. "Better players" does not mean "better team." You could have the richest team in Europe and spend more on players and coaches than any other team around, and still finish in a sad, sort of embarrassing average ranking.

This is generally known as the "Real Madrid rule."


In America this is known as the, Baltimore Orioles rule.
posted by KaizenSoze at 5:03 AM on June 22, 2010


Just follow the age-old practise of co-opting the Kiwis. Until we go down to Paraguy horribly.

Sure, Oz can claim the NZ team's success because the team members were mostly living on the dole in Bondi anyway.

Why do you feel the need to be such a prick in every comment you make?
posted by Wolof at 6:51 AM on June 22, 2010


Athleticism and sportsmanship are two different things. Taking a dive is a very strong indication that you lack the latter.

Also, we're less than nine minutes into the whole two-games-at-once thing, and I already hate it.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:09 AM on June 22, 2010


BAFANA BAFANA!!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:22 AM on June 22, 2010


BAFANA BAFANA!!

Point proven! I was watching Mexico–Uruguay.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:24 AM on June 22, 2010


I'm flipping back and forth but I'd say the Mexico-Uruguay is a lot more exciting so far (goal by SA excluded).
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:29 AM on June 22, 2010


Back on topic, a very dubious red card given in the France-SA game. The refs seem to be calling very different games, with very divergent expectations of the players. Thus, you get diving/acting. Having an opponent hauled off after 20 minutes is quite the prize.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:37 AM on June 22, 2010


He did elbow the guy, but yeah, that seemed particularly harsh. The ref must have thought it was intentional, but I didn't get that impression. France are playing pretty shit anyway, red card or not.
posted by chunking express at 8:18 AM on June 22, 2010


North Korea plays a clean game and reigns victorious over decadent, capitalist Brazil in group G.
Somehow this blows my mind more then any of the other propaganda I've seen. That also blows my mind.
posted by uni verse at 8:26 AM on June 22, 2010


Deliberately breaking the rules is cheating, except for those filthy, impoverished souls who think that "anything I can get away with isn't cheating."

There's a difference between that and "I'm going to foul this guy knowing I'll get a penalty because if I don't there's nobody between him and the goal."
posted by papercake at 8:27 AM on June 22, 2010


This attitude – one of absolute dictatorship over the field (this is why they're called "laws" and not "rules" in soccer) – is not popular immediately amongst us Americans.

The heck you say.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:33 AM on June 22, 2010


This attitude – one of absolute dictatorship over the field (this is why they're called "laws" and not "rules" in soccer) – is not popular immediately amongst us Americans.

The heck you say.


Yes, that decision was immensely popular amongst Americans! Everybody loved that that guy didn't get his perfect game! Too right, too right.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:39 AM on June 22, 2010


I wonder is it truly something that's accepted around the world, that North Americans just don't understand? Because I vaguely recall there was getting to be a big problem with players diving in the NHL in recent years, and my vague recollection seems to associate it with European players. Of course, this could just be my brain playing tricks on me, it's done it before. :)
posted by antifuse at 9:23 AM on June 22, 2010


My favorite part of Portugal - Korea DPR was C.Ronaldo on the edge of the box, going into his 100-Flowing-Stepovers move. The Korean defender stood still, then just calmly stripped him of the ball mid-step and played out of defense as CR appealed in vain for a free kick. Hilarious. Too bad they decided to defend so, so suicidally. Playing a high line against a team so gifted with flank runners and the ability to pick a diagonal ball is insane.

Bafana Bafana were within a couple goals of going through there. I was really hoping they'd get them. Alas, it was not to be. I really admired Uruguay's game management; they did just enough to win without overexerting themselves for the match on Saturday.

Because I vaguely recall there was getting to be a big problem with players diving in the NHL in recent years, and my vague recollection seems to associate it with European players.

Many people believe that diving is a disease of foreign extraction -- Daily Mail subscribers, for example. Which I think is funny, considering their team features Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole... I could go on.
posted by Errant at 9:41 AM on June 22, 2010


Americans don't like that kind of stuff.

Except in basketball.


Or football.

Why bother watching a sport, they might think, where a seemingly arbitrary calls by referees determine the outcome of games

C'mon, the NFL's "tuck rule" explanation? Almost 50% of close college football games are decided by a referee's ball spot, in-bounds call, or other judgment that is often dead wrong.

I can't speak for all Americans, but this is why I would say they hate cheating:

There is a lot of sports betting and no one wants to feel cheated on a bet.


And yet betting on sports is illegal in 99.9% of the country. Funny Americans.

Why I hate Landon Donovan.

...

Tragically, it appears the U.S. soccer team will likely continue to plague the Cup with its God-awful soccer.


Someone protests too much, I think. The U.S. is no world football power, but "God-awful"? Wrong.

If you watch Landon Donovan play, I don't know how you can't like him, at least as player. Who doesn't root for the smaller, slower guy who goes 100% for as long as he can and plays smart and never gives up? Admittedly, his defensive help against Slovenia was pretty bad at times, but we were down for most of the game so he had an offensive mindset.

it does seem to me sometimes some Americans seem in their comments not to take into account that we have been arguing about football for longer than America exists

And almost everyone who lives in America came from elsewhere. So Americans have been arguing about football/soccer for longer than America exists.

It's odd to me when people think American they think "white suburban family," when they're a damn lot of Americans with backgrounds from Haiti, Dominican, Mexico, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cameroon, Germany, Ireland, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Japan, Lithuania ...

There's a difference between that and "I'm going to foul this guy knowing I'll get a penalty because if I don't there's nobody between him and the goal."

Is there? It's an interesting moral question to me. I always follow convention and intentionally foul, but I don't think it's as black and white as you suggest.

Even grayer: In basketball, you're up 3 points with only 2 seconds left and the other team has the ball. Is it ethical to foul intentionally to prevent a 3-point shot? As a coach, I can honestly tell you I told me players not to foul but play "hard" defense (and if you foul, well, don't do it on the 3-point shot ;)

I guess I'm saying there's always a fine line, no matter where/when the deception/fraud/rule bending occurs.

But, back to the FPP, no, cheating and working the refs are certainly NOT what makes soccer/football such a great game. As others have noted, they general detract from the experience for most fans and players.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:03 AM on June 22, 2010


Yes, that decision was immensely popular amongst Americans! Everybody loved that that guy didn't get his perfect game! Too right, too right.

The popularity of the decision is irrelevant to the point. Just as the proliferation of cheating in football has no correlation to the fact that all Europeans love cheating and cheaters and cheats and are all a bunch of cheaty-cheatums themselves.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:23 AM on June 22, 2010


Many people believe that diving is a disease of foreign extraction -- Daily Mail subscribers, for example. Which I think is funny, considering their team features Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole... I could go on.

Well, I specifically mentioned Europe... Which does include England. :)
posted by antifuse at 10:46 AM on June 22, 2010


Who doesn't root for the smaller, slower guy

Donovan may well be on the smaller side, but he definitely isn't slow.
posted by JenMarie at 10:54 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wearing a dress could be part of the rules. You would still be a guy in a dress.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:56 AM on June 22, 2010


Well, I specifically mentioned Europe... Which does include England. :)

You may find this isn't as true as it seems, or as it ought to be.
posted by Errant at 11:01 AM on June 22, 2010


North Korea watches live as its team loses big
posted by homunculus at 11:14 AM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


The "punishment" you speak of is actually the product of a discourse of power/knowledge that produces disciplined bodies within a structure characterised by panoptically ubiquitous television cameras.

Foucault hated football, you know.  One of the smarter Europeans, apparently.
posted by Aquaman at 11:15 AM on June 22, 2010


Crazy Domenech almost had me feeling sorry for him over the last few days, with the team factions and tantrums and player revolts and all that. Then he shows himself to be an ass all over again by refusing to shake Parreira's hand.
posted by JenMarie at 11:24 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Milito gets a start! Good for him, he deserves it.
posted by JenMarie at 11:29 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The diving is one of the things that I find exacerbating about the sport. (The same holds true for NBA - which I don't follow) Likewise, I can't help but feel a good majority of the players are somewhat dirty with all the shots of the shirt grabbing, general grabbing and even the occasional headlock. It's one thing to use your body to make space, as in basketball is called "blocking out" but it's another to death grip the other player so they can't jump or move toward the ball. I want a clean game where the result is determined by the abilities of the opposing teams, not whom can fake an injury or not get caught pulling on a shirt best.
posted by Atreides at 11:54 AM on June 22, 2010


Donovan may well be on the smaller side, but he definitely isn't slow.

Fair enough. I do remember he used to be a little speed demon. At this point in his career, though, he's definitely looks slower than most of the halfbacks on other World Cup teams.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:17 PM on June 22, 2010


The easiest way to solve this mess is a straight red for simulation. But that will never happen, of course.
posted by dw at 12:20 PM on June 22, 2010


The problem with simulation is that most of the time it isn't very clear. Also, when shown in super-slow-mo many tackles look quite soft... like Berghami's that got him sent off against Chile... it wasn't until I saw it in regular speed that I realized how forceful it was.

Also, yay South Koreans get to the second round, boo Nigeria not getting ahead... the World Cup keeps setting up these kinds of heartbreakers, where one is rooting for both teams to get ahead, but only one of them will.
posted by Kattullus at 1:36 PM on June 22, 2010


Foucault hated football, you know.

Makes sense - these 'simulations' are more up Baudrillard's alley.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:58 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is actually the first time I've heard it called "simulation." Hilarious.

My predictions for Group C:

England 2, Slovenia 1
US 1, Algeria 0

Slovenia scores first, but gets tired like they did on Friday and concedes 2 second-halfers.

US-Algeria is boring as shit. US gets a cheap but obvious penalty-kick goal in a ugly struggle featuring 2 or 3 red cards.

US wins group C on goals and earns the right to be beat by Serbia. England sneaks in as #2 in Group C and loses badly to Germany.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:20 PM on June 22, 2010


My predictions for Group C:

England 2, Slovenia 1


The one thing the US showed England is that if you play with conviction and not tentatively, you can beat Slovenia at their own game. Capello has been coaching a dull, slow game that has produced exactly one goal and maybe 5 good opportunities for more in two games. If he just lets his horses run loose and gets the ball to people not named Rooney to take the striking pressure off him, England is on to the next round. But this is very good Slovenia team, no doubt, and were they to get through I can see them handling anyone in Group D.

My instincts tell me this will be 1-1.

US 1, Algeria 0

First off, this is the US we're talking about. Clean sheets just aren't possible with this defense. Second, Algeria knows if they win they still have a shot at qualifying, so they'll be fully engaged in attacking that US defense.

The US should beat Algeria. Should. But they also should have beaten Slovenia. This is a very streaky, very hot and cold team. When they click, they're beating the crap out of a full-strength Spain and tearing apart the Brazilian defense. When they're not... it's 2006 all over again.

I think the US wins 2-1. But as an American fan, I know it's more than likely 1-0 Algeria.
posted by dw at 4:55 PM on June 22, 2010



During this tournament I have found out Americans love to look for reasons to be offended when they watch football. Any imperfection - a blown call, simulation, etc.. and they go ballistic.


Simulation and fouling and blown calls and balls ricocheting off of beach balls into the net are all part of the game.



Dear America: Stop looking for reasons to be offended and enjoy the football.
posted by L'OM at 5:32 PM on June 22, 2010


Dear L'OM: Stop looking for reasons to be offended by Americans and enjoy the football.
posted by fleacircus at 5:37 PM on June 22, 2010


Dear players: Stop looking for reasons to be upended by the opposition, and play some football.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:21 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Raymond Domenech Refuses To Shake Opposing Coach's Hand
posted by homunculus at 7:48 PM on June 22, 2010


Our top story: Raymond Domenech is kind of an asshole.

Later: does Maradona love the spotlight? You won't believe this shocking exclusive, at 11.
posted by Errant at 9:58 PM on June 22, 2010


Dear players: Stop trying to justify faking injuries to get opposing players ejected from the game and play an honest sport.
posted by kafziel at 10:54 PM on June 22, 2010


So that's why the players were all behind Anelka. That is a really impressive lack of class on Domenech's part.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:26 PM on June 22, 2010


God damn this America / Algeria game is pretty uninspiring.
posted by chunking express at 7:32 AM on June 23, 2010


yes!
posted by geoff. at 8:51 AM on June 23, 2010


I have just asked my husband's permission to have Landon Donovan's babies.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:52 AM on June 23, 2010


Wow.
posted by Skyanth at 8:55 AM on June 23, 2010


Ya'll just got bounced by a country that doesn't even know the rules. Yippie kai yay, motherf*cker.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:55 AM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, that was amazing.

Question for you soccerphiles: Algeria needed a win and a goal differential of at least a couple to advance to the next round, so . . . why the hell did they play so defensively?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:56 AM on June 23, 2010


Holy crap! That was...wow!
posted by malocchio at 8:56 AM on June 23, 2010


Because they suck? As far as I can tell, they have one good player, and he was in goal.
posted by chunking express at 8:57 AM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


HOLY CRAP.
posted by arcolz at 8:58 AM on June 23, 2010


Yeah, but even North Korea decided that it was better to try to attack and win a game and as a result lose by 7 goals then to just try to win a moral victory with a senseless draw or small loss.

I really don't understand all of the intricacies of soccer strategy so maybe Algeria were attacking and trying to win, but I just didn't see it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:00 AM on June 23, 2010


It looked like Algeria thought their best strategy was the counterattack, and it almost worked a couple of times, but they didn't seem to have the discipline up front to take advantage. They definitely seemed to be hoping for U.S. desperation to open the field up for them, but in general the U.S. attacked without completely leaving themselves open.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:02 AM on June 23, 2010


Yeah. I think it's simply a matter of the Algerian's not know what to do. So many times they were just kicking the ball between themselves at midfield. It was like a bad parody of soccer.
posted by chunking express at 9:08 AM on June 23, 2010


As far as I can tell, they have one good player, and he was in goal.

Yeah, he came within three minutes of being the first Algerian goalie not to allow a goal in a World Cup finals game.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:09 AM on June 23, 2010


Was there another goalie for the Slovenia game?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:12 AM on June 23, 2010


Er, maybe I don't understand your point, omdtlp. He also didn't give up any goals in the England game, right?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:13 AM on June 23, 2010


Holy fuck the US team just can't do things the easy way can it... a goal in overtime after the goalkeeper saved it... I thought my head would explode at the save and then it did when Donovan scored.
posted by Kattullus at 9:14 AM on June 23, 2010


There is only one thing you can do right now, play America, Fuck Yeah! as loud as you can on repeat until you pass out.

I'm glad McNabb is gone, Landon Donovan is the best Donovan.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:15 AM on June 23, 2010


There was a different goalkeeper against Slovenia and he was 3 minutes away from keeping a clean sheet, thereby being the first Algerian goalkeeper never to have a goal scored against him in the World Cup.
posted by Kattullus at 9:16 AM on June 23, 2010


Okay, got it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:17 AM on June 23, 2010


As far as I can tell, they have one good player, and he was in goal.

Algeria wasn't that bad. They controlled the ball for some of the middle of the first and second halves. The US didn't really seem to have as many scoring opportunities as they did against Slovenia. Altidore was mostly contained without grabbing and holding him.

They were much more defensive than I expected as well (though we got lucky on that early crossbar), but I think haveanicesummer has it right. They were just trying to get the best result possible the best way they knew how. They gave the US midfield a lot of respect. Once you get out on the field, most thoughts of goal differential are secondary. You're just trying to win.

And the goal was sort of the keeper's fault. I know that Clint Dempsey is about to land on your head, but you've gotta come out hard and hold onto that ball. Dempsey's "shot" was not much.

Anyway, I am overjoyed that we'll be seeing more of the "God-awful soccer" of the US team. Congrats, men. America, fuck yeah!
posted by mrgrimm at 9:45 AM on June 23, 2010


I don't think Algeria thought they could advance realistically after about ten minutes into the second half. Therefore they decided to play spoiler and get what would have been a famous draw against the USA. They were playing for pride, basically. I'm a little surprised that they didn't switch it up and go for a multiple-goal win once they saw how thin we were at the back, but Algeria are sort of notorious for not making great decisions on the pitch, as you saw from the late red card.

What a leader Donovan has become. He's more than made up for his disappointing run four years ago. Two absolutely vital goals, just fantastic.

Now I have to go dry my eyes and try to be a working professional. Probably won't happen.
posted by Errant at 9:47 AM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really, really need to get work done today and am almost physically incapable of doing so now. That was incredible. I was seriously ready to give up on this sport after having what looked to be our second consecutive game-winning goal wrongly scrubbed from us, but then Donovan comes out and remembers how America wins things - at the last possible moment when everything seems darkest. Holy shit. I know we'll be lucky just to make it as far as the 8 by this point but this game made it all worthwhile.

Anyway, USA WINS THE GROUP! And for anyone who didn't see it earlier, here's Martin Sheen's delightfully dickish intro to the game.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:18 AM on June 23, 2010


Navelgazer: I really, really need to get work done today and am almost physically incapable of doing so now. That was incredible. I was seriously ready to give up on this sport after having what looked to be our second consecutive game-winning goal wrongly scrubbed from us, but then Donovan comes out and remembers how America wins things - at the last possible moment when everything seems darkest. Holy shit. I know we'll be lucky just to make it as far as the 8 by this point but this game made it all worthwhile.

That's how soccer gets you... there's no feeling in sports quite like that 1-0 last minute victory after 90 minutes of nailbiting frustration.
posted by Kattullus at 10:37 AM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was like a bad parody of soccer.

So it was soccer, then, AMIRITE???

...

Actually that was just awesome.
posted by Justinian at 11:38 AM on June 23, 2010


Martin Sheen's delightfully dickish intro to the game.

Yes, delightfully dickish is the correct term. But goddamn, this is the USA as we know them -- 89 minutes of total crap, 1 minute of pure genius.

Serbia is so going to eat our lunch.
posted by dw at 11:58 AM on June 23, 2010


So we play Serbia no matter what happens?
posted by geoff. at 12:06 PM on June 23, 2010


No, depends on how the games going on right now play out. Just thinking Serbia would take second, but as I'm looking it would seem Serbia would only be second with a Ghana loss and a draw with Australia.

I'd just like the US to avoid Germany, but honestly, I can't see them beating the three main contenders. OTOH, it'd be like them and this tournament to have Australia slip in as the second place team and then whip the US.
posted by dw at 12:17 PM on June 23, 2010


There is no way the US is beating anyone from that group. And I think Ghana is going to win this thing!
posted by chunking express at 12:44 PM on June 23, 2010


God fucking damn it.
posted by chunking express at 12:46 PM on June 23, 2010


it'd be like them and this tournament to have Australia slip in as the second place team and then whip the US.

I think Australia needs another 4 goals.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:19 PM on June 23, 2010


Ghana and Germany are through. Australia need to score a ton since they lost so badly to Germany.

Ghana is going to smoke the US. Booyaka! Booyaka!
posted by chunking express at 1:24 PM on June 23, 2010


If I understand you correctly, chunking express, you don't think the US will win their next game. Do I have that right, or am I misreading your comments?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:27 PM on June 23, 2010


American's need to get over themselves.

Go Ivory Coast!

God damn this America / Algeria game is pretty uninspiring.

There is no way the US is beating anyone from that group. And I think Ghana is going to win this thing!


Are you trying to set a record for being wrong the most number of times in one thread?

Excellent. We got Ghana. I'll take a straight up bet on US over Ghana anyday. Much better matchup than Germany or Serbia, that's for sure.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:30 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm absolutely positive that Ghana, having gone 1-0 down, decided to take it and come in second so as to play the USA instead of England. I say, bring it. They haven't offered tons in their last two games and they seem to crumble around the 70 minute mark. As we know, that's when the USA actually starts playing. I like it.

England - Germany, though; that's going to be a tasty one. If that doesn't get the English behind their team, nothing will. (PRO-TIP: nothing will.)
posted by Errant at 1:45 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm absolutely positive that Ghana, having gone 1-0 down, decided to take it and come in second so as to play the USA instead of England.

That's sort of unlikely, considering another goal by Serbia (in a concurrent game) would have sent them home, right?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:38 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you trying to set a record for being wrong the most number of times in one thread?

No, I'm just trying to cheer for the African teams. And mock America!
posted by chunking express at 2:57 PM on June 23, 2010


Not precisely. Until 60 minutes it was 0-0 in both games, which put Ghana through even if Serbia or Australia scored. Germany scored at 60 minutes, which made Ghana vulnerable to a single Serbian goal as you say, and you can see that between 60 and 70 minutes they were still attacking all out. 9 minutes later, Australia scored. That meant that even if Serbia equalized they'd be on 4 points, +0 GD, 2 goals scored. That's the same as Ghana at 1-0 down, and Ghana have the head-to-head tiebreak against Serbia, so Serbia basically have to score 2 goals to qualify or Ghana have to concede 3 or 4. 4 minutes later it was 2-0 Australia, which meant that Ghana has to concede 2, Australia has to score 2, or Serbia has to score 2. With a runner-up place ensuring a match against the USA instead of England, if they'd prefer to play the USA the smart thing to do is to shut down, grab an equalizer if possible but above all don't concede and make it easy for the other guys. Which I think is what they did.

What they wouldn't have expected is that Serbia would score one and get another ruled out inside 2 minutes around the 85 minute mark. That's when their strategy would have backfired. To be fair, I don't think anyone watching that game would have thought Serbia capable of that at that juncture, but there you are, the magic of football. Still, I think if you're trying to avoid England which it looks to me like they were, you'd approach the game much like they did between 70 and 90 minutes.
posted by Errant at 2:58 PM on June 23, 2010


well done USA. you played well. Now you meet Ghana who are easily the best of the African sides at the tournament - organised and skillful and can play as a team. Gyan looks good and asamoah is smart. Boateng was in the heart of most they did today.

Can you beat them? probably. but then again... the beauty of football is that you never know.

England vs Germany? as mentioned above, this one will be tasty.

and also congrats to Maradona and Argentina who sent Greece and their anti football home. hoorah!!
posted by marienbad at 4:00 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Dreadful article. Epic thread. Great post. Well played.
posted by motty"

Eponyhysterical : World Cup Motty on the beeb.
posted by marienbad at 4:15 PM on June 23, 2010


> No, I'm just trying to cheer for the African teams. And mock America!

Mock America! Fuck Yeah!
posted by puffl at 4:22 PM on June 23, 2010


And Julia Gillard has just replaced Kevin Rudd as Australia's Prime Minister.

That completes the trifecta of females occupying the top positions in the country: Prime Minister, Governor General and of course, Her Majesty the Queen.

*mocks America & its backward patriarchy*
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:36 PM on June 23, 2010


*mocks Australia & its backwards monarchy*
posted by Justinian at 5:10 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Er... the Governor General is a woman? Quentin something?

Huh. I had no idea. Never heard of a woman named Quentin before.
posted by Justinian at 5:12 PM on June 23, 2010


Tell me about it. We normally name our women Bruce.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:25 PM on June 23, 2010


No, Bruce, the women are called Sheila. You don't wanna be mixing them up, Bruce, lest you inadvertently break the odd-numbered faculty rules of the University of Woolloomooloo.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:51 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm absolutely positive that Ghana, having gone 1-0 down, decided to take it and come in second so as to play the USA instead of England. I say, bring it. They haven't offered tons in their last two games and they seem to crumble around the 70 minute mark.

Thing is, they play 60 minutes or so of fast, free-flowing ball that's enjoyable to watch. They can't finish to save their lives, but they're far more fun to watch than the horrid Serbian defensive slog.

What that means is that Ghana will be pounding the US defense and will probably squirt a goal through. Then the US will have 30 minutes to flood the Ghanan box and hope they can get two back without having to go to penalties.

Good news for the US is they'll have Uruguay or South Korea in the quarters if they win, both teams they match up well with. So there's a shot at the semis for the first time since 1930. But first, they have to beat what will be the defacto home team on Saturday.
posted by dw at 11:11 PM on June 23, 2010


Jon Stewart Debates the USA's World Cup Win with John Oliver
posted by homunculus at 11:22 PM on June 23, 2010


Though the conversation turned away from the noisemakers about a decade ago, this is the best place to put this:

You might note that if you really, really like those Vuvuzelas, Youtube now has a button on every single video which you can press to activate "Vuvuzela mode." No, really - I'm serious.
posted by koeselitz at 11:30 PM on June 23, 2010


That completes the trifecta of females occupying the top positions in the country: Prime Minister, Governor General and of course, Her Majesty the Queen.

Meh, come back to us when you also have the Chief Justice and Speaker of the House.

*Mocks Australia for trailing behind the Kiwis*
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:09 AM on June 24, 2010


*Refuses to be mocked by a country that can't even face up with dignity to a ball bowled underarm*
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:37 AM on June 24, 2010


Looks like we won't have Italy to kick around anymore.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:34 AM on June 24, 2010


Italy almost out: slovakia 3 - italy 1 (4 mins of extra time!)

unless new zealand score...
posted by marienbad at 8:49 AM on June 24, 2010


update: now 3 - 2, 2 1/2 mins left...
posted by marienbad at 8:50 AM on June 24, 2010


First France now Italy? Craaaaazy
posted by From Bklyn at 8:53 AM on June 24, 2010


hooray!! Italy out.
posted by marienbad at 8:56 AM on June 24, 2010


France out, Italy out, England squeak into 2nd place, Spain needs a win against Chile, Germany needed a tight win against Ghana: this tournament is officially the death of Western European football. Viva Sudamerica!
posted by Errant at 9:35 AM on June 24, 2010


Er, apart from the only Western European team with 6 points from the first 2 matches, surely!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:41 AM on June 24, 2010


I don't envy Slovakia ending up against The Netherlands in their round of 16 match (almost definitely).
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:58 AM on June 24, 2010


Er, apart from the only Western European team with 6 points from the first 2 matches, surely!

In a sea of drowning people, there's always one whose head is a little more above water than the rest.

Oh, I do jest and jape. I like the Netherlands' slow burn this time around, and I should think you'll match up well against either Paraguay or Slovakia, especially with Robben coming back. But come on, this undefeated streak by the South American teams is just ludicrous.
posted by Errant at 10:08 AM on June 24, 2010


World champions bottom of their group, below the tournament's ultimate minnows, New Zealand. 2006 finalists France out, in disarray.

It's been an interesting tournament, for certain. As a New Zealand fan, I am so proud of my team. Everyone had written us off before the tournament started, saying we didn't deserve to even be there. But we held every team we played to a draw, and even had chances to beat Italy and Paraguay.

I'm impressed by the South Americans. I was picking European teams to dominate (they usually do, except in South America; and the cooler weather conditions should have helped them, but seemingly not).
posted by Infinite Jest at 10:33 AM on June 24, 2010


Go Japan!
posted by chunking express at 11:36 AM on June 24, 2010


Oh hells yes. That's a fucking free kick.
posted by chunking express at 11:48 AM on June 24, 2010


death of European football you say? with 18 mins played, it's Japan 1 Denmark 0!!

also well done new zealand and North Korea. New Zealand perfomed way above expectations, North Korea have played honest and fair football and can hold their heads high too.
posted by marienbad at 11:49 AM on June 24, 2010


It's 2-0 now. Two free kicks, two goals. What?
posted by chunking express at 12:02 PM on June 24, 2010


11 meter/penalty kick! Cameroon ties it! 1-1!

(has no real effect on the outcome of Cameroon/Netherlands in their group, but exciting!)
posted by From Bklyn at 12:54 PM on June 24, 2010


Is there any way Cameroon can advance?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:55 PM on June 24, 2010


And now Robben!
posted by From Bklyn at 12:58 PM on June 24, 2010


No, the other teams have too many points. Sucks.
posted by chunking express at 12:58 PM on June 24, 2010


Well, at least Mr. Wendell from Arrested Development got to play.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:00 PM on June 24, 2010


"11 meter/penalty kick! Cameroon ties it! 1-1!"

11 metre hahahaha. wow, never heard it called that before. it made me smile/lol
posted by marienbad at 1:07 PM on June 24, 2010


2 - 1 - 11 metre penalty. saved but scored on the rebound.

here's a quick one i came up with after the england usa game

what's the difference between rob green and jesus? jesus saves... *instantrimshot*
posted by marienbad at 1:09 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Japan have 3! I'm not always wrong in this thread.
posted by chunking express at 1:21 PM on June 24, 2010


Robben is a monster - I'd watch that guy butter toast.

'elf meter'(german) = 'eleven meters'(english)...
posted by From Bklyn at 1:22 PM on June 24, 2010


its all over: Denmark are out. well played Japan. as the commentator said, who would bet against them reaching the quarter finals? could beat Paraguay in the next game on that performance.
posted by marienbad at 1:23 PM on June 24, 2010



Robben is a monster - I'd watch that guy butter toast.


It'd end in some terrible crumb-related injury, though.
posted by reynir at 1:36 PM on June 24, 2010


At this point, the round of 16 looks like

North/Central America: 2 (of 3 qualified)
Asia: 2 (of 4)
Africa: 1 or 2 (of 6)
UEFA: 5 to 7 (of 12)
South America: 4 or 5 (of 5)

Based on this, maybe it's time people shut up about cutting CONCACAF slots and started talking about cutting UEFA slots.
posted by dw at 1:39 PM on June 24, 2010


Hey, Honduras could still qualify!

Well, they could.

No, why are you laughing, they totally could?

Also, does Jabulani in Japanese mean "ball that is super easy to strike and always beats the keeper"? Holy hell, those were absolute beauties. Not that Sorenson made it difficult for them, but still.
posted by Errant at 1:49 PM on June 24, 2010


We say "elf meter" too in Dutch. We also say "went into the knockout stage with 9 points", but peculiarly we're the only nation in Europe that says that.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:10 PM on June 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just read this, interesting stuff. May help with understanding why Italy have the reputation that they do, and how some aspects of this are catching on in other countries too...

Fubizia "Core to furbizia is that it is executed by means of stratagems which are available to all players on the pitch, not only to one team. What are these stratagems? Here are a few: tactical fouls, taking free kicks before the goalkeeper has finished positioning himself, time-wasting, physical or verbal provocation and all related psychological games, arguably even diving. These are all pretty common strategies in football, and they extend well beyond Italy. Thierry Henry was a master of shooting free-kicks while the goalkeeper was busy positioning the wall, and the last Ballon D’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, has an overbearing history as a diver. Yet no-one has such a pervasive and defining reputation for such actions as Italy."

Part 1 - Fantasia. With links to other interesting italian player positioning terminology too.
posted by marienbad at 4:05 PM on June 24, 2010


It warms the cockles of my heart that our Australasian neighbour helped hand Italy their arses on a platter. Well done to the NZ All Whites!

But to be sporting towards the Italians: bad luck, these things happen. Give it another four years, and maybe you'll be back to your previous status of the world's best divers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:38 PM on June 24, 2010


@goodnewsfor - that was truly Robben-level wit.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:37 PM on June 24, 2010


Is there some way for North Korea and the Ivory Coast to both win. Who do I cheer for?!
posted by chunking express at 7:26 AM on June 25, 2010


Ivory Coast need a 9 goal swing and for Portugal to lose against Brazil. North Korea has already been eliminated. So you should cheer for Brazil to pummel Portugal (and not in the fouling sense... which is what Brazil - Portugal is right now, both sides doing hideous fouls... what an ugly game).
posted by Kattullus at 8:00 AM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, that game could have been an advert for the beautiful game but instead it became a game where neither side particularly cared to win because of their strong, nigh-unassailable positions within their group. The Ivory Coast tried but North Korea always had seven or eight men between the ball and their goal - another 7-0 or 8-0 thrashing wasn't very likely. So the Brazil-Portugal game petered out into cynical fouls, nonchalant passing, lackadaisical flouncing and - for once! - a referee who had a good game, giving cards where warranted and clamping down on the worst offenders with speed (the card flung out at Duda for dissent at light speed was particularly gratifying, as was the card shoved at Tiago for simulation).

But all that flouncing, whoo. Could've been watching 22 grown men strolling in the park for all the excitement that game provided.
posted by WalterMitty at 10:44 AM on June 25, 2010


Wow, David Villa! That was out of nowhere.
posted by Infinite Jest at 11:55 AM on June 25, 2010


'Psychic' octopus predicts Germany victory over England
posted by homunculus at 2:07 PM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


'Psychic' octopus

Forget Punxsutawney, PA
When planning your next Groundhog Day;
Oberhausen, DE
Is where accuracy
In bestial precognition lay.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:21 PM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why do you feel the need to be such a prick in every comment you make?

I learned my sense of humour from Aussies?
posted by rodgerd at 1:31 AM on June 27, 2010


Many people believe that diving is a disease of foreign extraction

It's not just limited to that. Plenty of rugby fans will talk up diving as part of the "pansy nature" of soccer, while conveniently forgetting that in the days before we allowed free subbing from a bench, players were faking injuries to go off and let a fresh player on. Or, for that matter, the scandal in the English competition where one club's medical staff were cutting players to fake injuries, which is a little more serious than falling over and rolling on the ground.

Fundamentally, if the stakes are high enough, the top players and coaches will cheat like bastards to win. Regardless of sport, country, or whatever.

*Refuses to be mocked by a country that can't even face up with dignity to a ball bowled underarm*

Wait, I'm confused. Are you mocking Australia, New Zealand, or both of us?

Everyone had written us off before the tournament started, saying we didn't deserve to even be there.

This. "Oh, let's get rid of that qualifying place so we can have another European team, because clearly they're under-represented!"

Unfortunately for soccer fans in New Zealand, I fully expect the local governing body to piss away the publicity and cash this has earned them.

It warms the cockles of my heart that our Australasian neighbour helped hand Italy their arses on a platter. Well done to the NZ All Whites!

To the list of things that can bring New Zealanders and Australians together-the incompetance of British millitary command, routing English rugby teams, a desire to shaft their cricketers, a desire to assign Russell Crowe's nationality to the other country when he does something stupid in public-we can now add "disliking Italian football teams."
posted by rodgerd at 1:50 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


True, hey bro.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:46 AM on June 27, 2010


Dear Germany: Frank Lampard's zombie goal just called. It's pissed and wants revenge.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:02 AM on June 27, 2010


Forget the blown goal. Germany are taking England to school.
posted by chunking express at 8:29 AM on June 27, 2010


I can't even bear to watch anymore. This is just brutal.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:34 AM on June 27, 2010


It looks like Paul the octopus was right again.
posted by homunculus at 8:37 AM on June 27, 2010


And...Germany rules Britannia on the pitch.
posted by Atreides at 9:15 AM on June 27, 2010


Özil was just stunning. He has a fair claim to being the player of the tournament. My mom sent me an e-mail titled "Özil=Zidane." He's not quite at that level, but he's awful close.
posted by Kattullus at 9:33 AM on June 27, 2010


.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 10:46 AM on June 27, 2010


The reffing in both the Ger/Eng and the Arg/Mex games was disturbing... Yes, the best teams won in both cases, but calls like that don't make it easy.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:30 PM on June 27, 2010


Don't mention the war goal.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:35 PM on June 27, 2010


As i posted in another thread:

well that was absolutely awful. worst english world cup campaign since... well, 1982 possibly. 1978 maybe? Lampard - useless. Gerrard on left - why? Heskey on for defoe - wtf? defence (in this game) - what defence?

only 3 players scored. cole hardly used and used out of position.

And he plays 4-4-2 against 4-2-3-1. totally tactically inept. sack capello and bring in Chilian manager Marcelo Biesla (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcelo_Bielsa) who plays with one playmaker and 3 forwards in a 3-3-1-3 formation. they took the game to spain and lost due to a bizarre goalkeeping error followed by a lackadaisical defending error followed by a bizarre red card.

capello being interviewed now. who cares what he says. we are out.

Interesting to see mick "2-teams" jagger at the match. hey mick, you can only support one team, otherwise it would be like supporting both man utd and liverpool.

also, just to add, uzil was brilliant. and lightning quick too. well played lad.
posted by marienbad at 3:49 PM on June 27, 2010


> hey mick, you can only support one team,

Why not? I usually just root for the ball anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:51 PM on June 27, 2010


If he supports only England he can't get get no satisfaction.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:08 PM on June 27, 2010


Plus, he basically built his entire career around forgetting where he came from.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:36 PM on June 27, 2010


I am pretty sure that Mick Jagger is required by tax law to support another team as much as or more than he supports England.
posted by koeselitz at 6:15 PM on June 27, 2010


Do the Cayman Islands even have a team?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:51 PM on June 27, 2010


On the other hand, two positive developments in the game, no doping detected for the fourth straight World Cup and injuries are down to an average of two per game. Soccer was fortunate in its bad fortune to have the most famous player in the world at the time, Maradona, roid rage his way out of the 1994 World Cup in memorable fashion. It forced FIFA to clamp down hard on doping, which to their credit they did. Also, they've gotten better about punishing the types of fouls that cause serious injuries. For some reason a lot of people decry that, but I've never understood that myself. Now if they could only add an extra official behind each goal...
posted by Kattullus at 7:46 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dog versus vuvuzela.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:23 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Mysterious World Cup Fans From North Korea
posted by homunculus at 10:39 PM on June 27, 2010


The bad calls just keep piling up. So far none of them have really hurt the outcome, but the way things are going you know that it's going to catch up to FIFA soon enough.

I still don't get how soccer, with a field larger than American football's, gets away with just one referee. Basketball has two for an area less than a third the size of a pitch. Baseball has four. Hell, hockey has two.

Why won't they have an official for each end of the pitch? And if not that, can't we just get some goal judges like in hockey.

And give the teams each one challenge a game on goals. They can only wave it if they think there was offsides or the goal was judged incorrectly. The official will have two minutes to review the video and make a ruling. Two minutes will be added on to the end of the game regardless.

And while I'm fixing soccer -- straight red for simulation. No substitutions in injury time. And maybe it's time to think about a penalty box for egregious play that doesn't rise to the level of being sent off.
posted by dw at 10:46 PM on June 27, 2010


And one more crazy idea: Why not actually make winning your group worth a little something more than "avoiding the winner of your opposite group?" Put the second place teams in a pot and draw them out to fill the bracket. Brazil-Portugal instantly becomes competitive since one team will avoid having to play another group winner.
posted by dw at 11:59 PM on June 27, 2010


More whining about Russell Crowe? Really?

Anyway, well played, NZ.
posted by Wolof at 1:46 AM on June 28, 2010


If he supports only England he can't get get no satisfaction.

The English commentators made that joke twice (once during each of the England and USA games). They also noted that 'Bill Clinton is here...he wants to get the hosting rights for the 2022 world cup...well, you can't always get what you want'.

They didn't take it far enough, really: 'She's a Rainbow' -> Rainbow Nation; shot of Capello looking furious -> '19th Nervous Breakdown'; reaction shot of Keef as the 4th German goal goes in -> 'it'll take more than Mother's Little Helper to rescue them now', etc. Endless possibilities, mostly bad.
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:45 AM on June 28, 2010


And they'd have to be able to find some use for As Tears Go By.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:12 AM on June 28, 2010


You made a number of good points, dw, let me offer some counterarguments.

dw: I still don't get how soccer, with a field larger than American football's, gets away with just one referee. Basketball has two for an area less than a third the size of a pitch. Baseball has four. Hell, hockey has two.

Soccer has four referees, the ref, his two linesmen, and an off-pitch fourth official, who handles injury time, substitutions and so on. The four confer all the time and the three assistants can tell the referee what they saw so he can act on it.

Why won't they have an official for each end of the pitch? And if not that, can't we just get some goal judges like in hockey.

They've been experimenting with just that in Europe, having one referee behind each goal. So far it's gone well. They didn't want to debut it at the World Cup, however, so that referees wouldn't have a whole new element thrown at them for the first time in the most high pressure situation any of them will ever face professionally.

And give the teams each one challenge a game on goals. They can only wave it if they think there was offsides or the goal was judged incorrectly. The official will have two minutes to review the video and make a ruling. Two minutes will be added on to the end of the game regardless.

The problem with that is that stops and starts make the players cool down, which increases the chances of injuries. I can't find a cite but I've been told that more injuries in soccer happen shortly after the start of the second half than at any other time (that's why you'll see soccer players warm up and stretch during half-time).

And while I'm fixing soccer -- straight red for simulation.

Simulation is really, really hard to detect. In a lot of cases where you'll hear commentators yammer on about simulation it's a case of them seeing a slow motion replay and not realizing that there was a lot of force behind the elbow or that the "brush" took place at high speeds. The most recent ridiculous example was in Spain vs. Chile when people thought Torres dove to get Estrada sent off. The contact was slight, but it was while both men were running at full steam, so the slight touch on Torres was enough to trip him up and send him flying. Anyway, but yes, when simulation is crystal clear I'm all for cards, but it so rarely is crystal clear, even with ultra super slow motion. Yellow cards for simulation seem appropriate to me.

No substitutions in injury time.

Sometimes people's legs just give out after 90+ minutes of running. And what's that different about sending someone on at the 100th minute versus the 85th.

And maybe it's time to think about a penalty box for egregious play that doesn't rise to the level of being sent off.

Well, that's a very drastic change in the way that soccer is played. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but soccer has always been: if you're take off the field you're not coming back. It's like saying that if a hockey player does a head shot like Cooke did against Savard, he should be sent off and his team should play with a man down. It's just a different way of doing things.

And one more crazy idea: Why not actually make winning your group worth a little something more than "avoiding the winner of your opposite group?" Put the second place teams in a pot and draw them out to fill the bracket. Brazil-Portugal instantly becomes competitive since one team will avoid having to play another group winner.

The reason why there are set groups is so teams get roughly equal rest between games. In your scenario you could have team that has rested for a few days playing a team that had a match the day before.
posted by Kattullus at 7:23 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've long wanted a third card below the level of a yellow, for those fouls and infractions that are punishable but are merely careless or slightly late tackles or what have you. The speed of the game has increased to such a degree that even very talented players can't help but accidentally foul a player, and such a binary system leads to frequently harsh punishments. We keep talking about how much leeway the referee is afforded in his decision-making, it seems reasonable to provide them with more flexibility in punishment as well.

One side effect of such a change might be that denial of goal-scoring opportunities could be punished by a yellow card instead of a red, so that you don't have the double punishment of penalty + sending off, which is a rule IFAB is already re-examining anyway.
posted by Errant at 9:28 AM on June 28, 2010


Tee-hee, Kattullus managed to sneak a bit of Cthulhu into the Guardian's MBM at half-time during Ned-Svk. That, or someone has stolen his name.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:08 AM on June 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


dw, some interesting comments, Katallus answered most of them better than I could.

One thought, where you say this:

Why not actually make winning your group worth a little something more than "avoiding the winner of your opposite group?" Put the second place teams in a pot and draw them out to fill the bracket. Brazil-Portugal instantly becomes competitive since one team will avoid having to play another group winner.

Perhaps you've slightly misunderstood the draw? All the first-placed teams play a second-placed team - hence a lot was riding on Brazil-Portugal: Brazil got the draw, finished top of their group, and are now playing Chile, whereas Portugal have to play the much better Spain.

The confusion might arise because they do the draw at the start of the tournament. So we know that Winner Group A will play runner-up Group B, Winner Group B plays runner-up Group A, and so on. It's essentially the same as what you suggested, but with everything worked out in advance (for reasons that Katullus mentioned).

[Or possibly I've misunderstood you, in which case, my apologies]

And Kattallus, well done on the MBM, I was reading that at work: always good to see "Riiiiiiseeeeeeeaaaaahahh!!! Release the Kraken!"
posted by Infinite Jest at 11:42 AM on June 28, 2010


Soccer has four referees, the ref, his two linesmen, and an off-pitch fourth official, who handles injury time, substitutions and so on. The four confer all the time and the three assistants can tell the referee what they saw so he can act on it.

Yeah, I know, but it does seem like a second actual ref, someone behind the action, could eliminate some of the crap in the backfield and also add one more set of eyes for the close calls. It's why there are two officials in basketball, and why there are eleven billion in American football.

They've been experimenting with just that in Europe, having one referee behind each goal. So far it's gone well. They didn't want to debut it at the World Cup, however, so that referees wouldn't have a whole new element thrown at them for the first time in the most high pressure situation any of them will ever face professionally.

It's overdue, I think. I understand why they'd want to leave it out, but I hope they can put it in for some of next year's tournaments (even the Women's World Cup) to see how it works.

The problem with that is that stops and starts make the players cool down, which increases the chances of injuries.

You're talking about a two minute stoppage. It already takes almost that long to reset after a goal, so I don't think it'll really make that much of a difference with fitness. Most of the time it won't take two minutes to settle issues, and again, each team will only have one appeal a game, no more.

Simulation is really, really hard to detect.

I agree, but it really, really pisses me off. But maybe it's because I'm an American. You take a baseball to the ribs, you walk to first, unless the rib just punched through your heart.

I do wish they'd have better injury rules. Having to go off until the next stoppage in play is good, but it seems like it could be stronger. Maybe the opposing team has to put it out of play before you can return?

And what's that different about sending someone on at the 100th minute versus the 85th.

In the 85th, you're trying to win. In the 91st, you're trying to stall.

It's like saying that if a hockey player does a head shot like Cooke did against Savard, he should be sent off and his team should play with a man down. It's just a different way of doing things.

Well, then you're debating the value of what a man down means in each sport. I am with Errant, though -- the red-yellow system is too binary, even though it's tri-nary(?). I'd like to see separation between the obstructing the flow of play fouls -- e.g. time wasting, inadvertant handball, clutching/grabbing -- from the injurious fouls -- bad tackling, tackling from behind, etc. And yeah, the yellow/red setup allows that, but I'd like to see a bad tackle that doesn't rise to a red still result in something stronger than a yellow.

Would it change the sport? Yeah, it would. But I'm not sure it'd change it that much more than the tinkering with the offside rule the last 20 years has.

The reason why there are set groups is so teams get roughly equal rest between games. In your scenario you could have team that has rested for a few days playing a team that had a match the day before.

Well, you'd need to add a break between qualifying and the knockout round for it to work, but I think you could squeeze three days in there. It would make things far more interesting than now, though. That third set of qualifying games are dull as dishwater. You had Portugal and Brazil playing an absolutely terrible game because they were sure of going through.
posted by dw at 12:01 PM on June 28, 2010


That third set of qualifying games are dull as dishwater. You had Portugal and Brazil playing an absolutely terrible game because they were sure of going through.

On the other hand, Italy - Slovakia was quite entertaining, and if Ivory Coast had taken one of their chances to beat a flat Portugal side in their first game, Brazil - Portugal would have suddenly been a lot more meaningful. The solution to dull 3rd games in my opinion is to seed more challenging groups, but ultimately if two teams do well and two teams do poorly, that 3rd game is always going to be bleh no matter what you do.
posted by Errant at 1:42 PM on June 28, 2010


Perhaps you've slightly misunderstood the draw?

Nope, I got it. The issue to me, though, is there's really no reason for Portugal or Brazil to actually play the game -- they both are in to the knockout round, and while Chile is a better team to be facing than Spain, at the time they didn't know who they'd be playing.

I'm just suggesting putting in some randomness to help encourage second place teams to come out guns blazing. The winner would have avoided Germany, Spain, Brazil, and the other four group winners. The loser would have had to play Germany, Spain, Brazil, etc. In essence, the winner of the group keeps the seed regardless of whether they were the seeded team to begin with (and thus can avoided all the first place seeded teams in the round of 16).

It would mean at least having a three day pause between the last game of group and the first knockout game, which I can see as a drawback. But it would mean some extra impetus to fight for first.
posted by dw at 1:42 PM on June 28, 2010


Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you then, but perhaps not.

In essence, the winner of the group keeps the seed regardless of whether they were the seeded team to begin with (and thus can avoided all the first place seeded teams in the round of 16).

There's no seeding to take through to the round of 16. The first stage is seeded, as you know. But once you get into the round of 16, that doesn't matter. All group winners will play second-placed teams, regardless of their initial seed in the first stage. So there's almost always motivation to finish first. I admit I am truly at a loss to explain why Portugal were apparently happy to settle for a draw against Brazil - I didn't see the game so can't comment.

I get what you're saying when you say 'they didn't know who they'd be facing', but they would have been fairly certain that Spain would win their group. This isn't always the case, but it seems to happen most of the time.

I actually quite like your idea from the point of view of providing uncertainty: it would definitely add some tension and excitement to the tournament (though it might make scheduling games, and travel and accommodation, difficult).
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:25 PM on June 28, 2010


Jonathan Wilson makes a good point:
The major stumbling block, rather, is the nature of the game, the very thing that makes soccer the most watched sport in the world, and that is its fluidity. Almost all other sports are comprised of a series of discrete actions. Test cricket, for instance, is made up of 540 separate moments of play -- balls -- each day; tennis is a series of points; rugby has regular breakdowns.

In football, though, the play can often go uninterrupted for two to three minutes, and one of the key tactical elements is deciding how many players to commit to the attack, knowing that to push too many forward (as England did against Germany) is to leave yourself vulnerable to a counter. Say there's a penalty appeal at one end; when does the referee call for a replay? If he does so straight after the alleged foul, then he may prevent the defending team, having perhaps won the ball legitimately, from sweeping forward in a counterattack, the possibility of which is one of the joys of the game.

But if he waits until the ball goes out of play, he might find himself with a lengthy passage of play to cancel out involving who knows how many additional incidents. (Imagine the furor if he had to rule out a goal at one end to award a penalty at the other, or, even more weirdly, if he had to rule out a goal to give the team who had just scored a penalty for which they had appealed two minutes earlier.) Once a move has been stopped, it cannot be restarted; so if a player who is onside is incorrectly called offside and the attack stopped, how could technology help him? Some refereeing mistakes cannot be rectified by being overturned.
In his article he does come down on the side of goal line technology being used, and I'm starting to come around to that. If the half-second claim is true, then there's no good reason not to do that.
posted by Kattullus at 2:33 PM on June 28, 2010


There's no seeding to take through to the round of 16.

True, but again, part of the reason for seeding the draw is to make sure the seven best teams and the host avoid each other in qualifying and, should they progress through per the draw, avoid each other until the quarterfinals. In practice, of course, that doesn't happen, but I do like the idea of if you win, you reduce your risk of playing one of the seeded teams (who should have won their group) while finishing second makes it more likely you will face them. So it's not about playing for place (which one could argue is a reason Portugal and Brazil were content with the draw; Spain is a known to Portugal just as Chile is a known to Brazil) but about avoiding, say, drawing Argentina if you lose, drawing Ghana if you win.

So I don't think we're misunderstanding each other. I think I'm just not making sense to anyone but me. But I do think that increasing the motivation to win that third game would be helpful for the two good/two terrible groups. Everyone was on about how great the Portugal-Brazil game would be, and it would have been great... if it'd been the first or second game.

In his article he does come down on the side of goal line technology being used, and I'm starting to come around to that. If the half-second claim is true, then there's no good reason not to do that.

One of the big arguments against replay has been the delay, and it's been one thing that's driven NFL fans nuts (though it's nowhere near as bad as college football, where a booth review can be called at any time and there's no time limit -- I think the Oklahoma-Oregon onside kick debacle took 10 minutes to work out, and they still got it wrong). It's a bug in any system.

As for "what if stuff gets disallowed and how do you reset?" there's Game 6 of the 1994 Stanley Cup finals, where a Vancouver goal was allowed and an ensuing Rangers goal was disallowed. Ideally, you don't want to get into that situation.

So the key for any replay system is:
-- Short time limit
-- Limits to what can/can't be reviewed
-- Limited challenges (1 per team)
-- Clear rules as to when a challenge can be made
-- Clear penalties for a failed challenge

Given FIFA's head in the sand reaction to yesterday's debacles, though, I don't see them responding to the issues in a reasonable and sensible manner. Rather, they'll continue to deny there's a problem until a major team gets screwed on a bad call, and then they'll overreact and introduce some crap system that doesn't work.

(I should note the head-in-the-sand reaction is identical to MLB's long-standing no-replay-in-stadium system, and in the end their haphazard review system is pretty slow and terrible.)
posted by dw at 3:29 PM on June 28, 2010


In practice, of course, that doesn't happen, but I do like the idea of if you win, you reduce your risk of playing one of the seeded teams (who should have won their group) while finishing second makes it more likely you will face them.

But this is what usually happens, as you're no doubt aware: Portugal by finishing second plays Spain, the top seed and group winner, while Brazil, top seed and winner, played Chile. More importantly, what does happen under the current system is that the most in-form teams avoid each other until the quarterfinals, and the "penalty" for playing less well in your group is to face an in-form team, which is usually much more dangerous than facing a pot 1 seed. Note that in 5 out of the 6 round of 16 matches played so far, the group winner has won. In 2006 and 1998, group winners won 6 of the 8 ro16 matches; in 2002 they won a comparatively paltry 4. In 1994, when there were 6 groups of 4, group winners won 4 of their 6 matches.

There's a real and observable historical disadvantage to accepting runner-up status in exchange for near-certain qualification. Hands up if you think Portugal wouldn't have blasted Chile into next week, had they just gotten a goal against Brazil in that game; hands up if, after seeing the match today, you really think Spain is a better draw for Portugal than Chile would have been. They might still win, of course, but by not going for the group win, they've given themselves more of a problem than they might have had.
posted by Errant at 5:44 PM on June 28, 2010


And give the teams each one challenge a game on goals.

Challenges have been allowed in cricket of late. It hasn't ade things better - it's just let to bitching and complaining about more and different things.

In a similar vein, the Australian Rugby League comp introduced video refs to deal with whipped-up controversies resulting from repeated slo-mo replays of was-it-a-try-or-not and the result has been... more controveries, only now about the video ref's interpretation.
posted by rodgerd at 4:34 AM on June 29, 2010


Sepp Blatter (ptui!) has just announced that FIFA will look into goal line technology after the World Cup.
posted by Kattullus at 7:25 AM on June 29, 2010


Poor, poor, Komano...
posted by Kattullus at 10:37 AM on June 29, 2010


Philosopher Peter Singer weighs in on the cheating debate. He, of course, comes down on the side of people-shouldn't-cheat.
posted by Kattullus at 2:20 PM on June 29, 2010


There's a real and observable historical disadvantage to accepting runner-up status in exchange for near-certain qualification. Hands up if you think Portugal wouldn't have blasted Chile into next week, had they just gotten a goal against Brazil in that game; hands up if, after seeing the match today, you really think Spain is a better draw for Portugal than Chile would have been. They might still win, of course, but by not going for the group win, they've given themselves more of a problem than they might have had.

OK, maybe it's not the problem I think it is. I do find the third games to be pretty dreary, though. Playing both group games at the same time seems to help this, in that I can change away from the crappy game, but I still find a number of them to be terrible football.
posted by dw at 11:10 AM on June 30, 2010


I do find the third games to be pretty dreary, though.

I frequently find them to be so also, don't get me wrong. When they're not dead rubbers, so often there's a team who just needs a draw to win and so plays not to lose; you only get one good game from the group about half the time and too frequently get no good games.

But I also genuinely find it interesting to see how teams manage themselves over the course of the tournament, and I can appreciate doing just enough to advance favorably without overexerting. It doesn't make for great football a lot of the time, which is unfortunate since that 3rd game makes up about a quarter of the whole World Cup experience, but I can live with it.

I'm actually really excited for these quarterfinals; 7 of 8 group winners have advanced to the QFs, the most since the tournament was expanded to 8 groups in 1998. In 2006 I think there was a feeling that the group stages were brilliant and then the knockout rounds petered out. That's not happening this time. Germany - Argentina, Uruguay - Ghana, Netherlands - Brazil: oof, that's a fun round. Spain - Paraguay is going to be more of the same attack v defense drill, unfortunately, but 3 good matchups out of 4 is really good by WC standards.
posted by Errant at 2:27 PM on June 30, 2010


I'm actually really excited for these quarterfinals

I am too, so long as the teams actually come to play. The Argentinian front-loaded attack vs the German counterattack should be great fun to watch. Netherlands-Brazil I fear will be a slog, but Uruguay-Ghana will be a good matchup of two teams even on paper, and I really wouldn't count out Paraguay, given they have been very tenacious clear from qualifying to now, and you get the sense that Spain may just hack up another hairball at the wrong time.

4 of the 8 remaining teams are South American, and their fifth team was eliminated by another South American team. Europe still has three, clearly the best the continent has to offer, but on the whole UEFA has been very, very lackluster. I still don't get why there's this eternal push to take another CONCACAF spot and hand it to Asia or Africa, and in light of the African disappointment and Asia putting as many teams in the knockout stage as CONCACAF, I don't see how anyone could continue to make it.

7 of 8 group winners have advanced to the QFs

And the eighth was... sigh.
posted by dw at 3:50 PM on June 30, 2010


Sixty Symbols (previously) explains what the deal is with the Jabulani.
posted by Kattullus at 7:07 PM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


It seems quite clear that CAF gets too many berths; only one African nation has qualified for the second round each tournament since 1986, no matter how many berths they get. ("Since 1986" because that's when the second round changed to a knockout round instead of a second group stage.) That they get 6 is simply ludicrous given their lack of performance. Especially because they get more automatic spots than CONMEBOL, a confederation which routinely advances 3 to 5 teams each tournament and is the only confederation to see all of their entered teams advancing in multiple tournaments.

Based on performance, UEFA should be at 13 spots (10 UEFA teams have advanced every tournament since 1986 with the exception of 2002, when 9 teams advanced, and then obviously this year), CONMEBOL should be at 7, CONCACAF should be at 4, AFC should be at 4, CAF should be at 3, and OFC should be at 1. That system gives every confederation their best historical advancement number +2 or 3, with the exception of OFC, and it would also fill the tournament without having to exclude confederation participation based on playoff results. Alternately, AFC and CAF should each have 3.5 spots and a playoff for the final one.

The problem is that there are tons of FIFA votes in Africa, and they'll never do it. There aren't nearly as many FIFA representatives from CONCACAF, so we're frequently on the chopping block. But that CAF continues to increase berths from year to year despite their abysmal advancement record is proof enough that merit isn't much of a swaying interest for our favorite "charity".
posted by Errant at 12:42 PM on July 1, 2010


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