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July 2, 2010 3:53 AM   Subscribe

There are only 10 days of the World Cup left. The World Cup Final is on Sunday 11th July at 19:30 GMT. Today sees the start of the Quarter Finals, and with only 8 teams left, this is when the pressure really starts. A brief Preview of the Quarter finals:

Netherlands vs Brazil - This could be one of the games of the tournament. Netherlands have held it together this time (Almost...) and not imploded. Brazil have gotten better as the tournament has progressed, the hard-fought 2 -1 win over North Korea seems a long time ago now. They beat Chili in the Round of 16, Bielsa was undone by poor defending at a corner, and Brazils rapid counter-attacks, utilising Kaka, Robinho and Fabiano.

Ghana vs Uruguay - This could be a historic day for African football if Ghana win, as it would mark the first time an African team has made it through to the semi-finals. Asamoah Gyan is also one of the top scorers and could win the Golden Boot, as could Uraguay's Suarez. They will have their work cut out dealing with players like Diego Forlan, who has been the heartbeat of this Uraguayan side, and Luis Suarez, however Ghana has several players who either play or have played in the English Premiership such as Kevin Prince Boateng, John Paintsil, and their excellent goalkeeper Richard Kingson and who are used to dealing with top quality players.

Spain vs Paraguay - This would appear to be the easiest one to call, but this is the World Cup and anything can happen. Spain is a team full of world class star players, Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso, Torres, however Torres has yet to find his shooting boots, and was replaced in their last game (vs Portugal) by Llorente, a much more physical player who held the line and caused problems for Portugal, and was involoved in the play leading up to David Villa's winning goal. Paraguay have had a strange time, beating both Argentina and Brazil in the World Cup Qualifiers, but then losing their way towards the end of qualifying, and after qualifying, drawing with the Netherlands and losing to Qatar in warm up friendlies. And in the round of 16 they only beat Japan (after a very dull game) on Penalties. Key players are their strike force Roque Santa Cruise and Lucas Barrios.

Argentina vs Germany- This could also be another one of the games of the tournament. Germany are a young side with plenty of talent who play fast football and can attack like lightening on the break (I should know- I'm English!) Their key play-maker is Mesut Ozil, who is technically gifted and has a free role, playing left/right/central with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira covering his movement. Up front they have two excellent (at international level) strikers in Lahm and Podolski. And already they are taunting the Argentinians. Argentina are, as probably most of the world knows, managed by Diego Armando Maradona, a man who has been pure theatre at the World cup Finals. Their qualifying included playing around a hundred different players, before settling on their squad, which includes World Number 1 Leo Messi, as well a star strikers Higuain, Tevez and Milito. Maradona is also smart: he has, on his coaching staff, the talents of Oscar Ruggeri, Sergio Batistuta and Carlos Bilardo, the last of whom managed Argentina when the won the World Cup in 1986 with Maradona as a player.

The Semi finals line up like this:

Netherlands/Brazil vs Uraguay/Ghana
Spain/Paraguay vs Argentina/Germany

BBC sport team webpages:

Germany
Argentina
Spain
Paraguay
Netherlands
Brazil
Uruaguay
Ghana

So who do you want to win?
posted by marienbad (349 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. Done it. Quick question, when I use the link-inserter it kept jumping to the top of the text, but left the cursor in the correct place, is this usual?

For me, its Argentina FTW; they have played the most beautiful football and even beat Greece and their anti-football-all-11-men-in-their-own-half. Brazil look good, but are not the Brazil of old. Sorry to see Chili go out, I like Bielsa (anyone fancy starting a Bielsa for England Campaign with me?)
posted by marienbad at 3:56 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see Ghana win. I'm a chump for the underdogs.

Plus, it would be nice to see an African team take it, and it would be nice (for this US-American) to see the team that kicked us out of the tournament take it.

I'm not holding my breath, though.
posted by syzygy at 3:58 AM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I want Germany to win because there is almost nothing I love more than watching Germans flip out and go crazy.
posted by chillmost at 4:00 AM on July 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


After seeing Mexico get taken out by Argentina, I'm rooting for Germany. As othes have said, it's enjoyable to see them play football as an actual team sport. My wife is rooting for Argentina because she is a bit in love with Maradona.
posted by vacapinta at 4:03 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spain has been slowly improving towards euro 2008 level. If they finally find their style against Paraguay, it's going to be a heck of a semifinal vs either Germany or Argentina.
posted by valdesm at 4:06 AM on July 2, 2010


I shall be supporting Holland. Firstly, they hate the Germans at football more than we (England) do, and secondly I have had a soft spot for the Dutch since watching the 98 qf v Argentina in the company of several Dutch IT contractors - when Bergkamp scored THAT goal, they went completely crazy.

Also I have a few quid on David Villa for the golden boot so I want him to score v Paraguay.
posted by Electric Dragon at 4:17 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm scared.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:17 AM on July 2, 2010


As a Dutchman, I really like to see my own team go, as we have become the New Germany.
posted by ouke at 4:19 AM on July 2, 2010


This could be one of the games of the tournament.
I am quit positive that it is one of the games of the tournament.

I'm an American who's about to to view today's game IN the Netherlands. I am pretty sure I have never experienced anything like what I will today before.
posted by knile at 4:22 AM on July 2, 2010


Would love to see Germany v Brazil in the finale.

Then I want to see Wayne Rooney get primal in a cage match with the horrible refs from the Ger v Eng game.
posted by nineRED at 4:25 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Chili vs. Chile

Also this reads like something that should be on your own blog. (But maybe that's just me.) Furthermore, I'm betting on Argentina this time around. However, since the knockout stages I've only been right twice on my guesses as to who will advance (fwiw, it was Brazil and Argentina).
posted by mrzer0 at 4:26 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Germany: I've lived too long in Austria to be able to support them, and my Austrian girlfriend wouldn't appreciate it, either. I like Özil, though, and I do like this young side better than the team they fielded in 2006. They're fast and they really seem to want it. They look less clinical, less German, maybe.
Argentina: I'm ambivalent here. They've played some beautiful football, but I was unimpressed by their performance against Mexico, and I'm still not happy that they won 1-0 on account of an illegal (offside) goal.
Brazil: Great athletes, a little too cocky.
Netherlands: I'd like to see them play and beat Germany some time in the tournament. You want to talk about seeing a nation go wild, that'd be the ticket.
Spain: Haven't been too impressed with them this tournament, and they won the European Cup a couple of years ago, so it'd be nice to see a different team win the World Cup.
Paraguay and Uruguay: No strong feelings there. Both outsiders, so it'd be nice to see them excel, from that standpoint.

I'll be watching all of the games this weekend. Biggest problem for tomorrow is finding a public swimming pool in Vienna where they're showing the Spain vs. Paraguay match (other than the Badeschiff). Wish me luck.
posted by syzygy at 4:30 AM on July 2, 2010


Spain, if only because they saved my city a couple days ago. If the Dutch knockout Brazil, Toronto will be all set.
posted by gman at 4:36 AM on July 2, 2010


I will cheer for Germany as my supervisor has threatened to kick me out from my internship if I do not.
posted by furisto at 4:37 AM on July 2, 2010


I would like Germany to loose against argentina as I suppose they will do, because there is nothing that i hate more than germans going crazy. (not just because i had to flee the fireworks hitting my balcony after the last game)
The sooner this ugly nationalistic outpouring is over, the better.
I just hope that the psychic squid is wrong this time. I think he predicted Germany to win in overtime...

Ghana is the team I'd like to win.
posted by ts;dr at 4:38 AM on July 2, 2010


I think the Germans could also take it as they have been playing terrifically as a team (and I won't be here if they do so I won't have to witness the freakin' more-massive-than-new-year's-eve-level pandemonium if they do, and my kids will really dig it).
posted by From Bklyn at 4:39 AM on July 2, 2010


I'm for Germany because I think 'Schweinsteiger' is a great name. As far as I can tell it means 'pig overseer'. (Any native speakers able to clarify?)
posted by a young man in spats at 4:44 AM on July 2, 2010


I live in an area with lots of Ghanains, so I'm shamelessly jumping on their bandwagon and watching the game at one of their pubs. But I really don't mind, I'd be happy for anyone to win as long as they play well and the games are good:

Spain: I picked them to win before the tournament, and I like a lot of their players.
Germany: have played good football and have some exciting youth, like Ozil.
Paraguay: qualified out of New Zealand's group, and I said at the start that I'd back whoever qualified from our group; plus, they're underdogs
Brazil: need I say more?
Netherlands: not Total Football, but they have some exciting players like Robben and Sjneider
Uruguay: I'm a big fan of Diego Forlan (sad that he failed at Man Utd) and Uruguay are trying to restore a glorious past - what's not to like?
Argentina: the genius of Messi, Tevez et al, and their gloriously bearded sweary coke addict genius manager.

I'm starting to think Germany might do it - maybe unless Argentina can stop them...
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:48 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


There was a great Fokke and Sukke cartoon in the dutch newspapers today that basically said they really liked how they planned to have the end of the WK coincide with the start of the Tour de France. Excellent unspoken assumption in there...

We'll see what happens. I will keep the TV and radio off, and the window open. When I hear a lot of noise, I might turn on the TV to view the goal the Netherlands just scored in the replay, and then turn it off again...
posted by DreamerFi at 4:49 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The World Cup Money machine; Corporate and for the Teams, with the winners taking home $30,000,000.
posted by adamvasco at 4:56 AM on July 2, 2010


What is Fok Suk? I click on the link and it's a cartoon of two dudes on a couch with their peens hanging out. Did you just link to some sort of weird squiggly intellectual Dutch gay porno?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:58 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


...'Schweinsteiger' is a great name.
His nick-name (which apparently he does not like anymore) is "Schwein-y."
posted by From Bklyn at 4:59 AM on July 2, 2010


...and when Ballack was injured and had to give up the post as team captain a journalist asked Schweinsteiger who should replace Ballack, his answer? "Mark von Bommel" ! Mark von Bommel !
posted by From Bklyn at 5:04 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every single team I've barracked for thus far has lost. So it is with great trepidation that I confess: I'd really like to see Holland win it all.

(Two hours till the game is broadcast in my time zone. Haven't been able to sleep a wink!)
posted by arachnid at 5:07 AM on July 2, 2010


Yeah i realised after I posted that Chile was with an e. it is the same ith Uragauy and Paragauy which I sometimes spell "...euy". Lousy old brain.

"Germany: I've lived too long in Austria to be able to support them, and my Austrian girlfriend wouldn't appreciate it, either. I like Özil, though, and I do like this young side better than the team they fielded in 2006. They're fast and they really seem to want it. They look less clinical, less German, maybe"
posted by syzygy

I agree with your assessment. They certainly do. Strange that we have a German team that doesn't play like Germany and a Brazilian team that doesn't (completely) play like Brazil.

Good Luck to Ghana, would like to see them progress but I feel Uraguay will be tactically too much for them.

Interesting too, that there are hardly any black African managers of African teams. The bbc did an article about it: Here.
posted by marienbad at 5:09 AM on July 2, 2010


Fokke & Sukke previously (worksafe).

As for me, my bets would be on Germany or Argentina, but my sentiment is with Uruguay.

There is a chance, however vanishingly remote, of a Paraguay-Uruguay final, in which case I'm going to miss work to catch the Battle of the Guays.
posted by ardgedee at 5:09 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn you, ardgedee, you *just* beat me to it.

Seriously, though: We could have an all South America semifinal -- Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina.
posted by eriko at 5:14 AM on July 2, 2010


So many ways to choose.

Once England fall I always default to the Netherlands. I love the Dutch to bits and I'll never forget being at Amsterdam ArenA to see them destroy Scotland in a playoff game in 2003 (as a guest of the Dutch FA/stadium builders no less...best works leaving do ever). The game was won before the teams stepped onto the pitch as the crowd had been brought to an absolute frenzy of orangeness. The weird thing I remember was despite all this, when the Dutch team came out they were even more orange than the rest of the stadium. Madness.

Anyhow, I like the look of Brazil too. They look unbeatable although injuries & suspensions could cause a few problems today. Apparently they're the team that's created the most goal-scoring chances which is good to hear as I think Dunga has been unfairly maligned in some quarters.

Ghana v Uruguay? Well, with everyone else, I'd love to see an African team get through...they've looked useful but this is the hardest test yet. Uruguay have the same look as Brazil – tight as a gnat's chuff defence and lethal attack. Forlan has had a great year with crucial winning goals in the UEFA Cup. Could be interesting.

Germany v Argentina? Well the Germans get credit for having the best counter-attacking side and for Mesut Ozil looking like Admiral Akbar but is nobody not looking forward to more Maradona touchline madness as the competition progresses? If ARG go out would anyone be surprised if he took out a pistol & shot his assistants and then himself? If they won the tournament are we not all looking forward to him slowly eating the trophy like a python swallowing a mouse? And, of course, Argentina look like a very tidy team. The Germans have question marks in defence & goal so this could be the most exciting game of the round.

Spain v Paraguay? In competitions past, this is just the sort of game that the always-fancied Spaniards would fuck up royally. That said, I'd put them equal favourites for the Cup with Brazil and they've probably got the easiest tie. Paraguay? Furthest yet in the competition but do they have the

Still lots of great semi & final combinations.

An all S American semis could be on the cards, Brazil v Argentina for an absorbing final or (my personal favourite) a Netherlands v Germany final just because there is soooo much previous with these two and the Dutch really do hate the Germans more than anyone else in Europe does. My head says Brazil v Spain final and that would have been the favourite draw before the tournament but with a few shocks already who knows. The best teams really have risen to the top and it could all come down to one key moment/decision the throw everything off once again.

Damn, I love this World Cup so much I am going to feel so fucking lost when it's done. NBA free agency madness was no substitute yesterday when there were no games...
posted by i_cola at 5:19 AM on July 2, 2010


Germany barely wins an epic final match against Brazil and Ghana mows the lawn with the Spanish team, taking bronze.
posted by Anything at 5:21 AM on July 2, 2010


I'll be rooting for Germany, if only because I went there once on a summer exchange program and had the party of a lifetime. Plus they are playing very good football in this tournament. I am thinking it will be a Netherlands v Germany final, which would be one heck of a thriller for the Europeans.
posted by Vindaloo at 5:25 AM on July 2, 2010


Paraguay? Furthest yet in the competition but do they have the...

You know what? I have no idea how I was going to end that sentence. Welcome to doing 3 different bits of work, helping a friend with video conferencing prep on FB & commenting on MeFi.


Maybe just 'Paraguay? Furthest yet in the competition so maybe no pressure whereas Spain have the weight of expectation & previous failure'
posted by i_cola at 5:27 AM on July 2, 2010


It's a shame--there is so little World Cup left, but those fucking vuvuzelas are going to be with us forever. I was walking down the street in Boston the other day, and a bunch of kids had them and were just ambling around making a racket. The genie is out of the bottle and there's no way to cork him up again. Fuck you, soccer.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:28 AM on July 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I want Germany to win because there is almost nothing I love more than watching Germans flip out and go crazy.

That's exactly why I'm hoping Germany makes it to the final. I like watching football, but it's the party surrounding watching football that makes the World Cup so fun. At least in southern Germany, where rioting and illegally setting off fireworks doesn't really happen.
posted by cmonkey at 5:28 AM on July 2, 2010


I want Ghana to go as far as possible but they won't win it.
posted by fire&wings at 5:49 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Has anyone ever asked Kuyt if he'd like a Baby Ruth?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:00 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ghana or Argentina. The former because it would just be awesome, the latter because they have beautiful hair.

Really, I'm for anybody but the Dutch. I'm still pissed about a Euro championship game from 2004.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:02 AM on July 2, 2010


At least in southern Germany, where rioting and illegally setting off fireworks doesn't really happen.

You know who did riot & illegally set off fireworks in Southern Germany? Yes.
posted by i_cola at 6:04 AM on July 2, 2010


Zonal Marking's tactical previews for:

1) Netherlands/Brazil
2) Argentina/Germany

Having watched nearly every game in the tournament so far, I've been impressed mainly by the Brazil, Argentina and Germany teams, while the Netherlands and Spain have not impressed considering the pre-tournament hype and their reputations. It will take a while for me to forgive Paraguay for dragging everyone through some of the most drab 120 minutes of the tournament against Japan, while Ghana defends really well but will come up against one of the most dangerous-looking striker partnerships in Forlan/Suarez.

Brazil haven't been the flair players of old, but they still are very good technically and their attacking instincts are still intact. They have attacking threats everywhere and Luis Fabiano is doing well, with ample support from the flanks (Maicon/ Bastos) and with good cover from the midfield (Gilberto/ Melo). The Netherlands, despite their attacking talent, have struggled to find their rhythm, but with Robben now fit they have a match-winner in their ranks. (Although, that said, Brazil is full of match-winners.) I think Brazil will edge it if only because they're more consistently consistent than the Dutch. They've also been a treat to watch, generally, except against Portugal.

I'm really looking forward to the Argentina-Germany game, because we've got one of the most talented attackers put up against a young, dynamic German team who've proven their ability to score against good defenders with pacey counter-attacks. That said, the defences they've shredded were the Australian and English ones - not much to speak of during this World Cup - and Argentina's defence hasn't really been tested yet, so this is a pretty hard game to call. I'm rooting for the Germans, if only because they so joyously humiliated those overpaid, overhyped, over-the-hill English.

Plus, I'm not terribly eager about Maradona's promised naked run through Buenos Aires should Argentina win.

As for Ghana's keeper, Richard Kingson - I wouldn't give too much credit to Kingson's experience with top strikers, since his main activity for the last three years has been bench-warming at Birmingham and Wigan. He's performed above expectations so far, but Suarez and Forlan have been playing like men possessed all season and all tournament. I hope Ghana progress, but I'm not optimistic.

Roque Santa Cruise

Roque Santa Cruz. He's not been impressive at all, in either the regular season (for Manchester City) or for Paraguay in this tournament. And if you're going for form - well, David Villa has been having a whale of a time the last couple of weeks. I fully expect him and his team to shred Paraguay to ribbons.

Bielsa for England

Oh god, no. Managing the English team has not been good for a manager's career for quite a while, and I'd love to see Bielsa lighting up football with his all-out-attack philosophies for quite a while more, please. Plus, the English seem to be addicted to 4-4-2 and would never countenance some nancy foreigner coming in with his 3-3-1-3 heresies.
posted by WalterMitty at 6:17 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Black Stars all the way!

(Not likely at all, I know. Let me dream!)
posted by rollbiz at 6:24 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry to burst your bubbles, but I got an email this morning from South Africa 2010 beginning with "Dear Winner." Needless to say, winning the World Cup came as a bit of a shock to me and screws up my brackets because I hadn't picked myself to make it past the group stage. I attribute my success to good management, and having the good sense to ignore Fabio Capello. Also, I had a bunch of posters printed up to put in my locker room that said "There is no "i" in "Team", and there is no "s" in "Offside."

In order to pursue the Diego Maradona career path, I'm going to have to leave MetaFilter so that I can devote more time to developing a cocaine addiction, running naked through the streets, scoring goals with my hands, and complaining loudly about how the futbol community owes me more respect. I already have a bad ankle, so that part's taken care of.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:36 AM on July 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Argentina. They've been playing mostly exemplary ball. Elegant, creative, and with a real love for the game that you don't get in many places. Hand of God notwithstanding, Maradona is like the Sant Clause of soccer. And Messi might be the next Best Player Ever.

Anyone but Brazil, really. Aside from the "give someone else a chance" angle, they're wimps. They don't even have the balls to be thugs like, say, Algeria. So instead they have clearly practiced methods of catching the ball covertly as in the second goal against Cote'd Ivoir. Kaka is the worst of them, but they all flop around like it's extra time and they were Ghana, talk shit and can't take it. They're a cynical team without any lasting talent. Kaka will only be remembered for his scatological name.
posted by cmoj at 6:37 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


AH&WO: FokSuk
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:41 AM on July 2, 2010


I would love to see a Netherlands v Germany final, but I don't see how the Dutch get past Brazil today. If Brazil wins today they are in the final, as neither Ghana nor Uruguay can stop them, and if they do I think Germany is the only other team capable of beating them.
posted by thewittyname at 6:45 AM on July 2, 2010


How can you not root for Ghana?

But among the credible candidates, rooting for Brazil is like rooting for the Yankees. They're the ultimate overdog.

And though it was thrilling to watch the squad of young passionate Germans demolish their overpaid indifferent British opponents, as a Jew, I find myself withholding the final measure of emotional investment. Still, I look forward to them bringing everything they've got.

So I'd like to see Argentina take it - if only to burnish the Maradona legend. Would he be the first person to win the Cup as both player and coach?
posted by Joe Beese at 6:45 AM on July 2, 2010


Well I'm still going for England. Sure - they've been knocked out, and hence it is impossible for them to compete, let alone win. However, this was also true in the Algeria game, so really nothing has changed. Furthermore, the players are now better rested after having a few days off, and the odious pressure of the overly-expectant English press has been entirely removed. Plus, we don't actually have any opponents, so they can't score against our slow and ailing defence. If you add that all up, it looks like England's best chance to progress since '66! So, I've bet the entire UK GDP on England to win the World Cup, thereby giving us a great chance to wipe out our massive public debt once and for all.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:46 AM on July 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


Someone who's never won before would be nice; that leaves Holland, Ghana, Paraguay and Spain, although I've liked the cut of Uruguay's jib thus far and it's been ages since they won, so they'd do in a pinch.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:49 AM on July 2, 2010


Joe Beese: Would he be the first person to win the Cup as both player and coach?

From Wikipedia:

Brazil's Mário Zagallo and West Germany's Franz Beckenbauer are the only people to date to win the World Cup as both player and head coach. Zagallo won in 1958 and 1962 as a player and in 1970 as head coach. Beckenbauer won in 1974 as captain and in 1990 as head coach.Italy's Vittorio Pozzo is the only head coach to ever win two World Cups. All World Cup winning head coaches were natives of the country they coached to victory.
posted by WalterMitty at 6:53 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a great post - thanks, marienbad! I point my vuvuzelas towards Paraguay or Ghana. What can I say? I love an underdog. Plus, as I. Jest said, they came from NZ's group, so...

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
posted by troika at 6:54 AM on July 2, 2010


I should add that no matter who wins my personal World Cup was already filled to the brim when Italy went down in flames.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:54 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's my patriotic duty to cheer for the Netherlands.
Also; what else am I going to do with my orange clothes.
posted by joost de vries at 6:56 AM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ah, South American national anthems. So crazy, so pompous, so fun.
posted by i_cola at 6:58 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Awesome post! I'm hoping for Germany but it would be something if Ghana won. Such lovely people, such a lovely country and it would be amazing for the African continent. Off to watch the Brazil vs Netherlands game!
posted by bluesky43 at 6:59 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


At least in southern Germany, where rioting and illegally setting off fireworks doesn't really happen.

Having been at the Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart, I can tell you that south Germans love to have fun too, as long as it's meticulously planned well in advance.
posted by kersplunk at 7:23 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, yeah, that was my point - here in southern Germany, everyone has fun without rioting and fireworks.
posted by cmonkey at 7:55 AM on July 2, 2010


We lost to the Netherlands so I'm hoping they win against Brazil and on to win the Cup itself, but so far it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
posted by misozaki at 8:08 AM on July 2, 2010


Wow, I take that back! What a goal!
posted by misozaki at 8:10 AM on July 2, 2010


Baby! Ruth!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:12 AM on July 2, 2010


All I know is that if Spain, the team I randomly drew out of a hat at the office, wins it all, I'm taking home 65 bucks. So go Spain!
posted by KantGoOn at 8:13 AM on July 2, 2010


Wow. That goal has messed up Brazil. This is a good game.
posted by i_cola at 8:21 AM on July 2, 2010


That was one of the best goals I've ever seen.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:25 AM on July 2, 2010


2-1! Go Netherlands!
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:26 AM on July 2, 2010


Brilliant!
posted by malocchio at 8:28 AM on July 2, 2010


Meltdown.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:30 AM on July 2, 2010


Germany barely wins an epic final match against Brazil and Ghana mows the lawn with the Spanish team, taking bronze.

Well I guess not.
posted by Anything at 8:33 AM on July 2, 2010


Don't count any chickens yet...

That was one of the best goals I've ever seen.

You obviously haven't seen Keith Houchen's equaliser for Coventry City v Spurs in the '87 FA Cup Final ;-)
posted by i_cola at 8:38 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The vuvuzelas make the World Cup feel like a global sporting event directed by David Lynch. The steady drone leaves the viewer thinking something isn't quite right here, creating a tension. There is lots of clever action in the middle that the viewer is certain will become something mind-blowing amazing any second now. But little of that ever connects, and then it's over, the score is 1-1 and there have been three shots on goal, and the North American TV watcher who has little interest in soccer for the four years in between World Cups is left wondering just what it was that they had been expecting to happen as they sat and watched for the last hour and a half. This is the exact same feeling I reached after watching Mulholland Drive.
posted by TimTypeZed at 8:41 AM on July 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is nuts!
posted by From Bklyn at 8:45 AM on July 2, 2010


What a ludicrous horrible farce of a game.
posted by Anything at 8:50 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes!
posted by arachnid at 8:50 AM on July 2, 2010


Totally totally NUTS!
posted by From Bklyn at 8:50 AM on July 2, 2010


Wow. Well done, Netherlands!
posted by homunculus at 8:51 AM on July 2, 2010


Oranje boven!
Oranje bóóven!
posted by joost de vries at 8:51 AM on July 2, 2010


2-1 it is! This country is going to color orange like never before!
posted by DreamerFi at 8:51 AM on July 2, 2010


Robben and Sneijder have together ripped the Brazilian team apart - Robben by drawing the Brazilian defenders tasked to defend him into countless needless fouls and giving away far too many free-kicks, besides frustrating them to the point of that needless stamp; Sneijder by orchestrating the comeback from behind. Fair play to the Netherlands, they've out-played, out-simulated and out-scored the Brazilians quite comprehensively.

Could it be the Netherlands' year? They have an excellent chance of getting to the Final, with either Uruguay or Ghana playing them in the Semi-final.
posted by WalterMitty at 8:52 AM on July 2, 2010


Brazil really lost their composure in the second half. Would you blame the coach for that one, or the players?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:52 AM on July 2, 2010


Yay!
posted by trip and a half at 8:52 AM on July 2, 2010


What a ludicrous horrible farce of a game.

I have to agree, sadly. Both teams are very talented, but this game was marred by far too many fouls and dives to be truly enjoyable.
posted by WalterMitty at 8:53 AM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow. Well done, Netherlands!! You beat the Brazilians at their own game. Very well done!
posted by vacapinta at 8:54 AM on July 2, 2010


I have to admit I was sceptical. But they really owned the second half.
posted by joost de vries at 8:56 AM on July 2, 2010


Wow. What a game. Bastos should be blamed for that. Too many stupid fouls meaning Dunga had to take him off to save a sending off and downhill from there for the Brazilians. Not that Cesar shouldn't've been saving that first goal.

Talk about game of two halves...

HUP HOLLAND!

Maybe I will get my Netherlands v Germany final after all. [Works out cost of day trip to Amsterdam on July 11th.]
posted by i_cola at 8:57 AM on July 2, 2010


Bloody over-achieving continentals :p
posted by Abiezer at 9:01 AM on July 2, 2010


this game was marred by far too many fouls and dives to be truly enjoyable

All’s Fair in Love and Soccer -- Cheating and working the refs are part of what make the beautiful game fun to watch.

Make up your mind, football fans!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:02 AM on July 2, 2010


Wow. As a 17 million population nation to defeat a 200 million football crazy nation is no mean feat.
I must admit I had little faith during the first half.
posted by joost de vries at 9:03 AM on July 2, 2010


Personally, I'm hoping for Ghana to beat Uruguay and then the Netherlands. I've been deeply unimpressed by both sides' (Brazil & Holland) cynicism. If you want to dive, go to a pool.
posted by WalterMitty at 9:05 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wasn't Sneijder's goal celebration just the same thing you do yourself if you scuff one in in a Sunday league match?
posted by Abiezer at 9:06 AM on July 2, 2010


And Kuyt giving a textbook demonstration of 'honest endeavour', albeit with a mostly agricultural end product.
posted by Abiezer at 9:08 AM on July 2, 2010


Make up your mind, football fans!

Well done there, putting every fan into one big homogenous group.

Would you blame the coach for that one, or the players?

In a case like this, everyone. The Brazilians should have known what to expect from Robben; he's a high-profile player, and his penetrative runs and technical skill are well-known. Instead the players had no idea how to deal with him and resorted to constantly fouling him. In the end their frustration at their inability to deal with him boiled over into a stamp which left the ref no choice. Robben knew he had the measure of the Brazilian defenders and kept working at them.
posted by WalterMitty at 9:09 AM on July 2, 2010


I CAN'T BELIEVE THE NEDERLANDS WON,

AUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH!

no, i don't feel better :(
posted by liza at 9:14 AM on July 2, 2010


Hup Holland! Hup Holland!
posted by earlofrochester at 9:17 AM on July 2, 2010


well, I can't get too excited about a second half where one team is playing with only 10 on the field. Melo was an idiot for that stomp and surely deserved to get ousted. Yay for the Netherlands for staying in the game though after that generally miserable first half.
posted by bluesky43 at 9:21 AM on July 2, 2010


To be honest, I'm not really bothered by fouls and dives as long as they are called correctly, which in this game they largely were. I'm upset by the uncharacteristically inept play by both teams for a large portion of the time. One failed pass after another...
posted by Anything at 9:22 AM on July 2, 2010


What a ludicrous horrible farce of a game.

I have to agree, sadly. Both teams are very talented, but this game was marred by far too many fouls and dives to be truly enjoyable.


Utter bollocks. Off you trot & watch the World All-in Chess Championship and leave the rest of us to have fun. Dilettantism at its worst.
posted by i_cola at 9:26 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm Dutch. I'm rooting for the homies.
posted by monospace at 9:27 AM on July 2, 2010


Any year in which Brazil doesn't win the World Cup, is almost as good as a year in which my team wins it.

Thanks Holland!
posted by oddman at 9:29 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dilettantism at its worst.

Are you talking about the game, your dismissiveness or your inability to accept the validity of any opinion different from your own?
posted by WalterMitty at 9:30 AM on July 2, 2010


Almost 100 comments and not a single thread-shitting blanket dismissal of "soccer" as not real football or incoherent screed about how televised pro sports spectacles are for drooling sheeple?

Ain't nobody keepin' it real on the blue anymore?

Go Black Stars!
posted by gompa at 9:34 AM on July 2, 2010


Oranje!!!
posted by SweetJesus at 9:35 AM on July 2, 2010


By the way, for those of us who are dilettantes but are still interested every couple of days in looking up and seeing who's still in it, marienbad, thanks! This is exactly the kind of "here's where we are" post that I find useful.
posted by Michael Roberts at 9:37 AM on July 2, 2010


I'm happy.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:37 AM on July 2, 2010


since the US is out, I'll be rooting for the team with the cutest goalkeeper.

Go Argentina! Or Spain. Damnit.
posted by desjardins at 9:42 AM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's like fucking JaLa or some shit... the way they cast these stories on NPR as making or breaking entire nations and peoples is just crazy. This morning I couldn't help but laugh aloud at the interpretation that Ghana's team could destroy the hopes and dreams of EVERY LIVING CREATURE IN AFRICA by losing their match.

Fucking insanity.
posted by odinsdream at 9:48 AM on July 2, 2010


No no no, that's EXACTLY what's at stake!
posted by monospace at 9:50 AM on July 2, 2010


since the US is out, I'll be rooting for the team with the cutest goalkeeper.

That's as valid a reason as any to choose to support a particular team.

It's a pity not even one-tenth as much attention is paid to the Women's World Cup. I mean, it took FIFA 60 years to get around to it after the first men's World Cup. In the meantime I'd bet that not even 1 out of 20 readers of this comment even know when and where it's going to be next held without looking it up.
posted by WalterMitty at 9:51 AM on July 2, 2010


Oh please please please get the tournament over soon. I can't stand it anymore. You think vuvuzelas are bad? My upstairs neighbor has soccer parties and plays mariachi music for his buddies every time there's a game on. He is loud and tone deaf, and can't even tune his guitar.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:55 AM on July 2, 2010


That was actually a bit disturbing. Were I Dutch I'd be ashamed to have won that way.

But as my dad told me: "You know what they do in Brasil? Cry for a minute. Then dance and sing. I suggest we do the same."

<3, and thanks to the seleção for playing.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:00 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have supported Spain in almost every World Cup since I started caring about the World Cup. The exception was supporting France in '98.

This time around though, Spain all the way!
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:01 AM on July 2, 2010


...your inability to accept the validity of any opinion different from your own...

I completely accept your right to have an opinion but I also reserve the right to tell you that you are wrong. In this case, mainly based on the fact you don't seem to understand the game very well. Sorry.

You might as well complain about too many stoppages or flags in gridiron, too many foul balls in baseball, too many fouls or free throws in basketball, too many dot balls in cricket and so on.

As a fan you tend to get to a point where these things don't really detract from a game. Sometimes they can even add value (i.e. Ronaldo being totally ignored by the ref in the Spain v Portugal match). If you're going to get all purist when you have two teams fighting for all they're worth you are going to be disappointed far more often than not.

All the football fans I've spoken too during & since the match have loved it. Not one of the all-time classics by any stretch but some great stuff. I've watched enough boring games in my life to know a decent one when I see it and that was one.

Oh, and for the record, I'm not against those who dip into the World Cup on a whim or casually but it rubs me up the wrong way when people start complaining about it for dim reasons. Y'know like "Oh, science, it's all complicated and I don't get it so I think it's a bit rubbish"-type reasoning.

Anyhow, who cares...I've just checked and if the Oranje win on Tuesday evening I can use my Airmiles to go to Amsterdam for the final. Fun!
posted by i_cola at 10:01 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and being a sports fan and someone who'd love to see soccer get more attention here, I did want the US team to go a bit further than they did, but still rooting for Spain to take it all.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:12 AM on July 2, 2010


That was actually a bit disturbing. Were I Dutch I'd be ashamed to have won that way.

Huh? I'd say losing because one of your players got sent off is way more embarrassing.
posted by monospace at 10:18 AM on July 2, 2010


Not interested in having an argument with you, i_cola, so forget it. You're right, who cares. Storm in a teacup and all that.

My opinion is unchanged, and if there was a team still in the running that I'd rather not see in this year's final it'd be the Oranje. Opinions, opinions, everyone's got opinions.
posted by WalterMitty at 10:21 AM on July 2, 2010


All the football fans I've spoken too during & since the match have loved it.

Hi. I'm a football fan. I thought that game was pretty goddamn ugly. You may now tell me what a terrible johnny-come-lately I am and how I don't understand anything, being a casual supporter who only watches a paltry 20+ hours of football a week.

Or, you could come to the conclusion that if you ask ten people who share your views what their views are, you'll find to your pleasure that everyone agrees with you.

In conclusion, I completely respect your right to have an opinion but I also reserve the right to tell you that you're being a snob and deeply unreasonable. You can disagree with someone's opinion all you want, but to dismiss not only their opinion but their commitment to the game on the grounds that they disagree with you is narrow-minded and stupid.
posted by Errant at 10:23 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


i_cola: I've watched enough boring games in my life to know a decent one when I see it and that was one.

Agreed
posted by syzygy at 10:23 AM on July 2, 2010


Were I Dutch I'd be ashamed to have won that way.

The Dutch outplayed the Brazilians, and the dismissal was something the Brazilians deserved. If anything the Dutch should be commended for ruthlessly turning the screws when it became clear the Brazilians were cracking under the pressure of having conceded the equaliser and having to deal with Robben's constant probing. Truth be told, the Dutch could have scored quite a few more with a little better composure and slightly better finishing.

Nothing to be ashamed about, really, not when everyone on the field is playing the game the same way.

I'd say losing because one of your players got sent off is way more embarrassing.

That depends on the manner of the dismissal. In Melo's case, he deserved it. Utterly unnecessary. Brazil might've made a better game of it with everyone on the field, although to be fair they weren't playing that well in the second half prior to the dismissal anyway. As it was... *shrugs*
posted by WalterMitty at 10:27 AM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just to clarify - if you win the game because you dived and the referee was taken in, and either issued a red card or got a penalty, cf. Rivaldo or the Hand of God, then yes, you should be ashamed to have won that way.

If you diddled an opponent to the point where he lost control and stamped on you and got a red card for his troubles - well, the opponent should have known better, and deserved what he got. If you win because of that dismissal, it's his fault and not your shame.
posted by WalterMitty at 10:32 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a great post. ;)
posted by V4V at 10:38 AM on July 2, 2010


Not one of the all-time classics by any stretch but some great stuff. I've watched enough boring games in my life to know a decent one when I see it and that was one.

Oh, and for the record, I'm not against those who dip into the World Cup on a whim or casually but it rubs me up the wrong way when people start complaining about it for dim reasons.


A million "favorites" for you.
posted by L'OM at 10:43 AM on July 2, 2010


Well, desjardins, if looks were the sole determinant of World Cup readiness, god damn that the Swedish team didn't make it this year.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:45 AM on July 2, 2010


Giant orange pacman.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 11:08 AM on July 2, 2010


Just to clarify - if you win the game because you dived and the referee was taken in, and either issued a red card or got a penalty, cf. Rivaldo or the Hand of God, then yes, you should be ashamed to have won that way.

Unless you're latin american or southern european in which case it makes your team even more heroic especially if they're playing against a first world, rich country team.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 11:11 AM on July 2, 2010


I've rooted for Argentina since I lived there, for over forty years now, and I'm not about to stop. (Also Boca Juniors, if anyone cares.) I am worried about Germany—Özil has really impressed me—but I still expect to see the Albiceleste in the final.

In the recently terminated game, I was initially rooting for Brazil, but their pathetic behavior after the Dutch equalized destroyed any sympathy I had.

> Utter bollocks. Off you trot & watch the World All-in Chess Championship and leave the rest of us to have fun. Dilettantism at its worst.

Really? You think dives are that essential a part of the game? Interesting. But since you are clearly the biggest football fan here and far more knowledgeable than the rest of us wankers, I defer to your decision.
posted by languagehat at 11:16 AM on July 2, 2010


Slog of a game, but awesome as always to watch Brazil implode.

Rooting for Brazil is like rooting for the Yankees, Cowboys, Manchester United, or Duke basketball. Fuck self-appointed royalty of any sport.

If it's Ghana-Netherlands, I'd be hard pressed to root against Ghana, but c'mon, the Nederlands deserves a World Cup championship.

I don't have much of an opinion about the bottom half of the draw, other than rooting for the underdog by default, which means Paraguay.

Argentina-Germany *should* be fun to watch, but I'm not sure who I'll root for yet. After the first 10 minutes, I'll decide which side I hate the most.

You might as well complain about too many stoppages or flags in gridiron, too many foul balls in baseball, too many fouls or free throws in basketbal

A better analogy in baseball would be too many walks and pitcher changes. And yes, too many fouls in basketball is certainly something to compain about. Who wants to watch a free-throw contest?

Anyway, I'm with WalterMitty. I watched the whole thing, and the first half was a little better, but it was generally a slog. The officiating was fantastic, though, I thought. I didn't see any seriously bad calls, and the second half was dicey. A lesser ref could have let the game slip away.

It was a shitty game, though. C'mon. And I was rooting for NL.

Let's hope the second match is a little better. (Has this whole tournament been a slog, or is it just me?)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:21 AM on July 2, 2010


it rubs me up the wrong way when people start complaining about it for dim reasons.

I'm not complaining about the World Cup at all. The tournament is fantastic, and (aside from the refereeing, which isn't an easy subject to fix) has generally gotten better in the past 3 decades.

The teams/efforts this year just haven't been very impressive to me. Maybe it's the Jalubani. I mean, Alves lined up for that ~25m free kick with 10 minutes left, looked up to God, said his prayers, and looked oh-so-serious ... then blasted it straight into the wall. Likewise, Persie lines up at the same distances from the other side .. and blasts it 30 feet over the crossbar.

I'm working more this World Cup than in the past, so I'm sneaking games here and there, but watching all the highlights, etc., and it's just seems like a blah tournament overall in 2010. Maybe it's the altitude? (Game today was in PE, so that wouldn't explain it ...)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:28 AM on July 2, 2010


Fuck self-appointed royalty of any sport.

In one sense, yeah, fuck them. In another, these 'royalty' are perceived as such because they play the game better than their opponents. What's wrong with that?

Has this whole tournament been a slog, or is it just me?

It's just you. There have been genuinely good games which we good to watch and with plenty of good, clean action with competent football being played.

An interesting tidbit while the Uruguay-Ghana game kicks off, from the OptaJoe twitter feed: "Felipe Melo is the first player ever in World Cup history to score an own goal and get sent off in the same game."

Also, good read from Zonal Marking analysing the game here. Essentially ZM thinks the Dutch ascendancy in the 2nd half was down to a conscious decision by the Dutch to direct their attacks down the right flank, via Robben et al, since Bastos and Melo were the weak points of the Brazil team.

Another interesting tidbit which suggests to me Robben's success in winding up the Brazilian team: "Against Brazil, Arjen Robben won 8 free kicks for the Netherlands, an individual record in a single match so far at the 2010 World Cup."
posted by WalterMitty at 11:39 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nervous play by Ghana so far. Not promising.
posted by Anything at 12:00 PM on July 2, 2010


.. that has certainly changed.

Awful fall by Fucile by the way.
posted by Anything at 12:18 PM on July 2, 2010


In another, these 'royalty' are perceived as such because they play the game better than their opponents. What's wrong with that?

I guess because the perception is overblown. Sure, Pele, yeah, hell yeah. I grew up watching those training videos of Pele jumping up and heading ball after ball (after ball after ball ...). And five World Cups, sure, impressive.

But, objectively, Brazilian soccer really isn't *that* much better on average than the rest of the world. And people say stuff like "no one plays football like Brazil" which is a load of crap.

I suppose I just think people put too much emphasis on championships. (Then again, I am a big fan of Barry Bonds, so grain/salt.)

Nervous play by Ghana so far. Not promising.

But plenty of chances. They could easily be up 2-0 by now. I like their odds.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:19 PM on July 2, 2010


YES!!!
posted by arachnid at 12:20 PM on July 2, 2010


Go Ghana! Awesome!
posted by Dumsnill at 12:20 PM on July 2, 2010


Holy shit what a goal!
posted by languagehat at 12:21 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes! There it is. Halfway decent shot, but the keeper just looked stoopid. JALUBANI!
posted by mrgrimm at 12:21 PM on July 2, 2010


(Pending i_cola's approval, of course.)
posted by languagehat at 12:22 PM on July 2, 2010


Top timing - give them something to panic about at half time. Shame about Boateng's ambitious overhead effort.
posted by Abiezer at 12:29 PM on July 2, 2010


Oh fuck
posted by Dumsnill at 12:45 PM on July 2, 2010


Nervous as hell for Ghana. Brazil have shown how fragile...

Aw no.
posted by WalterMitty at 12:45 PM on July 2, 2010


Nervous play by Ghana so far. Not promising.

It's a funny old game ;-)

The Uruguay defence is in tatters with Lugano being injured. Can the deadly strike partnership (touted by some as the best of the tournament) of Forlan & Suarez make amends?

languagehat: Oo...I see what you did there. To be totally clear – I think that concentrating on petty annoyances that occur, in different forms, in every sport, is pointless. I watch a lot of NBA games and the fouling, free throws and time outs can be a pain when it comes to the flow of the game. Thing is, you just get up and make a sandwich, have a pee, have a chat and let it go. I find dwelling on it just gets in the way.

If you want purity, then maybe golf? Well, pre-Ryder Cup '99 gold anyway.

[On preview] Well, there you go. Forlan with a killer goal. This is turning out to be a great game.
posted by i_cola at 12:46 PM on July 2, 2010


Well, pre-Ryder Cup '99 golf anyway.
posted by i_cola at 12:47 PM on July 2, 2010


I find dwelling on [petty annoyances] just gets in the way.

The same could be said of MetaFilter discussions.

Someone mentioned to me before the game that Forlan is having what might be the best season of his life. His partnership with Suarez has been one of the most exciting ones this entire tournament.

Have to say, an Uruguay in attack mode is a thing of beauty, especially with Suarez and Forlan playing like they are.

Kingson's lack of match practice is showing. I just hope he gets through this game without any more match-losing gaffes.
posted by WalterMitty at 12:53 PM on July 2, 2010


Oof. Uruguay missed a bunny.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:55 PM on July 2, 2010


OVERTIME AND STILL TIED! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!
need more happy pills
posted by liza at 1:33 PM on July 2, 2010


The same could be said of MetaFilter discussions.
Touché ;-)

You've got to fancy the Uruguayans if it goes to pens. Then again Kingson looks like he could get a hand on a couple.

Some interesting sub-plots here. Forlan & Pantsil were on opposite sides earlier this year at the UEFA cup final. Also contrast the seasons of Forlan & Kevin Prince Boateng. Both had good seasons individually but where Folan hoisted silverware with Athletico Madrid, KPB's club, Portsmouth, were wretched (and he missed a penalty in the FA Cup final).

I'd still like to see 15 mins extra time periods until the death instead of penalties.
posted by i_cola at 1:49 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wimbledon style?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:49 PM on July 2, 2010


Heh...yup.

OK. So possibly the most dramatic end to a game and *still* penalties to come.
posted by i_cola at 2:03 PM on July 2, 2010


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Anything at 2:05 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Motherfuckinghell if Ghana loses on penalties.
posted by Dumsnill at 2:05 PM on July 2, 2010


Holy crap.
posted by kmz at 2:05 PM on July 2, 2010


Damn, this game is insane.
posted by Put the kettle on at 2:06 PM on July 2, 2010


Hand of Suarez
posted by cucumber at 2:06 PM on July 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

QFWTF
posted by kittyprecious at 2:08 PM on July 2, 2010


Poor Asamoah Gyan. It would be SO wrong if Uruguay wins now.
posted by catchingsignals at 2:10 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


THESE PENALTY KICKS ARE KILLING MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
posted by liza at 2:12 PM on July 2, 2010


Fuck
posted by Dumsnill at 2:12 PM on July 2, 2010


Poor Mensah.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:12 PM on July 2, 2010


Damn. Ghana miss.
posted by ofthestrait at 2:13 PM on July 2, 2010


Aw shiiiiit.
posted by arachnid at 2:13 PM on July 2, 2010


Yesa!!!
posted by Dumsnill at 2:13 PM on July 2, 2010


Uruguay miss! tied up again 2-2.
posted by ofthestrait at 2:13 PM on July 2, 2010


Uh...okay?
posted by arachnid at 2:14 PM on July 2, 2010


Oops. 3-2 uruguay.
posted by ofthestrait at 2:14 PM on July 2, 2010


No!
posted by Dumsnill at 2:14 PM on July 2, 2010


*head asplodes*
posted by arachnid at 2:14 PM on July 2, 2010


It's too much pressure - they're always playing catch up.
posted by catchingsignals at 2:15 PM on July 2, 2010


These things don't really go that way, but imagine you could stop time, or otherwise had plenty of time to plan that last minute.

You're Suarez, striker for Uruguay. It's the last minute of extra time. You find yourself on your side's goal line. Ghana shoots a ball, straight at the goal, and your goalkeeper is out. That ball is going to go in, and you're going to go out the tournament.

Why *not* think, "I'm gonna punch that god damn ball from the the goal line, I'm gonna eat that god damn red card and the god damn penalty can always go in or not go in"?

These things don't really go that way, but just as a thought experiment, here is what I feel is a compelling example of how cheating can be tactics.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:15 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cheeky Uruguay!
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:15 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


(...and we can always win the shootout.)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:16 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aw man.
posted by arachnid at 2:16 PM on July 2, 2010


That was a terrible last penalty kick. Uruguay wins.
posted by ofthestrait at 2:16 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seeing Ghana players cry is making me cry.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:16 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Motherfuck. Ghana deserved to win this.
posted by Dumsnill at 2:17 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


NO FUCKING JUSTICE IN THE WORLD. God, poor Asamoah Gyan.
posted by catchingsignals at 2:18 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes! Uruguay!!
posted by Rumple at 2:18 PM on July 2, 2010


Goddamn. Poor Ghana.
posted by lullaby at 2:19 PM on July 2, 2010


What a heartbreaker.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:19 PM on July 2, 2010


Poor Asamoah Gyan?! Fuck that. Shitty penalty kick gets what shitty penalty kick deserves.

Still a shame, Ghana really should haven't finished that goal twice.

I'd still like to see 15 mins extra time periods until the death instead of penalties.

Amen. Why not two more 15-min halves of golden goal? (Admittedly, Ghana was dead on their legs by the end.)
posted by mrgrimm at 2:19 PM on July 2, 2010


Gah! Uruguay are the cheatingest cheaters that ever cheated in soccer. Suarez switched to volleyball mode on a sure-thing goal in the dying seconds. A penalty kick hardly seems like an appropriate remedy for what he did there; that was literally the game-winner that he hand-balled on the goal line.

Oh well.
posted by Kirk Grim at 2:20 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


A new definition of pain. It's one thing to lose a penalty shoot out but to have had the chance to win with a penalty & then lose in a shootout is just plain horrible.
posted by i_cola at 2:20 PM on July 2, 2010


Or were you guys saying "Poor Roberto Baggio" in '94? Bah!

Uruguay are the cheatingest cheaters that ever cheated in soccer. Suarez switched to volleyball mode on a sure-thing goal in the dying seconds.

Oh c'mon. You and I and 99.9% of soccer/football players would have done the same thing. It's as much cheating as an intentional foul on a game-winning breakaway in basketball.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:23 PM on July 2, 2010


I hate it when cheaters win
posted by mjg123 at 2:23 PM on July 2, 2010


my heart is broken. both Brazil an Ghana out on the same day.





i can't even .... *sob*
posted by liza at 2:24 PM on July 2, 2010


Oh. Poor Ghana.
posted by twirlypen at 2:25 PM on July 2, 2010


Oh c'mon. You and I and 99.9% of soccer/football players would have done the same thing. It's as much cheating as an intentional foul on a game-winning breakaway in basketball.

Actually, this is my query to the Mefi footie cognoscenti:

Is that hand ball considered "fair" cheating? In hockey (which I know best), you'd happily take a penalty that gave up a penalty shot if that was the only way to keep the puck out of the net, and few players or fans would look at it as anything but a smart reflexive move in the heat of a tight game. All's fair in love and war kind of thing. Same deal in football? Or is it regarded as poor sportsmanship?

In any case, that was the most tense, stupefying, utterly tragic couple minutes of sports I think I've ever witnessed.
posted by gompa at 2:26 PM on July 2, 2010


Oh c'mon. You and I and 99.9% of soccer/football players would have done the same thing

I know, I know. I'm just really frustrated. I hate seeing that kind of play. But it's not like a foul on a breakaway in basketball; if we're going with basketball it's more like goaltending because the ball was headed and on the way in. Which is of course illegal, and the point gets awarded as if it had gone in.
posted by Kirk Grim at 2:27 PM on July 2, 2010


A penalty kick hardly seems like an appropriate remedy for what he did there

Finally, I have a chance to promote one of my favorite books: He Always Puts It to the Right: A Concise History of the Penalty Kick.

Football was a pretty brutal game back in the 19th century and apparently some fouls were even bad enough to kill some players. The turning point in creating the penalty kick, though, was an intentional handball on the goal line in an FA Cup match.

I don't even think they really even had referees before then. Anyway.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:28 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Suarez is a fucking asshole. At least Ghana are going home with their honor.
posted by azarbayejani at 2:29 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


The ref *could* have awarded a goal after the handball-off-the-line. Like refs have denied goals that actually did go over.

Just saying. That was awful for Ghana.
posted by mjg123 at 2:30 PM on July 2, 2010


Or is it regarded as poor sportsmanship?

Just from my experience, it's not looked on as heroic or anything (i.e. he could have tried harder to save it with his head or shoulders), but it's a given that a player would do it if absolutely necessary.

I mean, he sacrificed not only the penalty kick (there was another defender right next to him who might have saved it, I think?), but he's also kicked out of that game (one of their better PK takers) and also the next game.

Then again, against a certain goal and near-certain elimination, again, I'd say almost 100% of players would say it's OK.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:31 PM on July 2, 2010


Adelante Uruguay!
posted by needled at 2:33 PM on July 2, 2010


And 100% of coaches (that I know) would tell you to do it if necessary. Really, it's a given, again, like fouling on a breakaway layup with :01 left.

The goaltending analogy is a good one, but the rules in soccer are different for a reason - 2 points are much less critical to a basketball game than 1 goal. From my faint memory of Miller's book, I think even reaching agreement among players on allowing a penalty kick for serious infractions was very difficult. I can't believe they would have gone for awarding goals. In this case, it was obvious, but other cases are hardly as cut and dry.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:36 PM on July 2, 2010


Did anyone see a replay of the foul that led to the free kick that led to the handball chaos at the very end of the extra time? Was it really a foul? It looked really dubious.
posted by Anything at 2:40 PM on July 2, 2010


What an exciting game! What a disappointing result! Ghana outplayed Uruguay most of the game and went on to lose it in the last hair-raising moments. It's such a let-down when the best team loses, especially when they're the underdogs.

That's some of the most riveting sport I've witnessed in a long time. What a heart-wrencher!
posted by syzygy at 2:40 PM on July 2, 2010


In hockey (which I know best), you'd happily take a penalty that gave up a penalty shot if that was the only way to keep the puck out of the net

True, and I'm totally behind a hockey player who does it for some reason. I think it's because it takes huge balls to jump in front of a hard piece of rubber traveling close to 100km/h without goalie pads. I mean just look at Juncam Keef of the Brackhocksh, who has no teef reft.
posted by Kirk Grim at 2:41 PM on July 2, 2010


Is that hand ball considered "fair" cheating?

I consider it on the same level as tripping a skater on a breakaway, or grabbing a WR's jersey to keep him from catching a sure touchdown. It helps your team, but there's no way you can consider it good sportsmanship, and most fans feel a little dirty thinking about it.

Suarez getting sent off and missing the semifinal does ameliorate some of it, and in the end, Gyan mis-struck the ball on the penalty. But I think there's no way you can look at what Suarez did and feel good about it, even if you're Uruguay and moving on to your first semis in 40 years.
posted by dw at 2:42 PM on July 2, 2010


True, and I'm totally behind a hockey player who does it for some reason. I think it's because it takes huge balls to jump in front of a hard piece of rubber traveling close to 100km/h without goalie pads. I mean just look at Juncam Keef of the Brackhocksh, who has no teef reft.

Yeah, but I was thinking even beyond that. A blatant trip on a breakaway, for example, draws jeers from opposing fans but any player would do it if there was no other way to stop the guy on the breakway. Or gloving a puck headed across the goal line. The only thing I can think of that's almost universally condoned is throwing a stick.
posted by gompa at 2:45 PM on July 2, 2010


goodnewsfortheinsane:
I get what you're saying. A lot of people would take the dive and do the handball. Does that make it okay? No. It's fucking ridiculous. You're right, cheating can be tactics, but should that kind of shit be allowed in the World Cup?

Not to take it too extreme, but should we be teaching kids that are watching this sport values like "If you really want to win, it's okay to cheat."?
posted by azarbayejani at 2:45 PM on July 2, 2010


Today in football: Paris Hilton detained after Ned-Bra
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:49 PM on July 2, 2010


It's different from a deliberately dangerous foul morally tho, I mean it harms nobody but yourself. A defender has the right to break a rule and accept the penalty if he thinks a goal is imminent. It's as noble as, say, stealing food to feed your family. Actually it's twice as noble because it affects more people. Did I mention I used to play left fullback?

It's just too bad the world bank had to sneak onto the field and lower the crossbar by 12% right before the handball PK by Ghana. Dicks.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:50 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


should we be teaching kids that are watching this sport values like "If you really want to win, it's okay to cheat."?

Actually, the better question is: Should we expect big-time pro sports to provide consistent morality lessons for kids? And if so, what kinds of lessons? In my experience - both as a player of sports as a kid and teen and as a lifetime spectator - is that the biggest lesson you learn is that there's no implicit justice in the game or in the world, playing fair may earn you respect but it won't always win you the title, and winning at any cost (that you can get away with) is the bottom line in some circles.

I don't think these are necessarily bad lessons for kids to learn, to be honest. Because frankly, sometimes in life the judges will be biased, the refs bribed and the opponents a bunch of cheaters who win anyway.
posted by gompa at 2:51 PM on July 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


So he definitely misses the semi-final, is there a provision to allow that suspension to extend to the final after some sort of review? If the provision is there, how likely would it be to be invoked?
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:51 PM on July 2, 2010


You're right, it shouldn't be allowed. If I made the rules, the perpetrator would be sent off and a penalty kick would be awarded to the opposing team.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:52 PM on July 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


(And I should add: learning to carry on despite the unjust loss with your dignity in tact is the real lesson of sport and the real goal in life.)
posted by gompa at 2:53 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is everyone talking like it would've inevitably gone in without Suarez's intervention? Don't forget it's the Jabulani we're talking about.
posted by Anything at 2:56 PM on July 2, 2010


That World Bank bit made me spit out my drink. Thanks Potomac Avenue
posted by azarbayejani at 2:58 PM on July 2, 2010


I hope Uruguay goes down hard after that. Which means I guess I'm supporting the Dutch in South Africa now and being a student of history that feels very very strange.
posted by trojanhorse at 3:02 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can understand why Suarez did it, but yes, it is also despicable cheating, and I am gutted for Ghana, who I've enjoyed watching more than almost any other team this World Cup.

I hope Uruguay get through the semis, that Suarez only gets a one match ban, and that he plays in the final, and that there's a corner to the other team in the last minute, all the Uruguay players are back defending, and a loose ball loops across the penalty area, bounces off his arse, and lazily trickles into his own goal.

And then he cries. And his shorts fall down. And he tries to waddle away, all tearful and hobbled, he falls over, face first into the turf. And as one, the crowd make their vuvuzelas make the wah-wah-wah-waaaaaaaaaaaah sound.
posted by reynir at 3:05 PM on July 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


and being a student of history that feels very very strange.

File under "dubious": "Daar zijn we weer!" ("Look Who's Back!")
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:09 PM on July 2, 2010


I read reynir's brilliant comment in David Sedaris's voice.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:11 PM on July 2, 2010


I'd still like to hear an opinion (and see a replay) on the last free kick -- because if it was a wrong call by the ref, then the Suarez handball and Gyan's bar shot was in fact a case of the hobbling Cosmos stepping back into balance.
posted by Anything at 3:18 PM on July 2, 2010


And by replay I mean a replay of what the ref judged as the foul.
posted by Anything at 3:20 PM on July 2, 2010


hey all

well this thread has made my day! it has footy chat, arguments, and summaries of the Brazil Netherlands and Uraguay Ghana Games. Fantastic. Thanks to those who said they enjoyed it (Michael Richards for e.g.)

I missed the Brazil game, was at work but heard the first half on the radio before they went to the tennis. I came home and watched the Uraguay Ghana game. wow, what a game. each half was a game of 2 halfs, and i was shouting to the Ghanains (play it wide, he's in fucking acres mate, arrrgh no the other way!!! etc.) the ending, was unbelievable, couldn't believe Gyan missed the Penalty and to then go out on penalties, i nearly cried.

COME ON ARGENTINA!!!
posted by marienbad at 3:28 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is that hand ball considered "fair" cheating?

I think so. He did it, knowing that he would prevent a goal, but that he would be sent off and concede a penalty. It's "fair" compared to those who dive, or commit fouls that they hope the ref won't see.

The problem is with the rules: he prevented a 100% certain goal, yet received the same penalty as for tripping an opposing player who was through one-on-one against the 'keeper - which isn't a 100% certain goal, obviously. My first thought was that maybe the ref needs the discretion to be able to award the goal anyway [in rugby, say, the ref can award a penalty try, if the defending team deliberately infringes in order to prevent a certain try].

But in terms of the rules of the game as they stand, he did the right thing; the ref did the right thing, and Ghana unfortunately failed to take advantage.

[I'm speaking here as someone who was supporting Ghana; my area has a huge Ghanaian population and I've been out in the pub cheering for them]
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:29 PM on July 2, 2010


Oh c'mon. You and I and 99.9% of soccer/football players would have done the same thing. It's as much cheating as an intentional foul on a game-winning breakaway in basketball.

Then again, against a certain goal and near-certain elimination, again, I'd say almost 100% of players would say it's OK.


I don't understand how, when you dedicate your life to a game that, at the end of the day, is just putting a ball across a line into a net, you don't try to play it with some skill, some flair, and most of all, some dignity and self-respect.

Let's say Uruguay wins the World Cup. What then? Everyone will remember they cheated. I mean, Maradona at least had that sublime second goal to almost make up for it, could argue his cheating might not have changed the outcome. This one was the very last kick of extra-time, a certain winner.

Football is, at the end of the day, about pride. Who can take pride in that? Is the Uruguayan public feeling proud of their team right now?

I can't say for certain that, in his position, I wouldn't have done it by reflex - but afterwards I would've been too fucking ashamed of myself to celebrate. I would've tried to apologise to every of the Ghanaian players, if not right after the game then soon afterwards, not that they would've wanted to hear it, but still. If it was one of my team-mates, I would've been too fucking ashamed to celebrate. It's pathetic.

But sure, rationalise that it's within the rules of the game. Isn't that what we do with everything?

France got their comeuppance with Thierry Henry. Will Uruguay get theirs?
posted by catchingsignals at 3:34 PM on July 2, 2010


Oh c'mon. You and I and 99.9% of soccer/football players would have done the same thing. It's as much cheating as an intentional foul on a game-winning breakaway in basketball.

Y'know, I'd like to think someone like Zola wouldn't have. That's part of why people love him.
posted by catchingsignals at 3:41 PM on July 2, 2010


France got their comeuppance with Thierry Henry. Will Uruguay get theirs?
That should've been called differently. This was called exactly as it should've been.
posted by Anything at 3:41 PM on July 2, 2010


catchingsignals: "But sure, rationalise that it's within the rules of the game. Isn't that what we do with everything?"

Boy, it seems like just days ago that American soccer fans were being chastised for not understanding and appreciating the ways in which tactical cheating were just part of the beautiful game.

Oh, wait! It was!
posted by barnacles at 3:43 PM on July 2, 2010


I can't blame Suarez, but Ghana had a chance to make it all right. Gyan could have made it a moot point by concerting the PK.

That said, I won't be able to root for Uruguay for the rest of the cup.
posted by oddman at 3:49 PM on July 2, 2010


Gyan could have made it a moot point by concerting the PK.

"could have" is small consolation given the ball that Suarez grabbed was a 100% certainty. It's a shame he didnt convert the PK, but i dunno if I can put the loss on Gyan for missing on his do-over.
posted by Kirk Grim at 3:52 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


the only way this was cheating instead of a regular old breaking of the rules would be if suarez had whipped out a gun and shot the ball out of the air, which, to be honest, would have been gloriously evil.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:13 PM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


That should've been called differently. This was called exactly as it should've been.

Henry could've made an attempt to disown the goal, told the ref himself it was handball. He didn't. It will always be a stain on the career of a man who was otherwise a great player. His career has been going downhill ever since.

Oh, wait! It was!

I wasn't there barnacles. But if you look further up the thread, you'll see non-American soccer fans being chastised for not understanding and appreciating the beautiful game as they should as well. It happens. It's sport, people argue. Let's call time on the Americans vs. rest-of-the-world point-scoring, shall we? Most non-Americans I know including myself were supporting USA's progress this year, really happy that more of America's joining the party. Some Americans turned up criticising everything about the party, how much of a waste of time the party was, how the rest of the world should learn from how they did it; some non-Americans got defensive. Some other Americans got into it with an open mind (or were already fans) and we enjoyed enjoying (and not enjoying it) with them. It's supposed to bring the world together, only happens once every four years. Let's not let people like Glenn Beck win?
posted by catchingsignals at 4:30 PM on July 2, 2010


Paris Hilton cleared. Thank goodness, I was almost worried a bit there.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:23 PM on July 2, 2010


Please stop watching soccer if you think what Suarez did was somehow "wrong".

It's YOU who are ruining this sport for the rest of us, not the people on the pitch whom you think are "cheaters".
posted by L'OM at 5:25 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


the only way this was cheating instead of a regular old breaking of the rules...

breaking the rules in order to gain an advantage is kindof the definition of cheating.
posted by Kirk Grim at 5:27 PM on July 2, 2010


Here's an article that talks about a similar incident during the 1990 World Cup qualifiers (scroll about 2/3rds of the way down)

Personally, I'm of the opinion that what Suarez did was not cheating. He deserved and received the maximum penalty for the foul he committed, and that's pretty much the end of it. Let's not confuse any sentimental feelings we might have about Ghana, and their performance during this first African World Cup, with the rules of the game - which were followed to the letter today.
posted by deadmessenger at 5:39 PM on July 2, 2010



Please stop watching soccer if you think what Suarez did was somehow "wrong".


I assume that was directed at the ref who handed him the red card?
posted by Kirk Grim at 5:39 PM on July 2, 2010


First: Uruguay - Ghana was the best match I've seen at this tournament so far. Absolutely brilliant drama, two wonder goals, a sending off, penalties -- it had everything.

Second: Cast your mind back to 1998. Manchester United have leveled with Newcastle, 1-1. They need at least a point to stay in the title race. From a set piece at the Newcastle end, the ball breaks to Robert Lee who goes racing down on Peter Schmeichel's goal, alone and clearly in a position to score. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sprints the length of the field to hack down Lee from behind, gets up, and starts walking towards the tunnel before the referee even shows a card (red, of course). Man U go on to tie the game and stay in the hunt with Arsenal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is regarded as a hero and a club legend at ManU, and I can promise you that Uruguayans currently feel the same way about Luis Suarez. What Suarez did was a professional foul, he deserved to be sent off, and the penalty was awarded as it should have been. As far as the laws of the game go, everything was correct. Suarez turned a 100% goal into a 90% goal for his team, at the expense of his own personal glory and potential further participation in the tournament. In Uruguay, he's a hero, and I doubt he cares if anyone else thinks worse of him.

For Americans who are appalled: in 1989, in a World Cup qualification match against Costa Rica, with the score 1-0 to USA and one minute to go, goalkeeper Dino Vanole came out for a loose ball and missed, allowing Costa Rica's Alvaro Solano a shot at an empty net. As the ball rolled towards the goal line, defender Steve Trittschuch dove for it and punched it away. He was sent off, Dino Vanole saved the resulting penalty, and USA were into the World Cup for the first time since 1950. If we had not gotten into Italia'90, there's every indication that we would have had 1994 taken away from us. There'd be no MLS, no Landon Donovan, no run in 2002, no stoppage-time goal against Algeria, no heartbreak against Ghana, maybe no future to look forward to. So consider that before you go on about cheating and how Uruguay should feel ashamed, because I promise you that Costa Ricans haven't forgotten that one, even if we have to our discredit. This isn't Torsten Frings in 2002. Suarez did what he had to do for his team, and I find it incredibly unlikely that if the roles were reversed, any Ghanaian wouldn't have done the same. If they'd do differently, I'd think less of them.
posted by Errant at 5:50 PM on July 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


> To be totally clear – I think that concentrating on petty annoyances that occur, in different forms, in every sport, is pointless. I watch a lot of NBA games and the fouling, free throws and time outs can be a pain when it comes to the flow of the game. Thing is, you just get up and make a sandwich, have a pee, have a chat and let it go. I find dwelling on it just gets in the way.

OK, I think we're on the same page then. (With the proviso that if it's your team that gets shafted, you have the God-given right to bitch and moan for an extended period.)

> In my experience - both as a player of sports as a kid and teen and as a lifetime spectator - is that the biggest lesson you learn is that there's no implicit justice in the game or in the world, playing fair may earn you respect but it won't always win you the title, and winning at any cost (that you can get away with) is the bottom line in some circles. I don't think these are necessarily bad lessons for kids to learn, to be honest.

I don't either; very well said.

> Please stop watching soccer if you think what Suarez did was somehow "wrong". It's YOU who are ruining this sport for the rest of us, not the people on the pitch whom you think are "cheaters".

Oh, fuck off. Everybody else here is trying to get along; take your dick out of the mashed potatoes.
posted by languagehat at 5:52 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's something interesting I just noticed. It looks like Fucile was also reaching for a handball as well, but Suarez was the one to get the red card because he succeeded.
posted by deadmessenger at 6:16 PM on July 2, 2010


REPENT, SINNERS! There is still time.

How to be a fan of Holland [AskMe, 2008]

(Shameless self-link to my primer in that thread)

And if you're going to click on any link in this comment, let it be this one. Call it required listening. Welcome on board, friends!

HUP!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:36 PM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Father Beese, in imparting his love of the game to me, placed a very high value on sportsmanship. I was glad to see Brazil lose largely because of their flagrant fouling.

And, despite my rooting for Ghana, I didn't feel for a moment that Suarez "cheated" - though I can respect a difference of opinion. As long as he wasn't injuring another player, it was simply an extreme move dictated by extreme circumstances.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:50 PM on July 2, 2010




Let's say Uruguay wins the World Cup. What then? ... Football is, at the end of the day, about pride. Who can take pride in that? Is the Uruguayan public feeling proud of their team right now?

What then? I imagine there'll be celebrations in Uruguay, articles in the Guardian about how South America is rising again, and disappointed Argentina, Netherlands, Germany, Spanish, and Paraguayan fans. Some of the players will probably get improved contracts, and the manager might get the key to Montevideo.

Football is about lots of things, but not really. Google results for "football is about" (site:*.co.uk to avoid american football references):
Football is about players...
Football is about scoring goals that ultimately win matches.
[F]ootball is about very, very, very, very fine margins.
Football is about mistakes.
Football is about winning trophies.
...football is about money.
Football is about skill and chance, and it's no fun when football executives do their best to stifle either.
International football is about keeping the ball.
...football is about more than just pretty patterns.
...football is about dreams and if you work hard enough, you can achieve them.
... football is about price and ego inflation brought about by the wiles of the clubs that represent the game.
Football is about to lose itself
... football is about confidence and believing in yourself.
Football is about beating your opponent...
...football is about mental strength...
...football is about defending.
...football is about the whims of managers.
...football is about performance.
Football is about attacking and defending.
Football is about more than goals and glory. It is about community and a sense of belonging.
Football is about tribal loyalties, and totally irrational loves and hates.
Football is about winning games!

and

football is about to begin...
Undoubtedly, football is also about pride, but it's also about all those other things. Winning the World Cup is never a fluke. Luck gets you through a moment, but hard work and skill and teamwork and mental something gets you through the other 89 moments.

I never feel great about situations like the Uruguay hand-ball, but it's a legitimate tactical decision. 89th minute, certain goal, certain red card, certain penalty, small chance of Ghana player missing the penalty. In a split second, the player has to weigh up the costs of that decision, and how that decision fits with the game plan, and then make it... in front of millions of people.

Football has the framework for dealing with these situations built in. They need fine-tuning every now and then but, ultimately, both teams consent to the framework and both teams use it to their advantage. I guarantee a Ghana defender in the same situation would have done the same thing. That is not an accusation of immorality or a cheating mind, it's a recognition that the best players in the world know how to use the game mechanics to their advantage.
posted by doublehappy at 7:17 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


For Americans who are appalled: in 1989, in a World Cup qualification match against Costa Rica, with the score 1-0 to USA and one minute to go, goalkeeper Dino Vanole came out for a loose ball and missed, allowing Costa Rica's Alvaro Solano a shot at an empty net. As the ball rolled towards the goal line, defender Steve Trittschuch dove for it and punched it away. He was sent off, Dino Vanole saved the resulting penalty, and USA were into the World Cup for the first time since 1950.

Actually, no. Remember, we were still 2 points for a win back in 1989. US draws with Costa Rica, they would be on 8 points going into the game with Trinidad and Tobago (who had 9). Beating T&T would have been put them on 10, clinching the second WC berth.

So it would have made the final game more "must win," but it alone would not be enough to eliminate the US. Of course, it could have played out completely differently in the remaining 6 games, but the point is that the Trittschuch punchout alone didn't push the US into Italia '90.

And oh, creating the MLS was a stipulation of FIFA awarding World Cup '94 to the US in 1988. Even if the US hadn't qualified, the MLS would still have happened.
posted by dw at 7:17 PM on July 2, 2010


Or actually, this:

What Suarez did was a professional foul, he deserved to be sent off, and the penalty was awarded as it should have been. As far as the laws of the game go, everything was correct. Suarez turned a 100% goal into a 90% goal for his team, at the expense of his own personal glory and potential further participation in the tournament. In Uruguay, he's a hero, and I doubt he cares if anyone else thinks worse of him."
posted by doublehappy at 7:21 PM on July 2, 2010


And on review, I don't think comparing Suarez' hand ball to a flagrant foul in basketball is right. The nearest comparison would be goaltending, but the remedy in that case is that the basket is awarded.

What Suarez did was unsporting. If it weren't, he would not have been sent off and the penalty would not have been awarded. But he was found and punished according to the rules, and that's about the best you can say. Gyan didn't convert, and Ghana is going home.
posted by dw at 7:24 PM on July 2, 2010


Well, that sucks. Now there's going to be a semi-final where I would like both teams to lose. Bah. I guess that makes it even.

That said, I have to concur with the notion that Suarez did what he had to. He had a choice: (1) Let it go in, and let Uruguay be eliminated; or (2) Stick a body part in the way, and let the consequences be damned. He's gonna be feted in Uruguay. Gyan will live with his penalty miss forever.

Suarez got what he deserved for the handball, but he shouldn't be vilified for it the way, say, someone stamping on another player should be. (Hello Melo.)

I have a grudging admiration for Suarez and disappointment in Gyan. And the Netherlands now doesn't have to face a hitherto hugely important figure for Uruguay. Yes, Forlan scored Uruguay's only goal this time, but in tandem they make for a very worrying pair for any defence.

P/S why do people have to be dicks to each other? Even when discussing a sport? Can't we just agree to disagree and respect a difference of opinion? Geez. Also, no need to be snobs. When even the head of FIFA is an idiot there's no real reason to be all snobbish and smarter-than-thou about anything. It's a goddamned game.

Anyway, on to Argentina-Germany and Paraguay-Spain. Here's to hoping they'll be good games to watch too.
posted by WalterMitty at 7:28 PM on July 2, 2010


If football were just about rules, players would not do things like kick the ball out of play when a player on the opposing team is injured. It is not in the rules.

If football were just about rules, players like Di Canio and Fowler would not be remembered and respected for what they chose to do, celebrated here.

Opinions differ as to what's right and wrong, and there's not much more I can say to that. I looked briefly around the internet, and opinions are equally split. But it has soured football for me.

Beyond the rules, there is the spirit of the game. I hadn't realised how cynical that spirit has become. Moreover, the idea that it simply reflects the way real life is - I would have thought there is enough cynicism in the world that on the field, we would actually want our players to aspire to something different. I find it hard to fathom supporting someone like Suarez, laughing that the hand of God is now his.

Without sportsmanship, the game feels meaningless to me. It seems not many others feel the same here. But I wonder how many people will now support Anyone But Uruguay.
posted by catchingsignals at 8:12 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


And oh, creating the MLS was a stipulation of FIFA awarding World Cup '94 to the US in 1988. Even if the US hadn't qualified, the MLS would still have happened.

You're right about the points and that that penalty save alone didn't put us into Italia'90, and I apologize if my hyperbole seemed excessive. But if we'd tied the game we might well have been out, and the ball was going in. The scenario seems to me to be about the same: take the red card for the chance to live another two minutes, maybe another day.

MLS may have happened anyway -- I'm not convinced that if FIFA had taken 1994 away from us, which they would have done if we hadn't qualified for 1990, we would have followed through on the league promise, or that the league would have survived without the momentum of hosting the World Cup. I do think that we'd still have soccer in some sense here by now even if we hadn't had 1994 and MLS, but it wouldn't be what it is now. The point is, we can definitively point to actions like Suarez's in our own history and say they were beneficial, so it seems hypocritical to condemn someone else for doing essentially the same thing.
posted by Errant at 8:24 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps in that England-Argentina game an England player should have sacrificed himself and took Maradona out of the game. He would have got sent off, but hey, no Maradona anymore - national hero.
posted by catchingsignals at 8:27 PM on July 2, 2010


I'm with you, catchingsignals. But I'm also the rare Canadian who thinks our own team cheated against Russia in the 72 series and find it a disgraceful embarrassment while the rest of us seem to celebrate it as our defining moment as God's gift to hockey.

What Suarez did was intentionally break the rules to his advantage (OK, 'LAWS', YOU PEDANTS!), which in this particular case completely changed the outcome of the game in an elimination tournament. You don't get to throw 2 guys in net behind your keeper who get to use their hands in his absence. That's cheating. It's the dictionary definition of cheating, in fact. You can be fine with cheating and enjoy the game. You can say cheating is part of every professional sport, I agree, and I know it happens, and I boo it loudly. I don't like cheating, and call it when I see it, and I still enjoy sports. These are not mutually exclusive concepts, enjoying sports and disliking cheating and cheap, dirty tactics.

FWIW it was cheating when the Americans did it in the example above, too, but Americans will be more sympathetic because it benefitted their side. Same for any team, including Uruguay. Point is we're all still watching and enjoying. Controversy makes sports more interesting. But I'm a little concerned that people don't seem to consider it cheating just because it gets you the desired outcome.
posted by Kirk Grim at 8:41 PM on July 2, 2010


I'm not convinced that if FIFA had taken 1994 away from us, which they would have done if we hadn't qualified for 1990

What evidence is there of that? I don't think there's much there. They talked of taking it from South Africa, but that was for the delays in getting stadium work underway. There's no way South Africa would have qualified.

the league would have survived without the momentum of hosting the World Cup

As is, there was a move on to create a first division league, and in fact we had the ASL/A-League from 1988 on. Without an MLS, I think the A-League and the USISL would have combined (as they have now) and eventually FIFA would have relaxed its dumb rules about first division leagues not crossing borders. Would it be the size and scale as MLS? Of course not. The quality would also be pretty poor. But I think there was a vacuum there, and were there no MLS, the A-League would have had no trouble filling it.

And, personally, it should have been the A-League. The MLS made countless mistakes those first 5 years that ultimately led to near bankruptcy and contraction. While the Miami Fusion were struggling with getting 10,000 to their games, the Rochester Raging Rhinos of the A-League were thriving while drawing 10K a game. The next three MLS expansion teams -- Vancouver, Portland, and Montreal -- are all entering former A-League markets, and all in places where the A-League teams thrived.

The point is, we can definitively point to actions like Suarez's in our own history and say they were beneficial, so it seems hypocritical to condemn someone else for doing essentially the same thing.

If Trittschuh had handled the ball in the final minutes of the '94 Colombia game or the Portugal or Mexico wins in 2002 I would agree with you. But what you're arguing is that we can't see this as condemnable because we once benefited from this in what was ultimately a non-factor of a game during qualifying. And that's a bit silly. You can see this as an unsporting gambit regardless of whether your team has ever benefited from it. God knows how many random fouls the US has gotten away with over the last 100 years of international football, but that doesn't mean we can't look askance at Tevez being way offside or Henry handling the ball and be hypocrites.

The problem comes when people suggest they are spotless in light of another team's transgressions, and I don't see anyone around here -- or even anyone in the media -- saying that. Suarez did the wrong thing for the right reason, and he saved Uruguay's bacon as a result.

It was crap. But I can say that knowing that the US has gotten away with murder multiple times in the last 100 years. I can say that knowing that my college football team 20 years ago got a gift fifth down that ultimately saved them from defeat and opened the path to winning their only national championship. I can say that knowing that Carlos Guillen's foot was on home plate when he bunted home the Mariners' winning run in the 2000 ALDS.

You can say "it was crap" as long as you know that sports is often filled with crappy calls and stupid, unsporting stuff that helps a team win. Cheating, or gaming the rules, is as much a part of sport as skill and talent.
posted by dw at 9:27 PM on July 2, 2010


You can say "it was crap" as long as you know that sports is often filled with crappy calls and stupid, unsporting stuff that helps a team win. Cheating, or gaming the rules, is as much a part of sport as skill and talent.

Yeah, but talent will out. Luck and cynicism take you only so far.
posted by doublehappy at 9:58 PM on July 2, 2010


Sorry, guys.
posted by Gyan at 10:10 PM on July 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


The problem comes when people suggest they are spotless in light of another team's transgressions, and I don't see anyone around here -- or even anyone in the media -- saying that.

That's fair enough. That's mostly what I'm responding to, and if no one is actually saying that and I misinterpreted what people were saying, then my bad and I apologize for harping on it. I guess this whole "they should be ashamed" thing is what gets me. No one would be saying that if Gyan had slotted home the penalty; no one would even be talking about this. I don't see why Uruguay should feel ashamed because he missed.

What evidence is there of that?

There's not much hard evidence, I don't think, but certainly USSF and the national team management felt that it was a possibility or an "unofficial rumor" with meat behind it. The South Africa thing had more to do with the perceived delay in constructing stadiums and transportation readiness, infrastructure stuff, but 1994 was the first time the World Cup would be held in an "emerging nation" soccer-wise, outside of the traditional powers and nations in which football is the national sport, and the circumstantial evidence seems to suggest that there were serious concerns that USA wouldn't be able to draw enough local interest. Anyway, that's a bit off-topic for the current discussion, but I'd be happy to have it elsewhere if you like.

Perhaps in that England-Argentina game an England player should have sacrificed himself and took Maradona out of the game. He would have got sent off, but hey, no Maradona anymore - national hero.

I remember reading an article, I think in the Guardian, a few years back where an Argentinian football coach was saying that that's what he couldn't believe about that goal, that the English were too polite to just foul him.
posted by Errant at 10:42 PM on July 2, 2010


First of all... yay! Brazilian death-football is dead!

Second of all... GHANA! NOOOOOOOOOO!

Third... I wrote a review and analysis of the first two quarterfinal matches on the World Cup Blog I'm writing.

Fourthly, here's a great story about Dino Vanole and his penalty save.
posted by Kattullus at 10:56 PM on July 2, 2010


Actually, I don't think of what Surarez did as cheating. An obvious foul and a red-cardable offense, certainly, but when I think of a cheat in football, I think of someone who attempts to deceive by diving or playing the ref/linesman or failing to admit they were the last to touch the ball before it went out -- that sort of thing. If Suarez had claimed it was his chest or his head instead of his hand: now that would be cheating.

But as the last line of defence, when your only opportunity to prevent the goal is by sacrificing yourself with a blatant professional foul, it may not be regarded as a particularly laudable or admirable choice of conduct when you're discussing it with your son or some other sub-10 year old, but in my experience it's understandable, if not quite admirable.

My hate for the incessant bs deceptive way of cheating playing we see from people like Ronaldo and Robben is far greater than any twinge of empathetic guilt I have seeing a random and rare goal line reaction made in a split second. That said, I feel really sorry for Ghana (and Gyan). It was theirs(his) for the taking.
posted by peacay at 11:10 PM on July 2, 2010


First of all... yay! Brazilian death-football is dead!
Good riddance Team Nike.
posted by Abiezer at 11:32 PM on July 2, 2010


It ain't Dunga's fault that his top-tier talent played like shit. But he's falling on his sword for them nonetheless.
posted by bardic at 12:29 AM on July 3, 2010


I'm curious as to why people are only calling this particular incident "cheating". In that game, Ghana conceded 23 fouls, and 3 yellow cards. Many of which were professional fouls, designed to break up the Uruguayan attack, when Uruguay were breaking.

To my mind, deliberately tripping an opponent is just as much "cheating" as is deliberate hand ball. (That is: neither is cheating, both are infringements that should be punished within the rules of the game).

Could anyone explain why they see a difference between the two situations? Not snarking, I'm genuinely curious as to where we draw the lines.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:38 AM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Catchingsignals gets it. I'm astonished that anyone can think it isn't cheating, in the same way that I'd be astonished if anyone thought that Henry's handball in the qualifiers wasn't cheating. If Suarez had punched the ball into the Ghanaian net, it would have been the same. It's cheating. Even if pragmatic terms you can understand why Suarez did it, it's cheating.

There seems to be some view that it was some kind of honest or noble infringement, brave Suarez taking one for the team, but that's bollocks. If the ref hadn't spotted it, when the Ghana players all appealed Suarez would have slunk away smirking, maybe patting his shoulder or his chest, like Harry Kewell did, all what-ref-me-ref-cheat-ref-no-ref.
posted by reynir at 12:41 AM on July 3, 2010


--I'm astonished that anyone can think it isn't cheating, in the same way that I'd be astonished if anyone thought that Henry's handball in the qualifiers wasn't cheating--

See, I totally disagree. Henry tried to gain an advantage without consequences. Suarez knowingly accepted the ultimate sacrifice to protect the goal. He fell on his sword, took the last bullet, made the final stand. He was making a save, not scoring a goal. It was defensive and not an attack. It was made in plain sight and not covertly.

It's going to be a personal thing as to what you regard as cheating. As I say, I don't think Suarez was noble but I totally identify with the situation he found himself in. Suarez may or may not have 'slunk away smirking', but conjecture's no way to judge a person's character.
posted by peacay at 1:31 AM on July 3, 2010


I've seen handballs off the line that have never been picked up by the referee or linesman because they're unsighted: players can and do get away with it so I can't warm to this noble sacrifice, falling on his sword business. If what he did wasn't cheating, I am stumped as to what is.

Given that Suarez celebrated Gyan's miss, then at the end of the match let himself carried around the pitch by his teammates in triumph, I think it's not unfair to allow myself a little conjecture about what would have happened had he got away with it.
posted by reynir at 1:51 AM on July 3, 2010


Other than match-fixing or using performance enhancing drugs, it's impossible to cheat in football. In th 1986 World Cup, Argentina beat England 2 -1. Diego Maradona scored two goals. Terry Fenwik and Sergio Batista received yellow-cards. I know this because FIFA keep reliable records. I don't care how many times you show me video footage of Maradona's first goal, or how many times you play me the interview in which he admits that he hand-balled, it didn't happen.
posted by doublehappy at 2:57 AM on July 3, 2010


--I've seen handballs off the line that have never been picked up by the referee or linesman because they're unsighted--

Excellent, but this is not that.

--Suarez celebrated Gyan's miss--

He would do that in any situation that Gyan missed a penalty. I think being carried is pretty tacky sure.

*sigh* I don't really care that you can't see this situation as different to to the devious and underhanded tricks deployed all over the rest of the field. I view it from a wider vantage point I suppose: stopping the ball getting into the goal is a basic aim from when you play as a little kid. Taking a dive comes from a cheater's mindset and is much more premeditated. Saving a goal by using your hands is obviously extreme and rare but it's saving the team and goal: it's an ingrained objective. But... whatever.
posted by peacay at 3:00 AM on July 3, 2010


Today is a new day but I still feel slightly giddy about Holland winning. '98 can finally be forgotten.

Here's hoping that Germany (in other words an organised and improved team) will win today.
posted by ersatz at 3:35 AM on July 3, 2010


Having slept on it, I can understanding better many of your perspectives: that Suarez got sufficiently punished for what he did, and it was up to Gyan to take the opportunity, he didn't, so it was on him. I can understand that.

But I hope most of you, if you were teaching a kid football, would not think to teach the kid to do what Suarez or Solsjkaer did. (stopping the ball getting into the goal is a basic aim from when you play as a little kid: It honestly wasn't for me - an even more basic aim was to play without using your arms, unless you were the goalkeeper. That was I'm sure pretty fundamental to what football was for me as a kid. You don't use your arms.)

I would like to think that, if you were playing a game with your friends, and a friend did what Suarez or Solsjkaer did - that afterwards, when you go for a meal or a beer together, you would not quite be able to look at him or her the same way. At least for a while.

No one would be saying that if Gyan had slotted home the penalty; no one would even be talking about this. I don't see why Uruguay should feel ashamed because he missed.

No one would be talking about this as much. We would still have been talking about it, some of us would still have been appalled by what Suarez did, but we would not be talking about it as much because it didn't ultimately affect the outcome of the game, and because to us justice would have been served. My opinion of what Suarez did would have been the same.

I remember reading an article, I think in the Guardian, a few years back where an Argentinian football coach was saying that that's what he couldn't believe about that goal, that the English were too polite to just foul him.

Right - and then we wouldn't have had that beautiful goal, one of the goals you always cite when you talk about the artistry of football. You see why I might think it's bad for the sport, right?

Thing is, people complain about diving or players exaggerating their injuries or trying to get another player sent off, but law or no law, cheating or no cheating, it's all the same thing - winning, above all. And it's hard to see how you can celebrate Suarez "taking one for the team" like he's some sort of hero, then complain when players do all the other stuff to help their team and club/country win. There is so much more to football than winning for me, to the point where it wouldn't matter much to me if a team I supported played positive, attacking football well, but regularly lost. I would be proud of the team, and be happy to support them, to watch their endeavour, to see them try. That's what football is for me, more than a matter of who wins. And I don't think I'm alone in that.
posted by catchingsignals at 5:12 AM on July 3, 2010


Up front they have two excellent (at international level) strikers in Lahm and Podolski.

Uh... Philipp Lahm is a fullback (albeit a very attack-minded one) not a striker. Did you mebbe mean to say Miroslav Klose..?
posted by kxr at 5:12 AM on July 3, 2010


To my mind, deliberately tripping an opponent is just as much "cheating" as is deliberate hand ball. (That is: neither is cheating, both are infringements that should be punished within the rules of the game).

Could anyone explain why they see a difference between the two situations? Not snarking, I'm genuinely curious as to where we draw the lines.


I think it's clear that we have different definitions of what "cheating" is, so it's not very useful to debate what is and what isn't cheating. I also don't think they are lines so much as a matter of degrees: those professional fouls did not prevent certain goals. What Errant mentioned Solskjaer did was pretty cynical in my book, but there was still a chance that Rob Lee would not have finished it off, that the keeper would have saved it. This one would have been a certain goal.
posted by catchingsignals at 5:30 AM on July 3, 2010


I have to point out here, that Ghana was only in that game because they beat the United States in a particularly ugly, cheap fashion. The Ghanans were fouling every US player they could get their elbows on, and the diving and acting performances they were putting on was something you would have expected if Cristiano Ronaldo was Italian.

The timewasting was especially disgraceful; did you see the guy who got hauled off the pitch on a stretcher, only to get up like he was spring loaded once play restarted? Or Bornstein getting dragged down by his shorts in the box in extra time, with no cards or penalties called?

Live by the foul, die by the foul, I say. The football deities do have a sense of humor: just ask any Irishman.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:27 AM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least, to be fair, Suarez has been pretty self-effacing about it.

"The Hand of God now belongs to me. Mine is the real Hand Of God. I made the best save of the tournament."
posted by reynir at 8:34 AM on July 3, 2010


That must be why Maradona looked so sad just now: Suarez stole his Hand of God mojo. That or all those goals the Germans keep scoring.
posted by homunculus at 8:38 AM on July 3, 2010


germany seems to be winning, judging from the noise outside... oh well...
posted by ts;dr at 8:38 AM on July 3, 2010


Facepalm of God
posted by Anything at 8:47 AM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now, I enjoyed that.

Capello should sit his new England squad down and make them watch most of the German matches at this World Cup over and over, and say now that's how you play football.

Also interesting to see, one by one, most of the Nike-ad, media-crowned, Sky-fellated superstars wandering forlornly away from the World Cup before the semis.
posted by reynir at 8:51 AM on July 3, 2010


:) <>And that's not my computer so no Umlauts.
posted by ersatz at 9:08 AM on July 3, 2010


That was an interesting game, and the Argentinians were so dominant right after the break without being able to fashion a proper, clear-cut chance that it speaks volumes about Germany's resolute defending. Once the third goal went in Argentina just stopped trying. Can you blame them?

Germany has made a good case for being the team to beat in this tournament. As for Argentina - well, this was the first serious test their defence had to face, and they failed miserably. The German defence, on the other hand, conducted a masterclass in stifling a world-class attack. Hey, at least the English managed to nick a consolation goal.

If you look at a map of the shots on goal, you'll see that the Germans managed four in or very close to the six-yard box, and every one went in. The Argentinians had none so close. Despite Argentina having more shots on target, none were clear-cut chances, and the Germans did well in restricting the shots to easy saves for Neuer.

And the Germans are so young. Chances are we'll still see most of them in the next World Cup, assuming they qualify.

Looks like Messi will have to wait a while before ascending into the pantheon.
posted by WalterMitty at 9:14 AM on July 3, 2010


DAMN! bloody bloody damn. Argentina were way too slow out of the blocks, schwinny ran the bloody show, not enough pressure early on and the speed and width used by the germans overran the argentinians.

i did wonder if they would go for a different formation to counter the germans style, but no, stuck with the 4-3-3/ 4-4-2 diamond idea. overran and outplayed. Germany always had men free and were prepared to switch play to the free man whenever they felt like it. After the goal, the germans just soaked up the pressure, loads of men behind the ball, were prepared to let argentina knock it about but ther ewas nevre enough penetration and their running off the ball was nowhere near as good as the germans. Organisation triumphs Flair.

also, everything waltermitty said above...
posted by marienbad at 10:26 AM on July 3, 2010


Poor Diego.
posted by peacay at 10:30 AM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Germany wins the whole thing.
posted by bardic at 10:46 AM on July 3, 2010


This might be the football gods' response to Maradona promising to run naked through the streets of Buenos Aires if Argentina wins the World Cup.
posted by needled at 10:58 AM on July 3, 2010


Here we go, the last Quarter final is about to kick off...
posted by marienbad at 11:29 AM on July 3, 2010


Two penalties in a row?!
posted by joedan at 12:46 PM on July 3, 2010


Ok, that was ridiculous.
posted by joedan at 12:48 PM on July 3, 2010


amazing stuff. shurely Fabregas was encroaching on the second penalty though? cant tell from camera angle.
posted by marienbad at 12:52 PM on July 3, 2010


Good grief! Thankfully I just stopped my gf from missing that bizarre passage of play as she was about to nip to the shop just as the Paraguay corner was being taken which led to the first penalty.

Spain should've had a second penalty...Fabregas got clattered by the 'keeper.
posted by i_cola at 12:52 PM on July 3, 2010


Wow - what had been a dour, dull game got weird FAST. That really should have been a third penalty to Spain - Villar took Fabregas' legs right out from under him.
posted by deadmessenger at 12:54 PM on July 3, 2010


SEND MOAR PENALTIES.
posted by reynir at 12:54 PM on July 3, 2010


SEND MOAR PENALTIES.

You're going to get them, the way this game's going.
posted by deadmessenger at 1:04 PM on July 3, 2010


finally!!
posted by marienbad at 1:09 PM on July 3, 2010


That's a goal to match the rest of this half.
posted by reynir at 1:10 PM on July 3, 2010


Villa! My friends will end up owing me several cases of beer!
posted by Dumsnill at 1:11 PM on July 3, 2010


Indeed. I've seen those hit both posts & still not go in before.
posted by i_cola at 1:12 PM on July 3, 2010


So, Germany Holland final anyone?
posted by marienbad at 1:19 PM on July 3, 2010


I'm rooting for Holland, but damn has Germany been impressive.
posted by Dumsnill at 1:21 PM on July 3, 2010


Woohoo!
posted by arachnid at 1:21 PM on July 3, 2010


Yeah, I think Germany is going to take it. They've been playing amazingly well.
posted by joedan at 1:22 PM on July 3, 2010


My gf jumped at the idea of using some lurking Airmiles to fly us to Amsterdam next Sunday if the Dutch get through. It could be like Queens Day & NYE rolled into one. Then again, we could have just jinxed it for them against Uruguay...
posted by i_cola at 1:35 PM on July 3, 2010




So, Germany Holland final anyone?
Yes, please. I will sport the shirt I bought in Amsterdam in '06: orange, with the KNVB crest, and in big blue letters: WO IST MEIN FAHRRAD?
posted by bink at 1:44 PM on July 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dates for your Diaries (or Filofaxs !!)

Tuesday 6th July - Netherlands vs Uruguay, 19:30 GMT
Wednesday 7th July Germany vs Spain 19:30 GMT

*Burns England shirt, Argentina shirt, Ghana shirt*

Also, Capello Stays as England Manager for anyone who is interested. What's happening with the USA and Bradley? Are you keeping him on?
posted by marienbad at 1:58 PM on July 3, 2010


> DAMN! bloody bloody damn.

What he and waltermitty said.

*sadly puts Argentina cap away till '14, forlornly hopes Uruguay can beat the Netherlands*
posted by languagehat at 2:54 PM on July 3, 2010


*forlornly hopes Uruguay can beat Netherlands*

Barring any unforeseen injury to Suarez' arms, there's every reason to be hopeful, pet.

What's happening with the USA and Bradley? Are you keeping him on?

The last I read, marienbad, a decision will be made in the next month or so regarding Bob Bradley's fate. Meanwhile: here are Bradley and Landon Donovan on the Daily Show (preceded by Jon Oliver's return to his roots as a football hooligan :).
posted by arachnid at 3:05 PM on July 3, 2010


I would like to think that, if you were playing a game with your friends, and a friend did what Suarez or Solsjkaer did - that afterwards, when you go for a meal or a beer together, you would not quite be able to look at him or her the same way. At least for a while.

Maybe. If my friend, or indeed if Suarez, had done that in the 5th minute, he would have been an absolute idiot and would deserve all the condemnation he gets. In the 120th minute of a World Cup quarterfinal, it's maybe a different story. I'm not saying it's always the right thing to do and I'm not saying it's necessarily noble -- I find Suarez's comments after the fact about as unpalatable as you do, I'm sure.

But there is a difference between professional sport and amateur sport. Maybe there shouldn't be and maybe professionals should always play with the joy of the sport in mind, but I accept that winning is far more important on the world stage than at my local park, and I accept that the philosophies have to be different, because the aims of those two teams are different.

Right - and then we wouldn't have had that beautiful goal, one of the goals you always cite when you talk about the artistry of football. You see why I might think it's bad for the sport, right?

Not one I always cite -- give me Zidane's volley in the 2001 Champions League final any day -- but I do take your point. Fouls are "bad" for the sport, that's why they're fouls, and that's why teams that set about to foul and destroy play are usually looked on as dour and ugly. But the defender's job isn't to admire the quality of an opposition goal, and if that's all there was to the sport, we wouldn't have defenders at all.

There is so much more to football than winning for me, to the point where it wouldn't matter much to me if a team I supported played positive, attacking football well, but regularly lost. I would be proud of the team, and be happy to support them, to watch their endeavour, to see them try. That's what football is for me, more than a matter of who wins. And I don't think I'm alone in that.

You've basically summed up the ethos of my favorite club: play great football, try hard, lose. You're certainly not alone in that view, but would I prefer to see great football that wins? Yeah, I would. I don't really value wins that are gained through terrible football, I'm no great fan of Mourinho or Greece 2004, but winning is important at this level. How important it is, or should be, seems to be what we're debating, and maybe I think it's more important than you do, although I don't think it's the only important thing. With any luck, Germany will keep playing like this, win the World Cup, and then we can both get what we want.
posted by Errant at 4:39 PM on July 3, 2010


What's happening with the USA and Bradley? Are you keeping him on?

No one's really sure. I think part of the problem is that an American team has never actually met expectations -- they either fall way short or do way better than expected -- so no one is sure what to do when they do what they were supposed to do. They made the knockout stage, which was expected. They went out in the knockout stage, which was expected. But they went out to Ghana, which is underachieving. But they drew with England, which wasn't, but they beat Algeria dramatically, which was good, except it was Algeria, which was bad, and they almost beat Slovenia in a furious comeback, which is good, but they never should have had to come back, which was bad.

So, what do you do with all that? The big question is whether there's anyone better than Bradley available, and that list is pretty thin.

I'm happy England kept Capello -- he got a raw deal from the press, and most of England's problems were about dumb luck, injuries, and an overvaluing of the talent England actually had going in. When Rooney started really dropping back against the US, you knew that England was in for real trouble this tournament; there just wasn't anyone who could give him service, and there was no one available to step up and be a scoring threat and break up the Rooney double-team.

As for the rest of the tournament... I'm willing to bet that Germany won't win. Serbia provided a template for beating them, and I can see Holland or Uruguay playing that style. And, well, Spain doesn't completely suck.
posted by dw at 4:49 PM on July 3, 2010


As for the rest of the tournament... I'm willing to bet that Germany won't win. Serbia provided a template for beating them, and I can see Holland or Uruguay playing that style. And, well, Spain doesn't completely suck.

Arguably, Serbia's template for beating them included "have a ridiculous referee who books every foul and sends off their main striker within half an hour". I'm not sure that's a replicable strategy. It's more likely that Switzerland provided a template for beating Spain, but it's also quite likely that Germany won't play that way. Between a team that hasn't been playing great and is finding wins from nothing, and a team that's been playing phenomenally well but also in an open style that suits their opponents, I'm hard pressed to say one of them should definitively win.
posted by Errant at 4:57 PM on July 3, 2010


I want to first note that the discussion in this thread has been pretty damn insightful and articulate at times, my own comments notwithstanding.

But there is a difference between professional sport and amateur sport.

Second, I want to derail slightly (though I can't actually remember what the original post was about any more so it might actually be on topic?) and say that one of my favourite things about football is that the difference between the game at professional and amateur level is small, if it exists at all.

What it means for a fan and a player is that it's possible, albeit unlikely, for an amateur player to play against the world's best player (and the sheer volume of games means this happens rarely enough to be interesting and memorable but also often enough to make you feel good about the sport). And when those players face off, they're playing the exact same game. Compare any sport with television referees or hawk-eye technology, any sport with ridiculous equipment, for example.

When I kick a ball around at the park, I'm playing the same game that Lionel Messi plays. The stories at amateur level (and at kickaround at the park level) are just as good as at international level. I haven't played this year through injury but I've played a bit of indoor in the most social of social teams and we've still got great stories and great goals and ridiculous comebacks and we're still living the dream.

Some of these aspects apply to other sports, and I'm not suggesting those sports are worse for lacking all or some of these aspects (though of course, they are), but it's hard to emulate NFL tactics at the park, it's expensive even to play amateur cricket (the balls themselves, minimum 2 a match, cost anywhere between $15 and $300 each), it's strange to see people playing basketball without a hoop, and don't even get me started on waterpolo or lacrosse. I have friends playing club football at a pretty low standard, but it wouldn't be a completely outlandish scenario if one of those teams won the league and scratched out an ugly 1-0 win in the qualifers for the World Club Championship, and the game they play will be exactly the same.

I like that.

(Turns out this was an argument against video technology and I didn't really notice.)
posted by doublehappy at 7:41 PM on July 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


for an amateur player to play against the world's best player (and the sheer volume of games means this happens rarely enough to be interesting and memorable but also often enough to make you feel good about the sport)

For example, the All Whites bringing on a banker who'd used his annual holidays to go to the World Cup, and play against Italy. Who may not have been at their best this year, but are certainly one of the powerhouses.

Anyway, I feel compelled to back Germany having learned that if they win, New Zealand will be the only unbeaten team at this year's WC.
posted by rodgerd at 9:19 PM on July 3, 2010


Also, for example, the Club World Cup, where Waitakere City and Auckland City have both been one game away from playing teams like Barcelona.
posted by doublehappy at 10:07 PM on July 3, 2010


"When I kick a ball around at the park, I'm playing the same game that Lionel Messi plays" - absolutely.

Also, football can be played in a variety of ways which don't require most of the rules (pitch size, box size, centre circle, kits, refs, linos) but which is still pretty much the same game Leo Messi plays.

I remember as a kid playing world cup pairs, 2 to a team, several teams, one in goal. First round 1 goal and your through, with increasing numbers of goals per round (somewhat dependent on the amount of teams or you could have a ten-goals-to-win-final) No offside, (not even the newer versions!) no corners, no throw ins. Winning team choses next goalie and away we went again. simple, fun, and still football.
posted by marienbad at 3:28 AM on July 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I feel compelled to back Germany having learned that if they win, New Zealand will be the only unbeaten team at this year's WC.

I think this also holds if Spain wins. I'd root for Spain.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:02 AM on July 4, 2010


> the discussion in this thread has been pretty damn insightful and articulate

I want to second this. Great thread. (N.b.: I've discovered that I'm scheduled to be at Fenway Park with my six-year-old grandson the day of the WC final. If Argentina were going to be in the final, this would have presented a serious dilemma; as it is, I'll be content to find out about Germany's victory in the next day's papers.)
posted by languagehat at 7:53 AM on July 4, 2010


(Ha, it turns out I mixed up the scheduling and I'll actually miss the consolation game, not the final. So I'll get to see Germany's victory for myself.)
posted by languagehat at 8:12 AM on July 4, 2010


May I third? Fantastic thread, marienbad - thanks for the post that started it all, and cheers to the various participants for your thoughts.

(doublehappy, if I could have favourited this remark any harder, I'd have punched a hole through my mouse. Wish I had the power to sidebar it, like Meatbomb, you know? ;)
posted by arachnid at 9:01 AM on July 4, 2010


Thanks for the compliments guys/girls. I have enjoyed reading the comments on here so much, nthing the insightful and articulate comments.

I was a bit concerned after This Comment as to which way this thread would go, and for a while i feared flaming and/or deletion. Fortunately neither happened and a lot of fun was had by all!

Also, big hello to WalterMitty for his comment, particularly his hilarious reply to my "Bielsa for England" idea:

"Bielsa for England

Oh god, no. Managing the English team has not been good for a manager's career for quite a while, and I'd love to see Bielsa lighting up football with his all-out-attack philosophies for quite a while more, please. Plus, the English seem to be addicted to 4-4-2 and would never countenance some nancy foreigner coming in with his 3-3-1-3 heresies."

hahaha brilliant, and unfortunately so true. The day England can play a workable 3-3-1-3 formation and win against, say France, Germany, Spain or Italy is a long way off.
posted by marienbad at 11:33 AM on July 4, 2010




Those Brazilians got pretty rough against the Nederlanders...
posted by superiorchicken at 12:31 PM on July 4, 2010


:) <>And that's not my computer so no Umlauts.

This was meant to be "Das ist mein glaenzendes Gesicht" followed by an arrow pointing to the smiley but I forgot it would be treated as an open (and weird) tag.
posted by ersatz at 2:03 PM on July 4, 2010


superiorchicken: Those Brazilians got pretty rough against the Nederlanders...

Compared to Brazil vs. Holland in 1974 the Brazilians were treating the Dutch with kid gloves.
posted by Kattullus at 4:06 PM on July 4, 2010


but it's hard to emulate NFL tactics at the park

Yeah, but it's also hard to emulate world class soccer tactics, too. But if you've ever seen a bunch of people playing American football in the park, it's not that far off from the NFL. Blitz on 3-Mississippi, two hands below the waist, yes, but post routes and TE flares and buttonhooks and counter sweeps still get run (though the post is probably going to be that maple up there and make sure not to hit the maple).

And on its most fundamental level, it's a bunch of people throwing a football back and forth to each other, like how soccer without any goals is a kickaround.

I was thinking that you can play the entire football code with only a football -- soccer, American football, rugby, and even Aussie rules (if you just figured out how to deal with not having goalposts).

it's expensive even to play amateur cricket (the balls themselves, minimum 2 a match, cost anywhere between $15 and $300 each)

The one and only time I played cricket it was with a tennis ball, so I'm not sure you need to have a cricket ball. The bat you'd need more, I'd think.
posted by dw at 10:30 AM on July 5, 2010


Yeah, but it's also hard to emulate world class soccer tactics, too.

With a bunch of kids or yahoos in a pickup game, I guess so, but not at all with a mildly cohesive team. In fact, that's mostly all people do.
posted by cmoj at 8:43 PM on July 5, 2010


dw: The one and only time I played cricket it was with a tennis ball, so I'm not sure you need to have a cricket ball. The bat you'd need more, I'd think.

It would be quite a different game without a cricket ball. You could possibly get away with using a softball (that's what we used as small children), but a tennis ball? No swing or seam and the bounce would be all wrong...and if Netherland is to be believed, even the pitches in the US aren't the same as in countries where cricket is more popular [I'm making the assumption here, of course, that you played in the US....]
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:37 AM on July 6, 2010


Ow man, half final coming up. Uruguay is population wise even smaller than the Netherlands. Would be nice if the Dutch would end up facing Germany. Our nemesis.
posted by joost de vries at 8:37 AM on July 6, 2010




Good god; that headshot was insanely precise.
posted by joost de vries at 1:04 PM on July 6, 2010


Wow. Uruguay is in a world of hurt without the Hand of Suarez.
posted by Dr. Zira at 1:18 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the last 3 minutes!
posted by joost de vries at 1:20 PM on July 6, 2010


Phew.
posted by joost de vries at 1:23 PM on July 6, 2010


[I'm making the assumption here, of course, that you played in the US....]

No, Mozambique, with a bunch of South Africans and Brits and Aussies. One bat, stumps were metal poles welded to a steel plate (with a wood block across the top), and played on the hard tarmac of the Maputo docks.

I got a duck. Slapped the ball once, couldn't run on it. Next time I swung and missed and the ball sailed into the wicket.

Later played them in American football. They were more confused than we Americans were at cricket.
posted by dw at 3:26 PM on July 6, 2010


What kind of world contains the prospect of a Netherlands - Germany final where fucking Germany play the prettier football, and the Dutch side is full of legbreakers like Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong? Europeans finding success outside of Europe? Miroslav Klose has scored more goals than Pele? What the hell is happening?
posted by Errant at 3:29 PM on July 6, 2010


I really hope that van Bommel's crotch meets a German cleat in the final. And the ref tells van Bommel to get up as he's rolling in agony on the ground.

That's mean, that's not sporting, that's not cricket, yeah, but he is one dirty player.
posted by dw at 3:38 PM on July 6, 2010


When I kick a ball around at the park, I'm playing the same game that Lionel Messi plays.

I... I think I've got something in my eyes. doublehappy, you managed to sum up why I like soccer so much in this sentence, and I didn't even realize this was why. But it's so true! I love watching the soccer that Messi plays, but I love watching the soccer that my son's team plays with the same level of enthusiasm, because it's the same game.

This thread has been amazing. Thanks to everybody who participated, it's been so fun! I'm so sad the World Cup is almost over. But pretty happy that the Netherlands has made it to the Finals!
posted by misozaki at 4:27 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


And the Grauniad gets its Kattullus moment again:
"I know that the Uruguayans are the designated villains, but don't the names of the entire Dutch team sound like those of villains from gothic novels?" [...] "Vampires: Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Robin van Persie, Demy de Zeeuw. Werewolves: Dirk Kuyt, Wesley Sneijder, Mark van Bommel, Arjen Robben. Mad scientists: Maarten Stekelenburg, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen. And to top it all, Khalid Boulahrouz is already called The Cannibal."
Thanks, "Karl".
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:50 PM on July 6, 2010


I got a duck. Slapped the ball once, couldn't run on it.

I was about to commend you for another clever reference to Maradona's noodly appendage. Then I realized that was a completely different thread.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:42 PM on July 6, 2010


Since Brazil defended its title in 1962 the World Cup has alternated between Europe and South America, but this time it will pass from one European team to another. This will also be the first time since West Germany won in 1954 that Europe will have more World Cup titles than South America.
posted by Kattullus at 7:38 PM on July 6, 2010


Oh noes! Paul the Octopus picked Spain!
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:07 PM on July 6, 2010


And Europe will win the Cup for the first time outside of Europe.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:02 AM on July 7, 2010


And it's a hat trick for Katullus.
STAT SPECIAL with Kári Tulinius, doing my job so I don't have to:
"Since Brazil defended its title in 1962," he writes, "the World Cup has alternated between Europe and South America, but this time it will pass from one European team to another. This will also be the first time since West Germany won in 1954 that Europe will have more World Cup titles than South America. If Spain wins tonight, this final will be the first time two teams that have never won the World Cup play each other since 1978. Also, of course, the first time a European team wins the title outside of Europe." You get the feeling he should be doing this?
Yes, yes we do.
posted by dw at 11:32 AM on July 7, 2010


Looks like Paul was right again :(
posted by ZeroAmbition at 1:01 PM on July 7, 2010


Spain deserved it, I suppose, but man was that a boring game to watch.
posted by vacapinta at 1:39 PM on July 7, 2010


Oh, damn it. Germany won two hard games and is going home. NL/ES will have won two hard games and the cup.

Anyway, if one compares this German side against that of 2002, the progress is evident.
posted by ersatz at 1:41 PM on July 7, 2010


Marcelo Bielsa rumored to be a candidate to replace Bob Bradley

I don't put much faith in it, and I doubt Bielsa would make the move to US Soccer, but it is... interesting. The US has a solid crop of midfielders; could Bielsa run the 3-3-1-3 with only two strikers?
posted by dw at 1:43 PM on July 7, 2010


hurrah, Germany are out. Well done Spain. And I agree with the van Bommel Comments. How he didn't get a card...
posted by marienbad at 2:01 PM on July 7, 2010


Marcelo Bielsa rumored to be a candidate to replace Bob Bradley

Oh please please please please please please please please let this be true, please please please please.
posted by Errant at 2:27 PM on July 7, 2010


Oh please please please please please please please please DON'T let this be true, please please please please.

Holy God that is unbelievable news.
posted by marienbad at 2:35 PM on July 7, 2010


Fucking octopus. Fucking creepy octopus.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:55 PM on July 7, 2010


I would've loved to see continents other than Europe and South America reach the finals this year. That said, it's awesome that two great teams that have never won the World Cup before meet in the final. I'm not sure which team to root for.
posted by Dumsnill at 3:02 PM on July 7, 2010


I have written elsewhere about my love for this Chilean team and that genius Bielsa. He transformed that side into a real power. Second in CONMEBOL qualifying, behind only Brazil by 1 point, scoring just 1 fewer goal, beating both Paraguay and Argentina for the first times? That is utterly fantastic, especially for a team with relatively little recent history. They came up against both Spain and Brazil in the same tournament, which is bad luck and only the Netherlands will be able to say they survived both if they win on Sunday. But more than providing a real threat for established nations, they were an absolute joy to watch. What Bielsa has done in Chile is provide the blueprint for a real national football identity, like Argentina and Brazil already have, and it's something that the USA is lacking. I would welcome him with open arms, and I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't, especially after the conservative Bradley.
posted by Errant at 6:19 PM on July 7, 2010


dw: And it's a hat trick for Katullus.

I have to say I do love The Guardian's minute by minute reports. It's been a thrill to get into a few of them.

On the subject of the final... I think the question will be whether van Bommel and de Jong can disrupt the passing rhythm of the Spanish enough to let Kuyt, Sneijder, Robben and van Persie have proper chances. If Spain can control the midfield like they've done, then it's gonna be game, set and match.

On second thought, considering the goals Sneijder has been scoring, all it would need was for him to get a touch of it, and then it would ricochet off Pique into the crossbar and go in off the back of Casillas. I can't believe Sneijder is tied with Villa for top-scorer. He's scored one more goal at this World Cup than he did all last season with Inter.
posted by Kattullus at 9:50 PM on July 7, 2010




And in other octopus news: Rugby’s octopus oracle picks Boks
posted by homunculus at 8:38 AM on July 8, 2010


Paul's recent activity has only heightened my paranoia of cephalopods. Cephalopods are extremely smart, active predators who evolve and learn relatively quickly. Cephalopods can communicate with one another and organize themselves. Further, they have outstanding dexterity; an octopus can even use tools. More alarmingly, cephalopods remember things.
Things like being threatened with grilling.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:37 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]




Sydney, July 10: Harry, a 700-kg crocodile living in a Darwin crocodile park Saturday backed Paul the octopus in picking Spain to win the World Cup.
The crocodile took less than a minute to decide and launch itself out of the water to eat a chicken dangling under a Spanish flag rather than one hanging from a Dutch flag.
Mick Burns, owner of Crocosaurus Cove, told the Northern Territory News he got the idea from watching Paul, an octopus in Germany that has successfully picked the result of every German game in the World Cup.
Paul also predicted Spain to beat the Netherlands in Sunday's final.
But Harry's betting style is different. The crocodile thrashed around for some time to wrest the chicken from the line bearing the Spanish flag.
"That means it's going to be a close and aggressive game with a 1-0 result for Spain," Burns said.
[source] Apparently this is real, and not a spoof. Also, Chinese time-traveler predicted the Holland-Spain final, saying Sneijder will score in a 2-1 Dutch win.
posted by Kattullus at 10:42 AM on July 10, 2010


I'm rooting for Uruguay in the 3rd place game. Diego Forlan is dreamy.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:53 AM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


My ginormous mutant zucchini plants sprouted an eerie number of large orange blossoms overnight.

Not that I put much stock in such things.
posted by arachnid at 11:21 AM on July 10, 2010


My ginormous mutant zucchini plants sprouted an eerie number of large orange blossoms overnight.

Mine too! Though I think it had more to do with the gobs of rain we finally got and not, sadly, any sort of premonition.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:23 AM on July 10, 2010


I must say, I'm not a Uruguay supporter, but in addition to Diego Forlan being dreamy, I really dig their national anthem.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:26 AM on July 10, 2010


Yet we had no rain, pet.

Hmm.
posted by arachnid at 11:27 AM on July 10, 2010


Here is another non-spoof:

Singapore Pyschic Bird Predicts Netherlands to win World Cup 2010

I for one would like to take a large cleaver to the pun-obsessed writer of that particular "news" article. And then I'll go have some parakeet for lunch. Paul was amusing, the legions of copycat "psychic animals" is tiresome.
posted by WalterMitty at 11:32 AM on July 10, 2010


Paul was right again.
posted by homunculus at 2:15 PM on July 10, 2010


Harry was even righter.

"That means it's going to be a close and aggressive game with a 1-0 result for Spain," Burns said.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:53 PM on July 11, 2010


Also

ROBBEN!! STFU and score one, for Jove's sake.

today i wear a dark, bloody (cleat-marked) oranje.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:07 PM on July 12, 2010


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