Dulled by heat; a new meaning for Figo

The England – Ecuador game was strangely compelling despite nothing really happening. England can thank Ashley Cole for keeping them in it; that was a nice bit of back-tracking under any circumstances. And if Beckham was only going to do two things on the pitch today, then just as well a lightning free kick was one of them (I could have lived without the replay from the vom-tronic camera). What’s disturbing about watching England play is how tactically clueless they seem. Ecuador plainly wasn’t fielding players of great talent, but with tidy passing, close marking, and well-timed runs, they gave England a great deal to think about.

I’ve relaxed my anti-Gerrard stance of late but even at 75% Rooney shows what a truly inspired player looks like, in terms of speed, ball-handling, tactical and space awareness, the whole package. I wonder what he’d look like with a second striker up front…

As for Holland – Portugal, well the less said the better I suppose. I recognize that the Dutch were not playing a clean game, especially with the clogging of Cristiano Ronaldo, but it will be a long time before I get over the behaviour of Figo, who richly deserves a retroactive red card as well as pride of place in a picture thesaurus:

0200629058100.jpg
Figo, noun, from Portuguese: cynical cheating f*ckwit

If only the Barcelona fans had been more accurate with the pig’s head.

Anyway, the ref had a shocker with four (4!) reds and sixteen (16!) bookings. Not only did he miss the clogging of Ronaldo, but he somehow missed Costadinha stamping on someone around the 36th minute for a second yellow; though spotting Costadinha’s attempt to spike the ball in the 45th did go some distance for that…

And for once Arjen Robben can feel hard done by for not getting a call when he got a chestful of studs from Nuno Valente in the box, I don’t care if the whistle had blown already. The one time you aren’t diving, eh Arjen?

And while I was not supporting Portugal, Deco was only enforcing football manners on his first yellow; if it hadn’t been such a nasty tackle from behind it could have been classed as “firm but fair…” because there’s no excuse for ignoring the convention over exchanges of ball during injury.

One thing I am puzzled by: as Marco Van Basten was watching Holland risk implosion for wont of a goal, despite maintaining possession and creating a host of chances, did he at no point think, oh hell I’ll risk it and put on van Nistelrooy? I mean I like Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, and not just for his fabulous name, but when he came on the end was near, and I don’t mean in a purely chronological sense.

So, this leads me into my usual dilemma for the quarter finals: whether to support England or whoever they are playing. I may be forced to cheer on England; I’ll let you know if I still feel that way after I calm down…

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One Response

  1. Was I watching a soccer match or a barroom brawl? I mean come on 16 cards, four Red. Thats not soccer thats rugby. At least no one took a swing but I’m sure that was next on the play list for this match. I hope the ports get smacked in the next round.

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