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What a(n ugly) match! It was exciting, but mostly for the wrong reasons.

The first half was quality: two of the best teams battling it out for the chance to play England. The second half resembled more what you'd expect to see from soccer fans than soccer players: head butts, forearms to the face, kicks to the chest, tackles from behind in retribution for poor sportsmanship, two-handed shoves, and a body slam. Tied the record for yellow cards (16) and set a new record for red cards (4). The players on (and off) the pitch lost their tempers, but the referee lost control of the game early on.

The quality of play at this World Cup has been high, but the officiating has been the worst I have ever seen. I've complained about the officiating in USA-Italy and USA-Ghana, but it was even worse tonight and in Australia-Croatia (where one player actually received a third yellow card before he was sent off). FIFA really needs to make some changes to improve its refereeing.

One of the memorable images from this match was two red-carded players, one Dutch and the other Portuguese, sitting together on the sidelines commiserating about the poor officiating.

Now Portugal advance to play England. Normally, I would pick Portugal—I think they are a better team than England, who additionally are not playing up to their potential and are without a couple of key players. However, Portugal will be without two of their top players, disqualified because of red cards. And England will be keyed up to beat Scolari's team, as Scolari knocked them out of the last World Cup and, a few weeks ago, turned down the opportunity to coach them. It should be an interesting game.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 26th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
To make things worse, I was hoping for an Austrailian upset over Italy. Worst time for a foul EVER!!
Jun. 26th, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC)
That foul was bogus, too. Australia got robbed.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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