Sunday, June 11, 2006

Day 3 Random Thoughts / Open Thread

By request, my daily random thoughts will now also be an open thread for commenters, and I'll try to figure out a way to keep it at or near the top of the page during the matches, or I'll just save whatever else is in the hopper and post it in the evenings. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy.

The other night on Fox Sports World Report they said that 81% of teams that win their first match make it through to the knockout stage. I would love to know the percentage for teams that lose their first match. Might be a halftime wikipedia-and-calculator project...

S&M - Holland
Group C preview

Will S&M's locker room chemistry and team spirit be affected by M electing to secede from S and form it's own independent nation last week?

Jesus, it just dawned on me: Ivory Coast-Holland will be waaaay too much clashing orange, like attending a game at Neyland Stadium, or the Clemson-Tennessee Peach Bowl a few years back.

S&M 0-1 Holland
Remember that old Seinfeld episode where the Kenyan runner John Paul stays with Elaine during the NYC marathon, and she gets a new alarm clock but it still doesn't work? "Why radio knob? WHY RADIO KNOB!" Damn if that didn't happen to me today. Couldn't sleep last night, went to bed at 3 and somehow completely fucked up the simple task of alarm setting. Woke up at 9.30, in time to watch the 2nd half of Mexico-Iran. Awful.

Man Of The Match Patrick McEnroe.

Hoping to catch a replay tonight, but by the highlights it looks like Patrick McEnroe has a stormer and was MOTM for Holland. Glad Van Persie got some action, and that Horseface didn't score. I'm a little suprised at the result - my prediction that I failed to throw up was S&M 1-3 Holland.

Hup Holland, indeed.

Mexico - Iran
Group D preview

My tendency to pull for underdogs and propensity to be counterculture and zig when everyone else zags almost makes me want to pull for Iran to upset El Tricolor. I hope the NSA isn't reading this blog...

If the Mexican fans taunted the US in 2002-03 with chants of "Osama! Osama!", what will they taunt Iran with? George Bush? Pork? Bare midriffs and booty shorts? Hmm...

Mexico 3-1 Iran.
I was thinking 2-1 Mexico before the match. That 2nd goal was the result of not 1 but 2 bad back-to-back defensive screwups by Iran (GK then defender) but was still well-taken, and the 3rd was beautiful. From the half that I saw (2nd), Mexico had the better of it and looked like deserved winners.

Persian superhottie? No.
Courageous badass deserving of your respect? Yes.

Angola - Portugal
Former Portugese colony Angola can't possibly repeat Senegal's shocking upset of former colonizers (and defending champs) France in the opening match of World Cup 2002, right? Also interesting is that apparently most of Angola's players play professionally in Portugal...

For me Portugal have the coolest unis in the world when they wear their maroon kit. I wonder what T. Kyle King thinks of that.

I like Portugal to win 3-1. Watch for Deco to be the straw that stirs the drink, and it's about time for another ridiculous long range bender that will dazzle the eye and spark GK nightmares about this new Adidas ball. As someone who always pulls for the African teams, I hope they do well and maybe even pull off some T&T shit.

11.56 a.m. PST - I can't ever remember seeing Portugal wearing all maroon - doesn't look a cool as the maroon jersey/green shorts... Uggh, Oh - #20 for Angola is rocking the Ronaldo 2002 haircut only with mini dreads in the front. Wow that's awful, but dude's name is Loco, which is sweet... I think Scolari is the best manager in the competition, which will only benefit Portugal... The playing of the national anthems is awesome, with the fans singing at the top of their lungs like their lives depended on it, rather than the halfhearted, going through the motions versions that we are used to here in the US. Great spectacle...

Better than the best Star Spangled Banner rendition.

Awesome. Just awesome.

12.04 - So Figo is up for it. 1-0 Portugal. Remember Germany-Saudi Arabia in 2002? This could be ugly, like 5-0 ugly.

12.15 - Why is Deco not playing? Is he injured (hadn't read that anywhere)? Perhaps they have addressed this on Univision, but my stupid ass picked French, not Spanish in 7th grade...

12.25 - That's 2 bicycle attempts in 24 minutes for Akwa (and that last one was fairly close as bicycle attempts go). Dude has obviously seen Victory! like 100 times.

12.46 - HT. Angola have settled down, but Portugal still look much more likely to score next. This could be one of those matches where if Portugal can get a 2nd and Angola's hopes for getting a result fade, the floodgates might open. Whatever happens, this match is great to watch - Joga Bonito on full display. Oh, and #8 for Angola: cut on his face, or huge Nelly fan?

1.20 - Wow. C Ronaldo subbed in the 59th minute, and he's not pleased about it. Shades of Figo against Engerland at Euro2004, which worked out when the sub scored the winner. Scolari: mad genius, or just mad? He is one of the only coaches in the world with the balls to take off players that are "untouchable" as far as substitutions are concerned. Shawn Wright-Phillips wishes he coached England in 2004, and Aaron Lennon wishes he coached them now...

Angola 0-1 Portugal.
Angola showed alot of character and heart, settling down after Portugal came out swinging and swinging hard, just missing only 20 seconds in and then scoring in the 4th minute. They did what most African teams seem to do: impress the world with their positive style and never say die attitude. They certainly earned my respect with their performance today. That being said, Portugal created more chances but couldn't convert, including a header off the woodwork. They were missing their "quarterback", Dean Cain Deco, due to injury and should only look better in their next two matches if and when he returns. This team can go very, very far.

Portugese A&M grads celebrate Pauleta's goal

"Big Phil" Scolari went George Bush, controversially going with his gut instinct, by subbing Christiano Ronaldo in the 59th minute. Ronaldo was pissed, but Scolari's track record is better than Dubya's: the last time he did this, Euro2004 quarterfinal against England, taking off the legend Figo who was mucho pissed, everything worked out for them in what turned out to be the match of the tournament (that match had it all: 4 great goals, 2 in extra time, a controversially disallowed winner by England at the end of regular time, then an awesome penalty shootout where in the 5th round Portugal keeper Ricardo saved Vassell's shot and then scored the match winning penalty himself).

Speaking of that match, you know that legendary Paraguyan keeper Chilavert, doing color commentary on Univision, is pulling hard for Portugal because their keeper, Ricardo, takes penalties for them.

Anyways, I really like Scolari and think that he is the best manager in the tournament. If I were starting a team he would be my 2nd choice of anyone in the world, after Arsene Wenger.

So there it is. Another fine day. I'm off to either go check out the Haight Street festival or cruise over to Niketown and buy that Portugal jersey, which is just sweet.

For once I am glad that I am not in Athens, GA right now, where it is NINETY SEVEN degrees outside as UGA tries to even up their NCAA Super Regional with South Carolina (where they lead 6-4 in the 5th).

***Update, 4.07 p.m. PST***
Headline: Dawgs Pound Cocks, Force Rubber Game


Lux Intellectus said...

Will S & M be wearing leather uniforms? What do their fans cheer, "Bring out the gimp!"?

Anonymous said...

It seems that the at the half the gimp is sleeping for S&M which is now just sadistic since there no longer is an M. That is just how Milosevic liked it when it came to dealing with those that are not Serbs. The Ivory Coast and Holland match is going to make both UTs and Clemson proud, and be an eyesore for the television audience, with the amount of orange in the stands. At least we will not be subjected to Rocky Top played over and over until you want to puke your own spleen and liver out of your system. And yes Portugal has some nice uniforms, but so does Spain. Personaly I am not a big fan of uniforms that are mainly white.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm a fan of the Spain unis myself. I think it's the black shorts that offset it very well.

One of these days, one nation is going to decide to go all black (with white and dark red trims), and those unis will instantly become my favorite.

Lux Intellectus said...

I think we have another strong contestant in the golden mullet competition, #6 from S&M. His even has highlights at the tips.

Good win for Holland. Robben was man of the match.

Anonymous said...

Moin -

Your previous post on the bias that is shown to certain teams is correct. I had a longer post but it was mainly a rant against the beneifit of the doubt given to Brazil and the officiating of previous World Cups (especially 2002 where Korea and Brazil had calls in their favor that were just bad calls). Good points were brought up by you and the lack of testicular fortitude by opposing players and coaches at contesting a wrong call that is made in their favor (Fair play?)

About a team going all black with white and dark red trims the only team that could sport that would Trinidad and Tobago since those are the colors of their flag. Other teams that could do it would be some of the African national teams. Germany would look good in all black with red and yellow trim though.

Anonymous said...

Love the bit about taunts for Iran. Hilarious imagining all the things you could try taunting them with, though admittedly, only us sorta wonky types would be amused.

"UN Sanctions!" clap-clap clap-clap-clap

Anonymous said...

This year's World Cup is a triumph for High Definition TV, as the garish colors are truly blinding on the color-corrupting standard def.

I'm surprised by Holland's inability to put S&M away today. They're my #2 this tournament (if only because I live with Brits and enjoy getting their goat) and expect more.

Anonymous said...

Thank A4.

Fair Play is a great notion and all, but when it comes to something as big as the World Cup, very very few people has enough in them to say anything when it comes out to their favour (or, if they are cynical, they'll just think it'll even out later). One notable exception that I recall was the Danes against Iran in a cup competition in HK:

But, of course, that's NOT the World Cup.

As for the proposed kit, it could be used as a 2nd kit for some teams as those don't have to be of national flag colours. Part of me want to say that has Spain occasionally trots out an all black kit, but, I don't know where that notion came from. Germany would indeed look great in how you described it. As it is, their away kits are still pretty stylish. Red with black trims and white shorts. Portugal does indeed sport an all black away kit, but with only a yellow trim along the lines of that Nike bib thing, not very inspiring.

All in all, more reasons to pull for T&T.

Anonymous said...

My root for the underdog rule is being tested here. Do we really want more international hubris from Iran? They've been awfully bold lately as is; can you imagine if they win a match or two?

Anonymous said...

As for taunts against Iran, I vote for my personal favorite: the topless female/unabashed PDA taunt. More fun to watch than what takes place on the pitch, no doubt.

By the way, that's one tradition of Texas A&M that I fully endorse for every college to take up. Where any time the Aggies score, every fan kisses their dates.

Now take that a make a national thing. When one Brazilian score, EVERY Brazilian scores! W00t.

Anonymous said...

Best decision of the day: switching to Univision. Not going back, either.

Kanu said...

Moin- Ne Zealand. Their fajmous Rugby team are the "All Blacks". I know they have a soccer team, but also that they are horrible, and I have never seen them play. I would be suprised if they didn't rock the all black kits though.

David - I'll look for that dude on the replay tonight. COuldn't sleep last night untiol likt 3, set my alarm for 5.55 and somehow managed to fuck tha up, so I woke up at 9.40. Total crap, but some local station out here called TELEFUTURA is showing replays, so I'll catch it tonight. It looks from the highlights that Patrick McEnroe played a blinder...

Anon- re: Univision: hell yeah, keep sprading the gospel. Viva La Revolution!

Kanu said...

Pretty sweet the shortly after going 3-1 up the Mexican fans are rabidly chanting "Quatro! Quatro! Quatro!", as in "we want a fourth goal!". Never heard that before - pretty sweet.

Now all they need is some clever chant about crossing the US border...

Anonymous said...

Wonder if England is watching this match. Sitting on that 1-0 lead was miserable.

Kanu said...

I hope you're watching Univision right now, anon(Republica Deportivo wrapup show). Forget the all black kits, those chica rocking the all white with the knee high boots are where the party's at. Damn, makes me want to illegally cross the Border the other way, like an immigrant salmon.

Anonymous said...

Like how Mexico just spent that whole match looking to kick someone in the teeth? Hate it when they're diving, kicking knees, and head-butting against us, but watching them beat Iran in said fashion made the thuglover in us smile.

White socks look better in motion than any color besides yellow, and that's only because Brazil wears them, by the way. It's important in terms of flair points.

Angola really wins the "sludgy anthem no one seems to even recognize as the national anthem contest." They also have a machete on their national flag, deserving of some kind of ambiguous mention here.

Anonymous said...

Not just a machete...but a Commie machete. Double badass points.

I'm getting a kick out of the fact that Angola has a couple of whities on their team. I know they're probably just mercenary Portuguese or Brazilians, but it is amusing nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Pete, wait until you see the Japanese playmaker who goes by the name of Santos.

The 2nd half really went to shits on the Portugese side of things. Lucky they weren't playing a squad that was better technically else they'd have been punished for such things (or got hated on by Cantona, it really depends).

I've come to the conclusion that there is nobody in football that annoys me more than Cristiano Ronaldo. Soon after Pauletta scored, the guy tried that reverse cross (where you bring your leg behind your plant leg and kicks the ball) and a no-look chip (Ronaldinho style). Both of which was snuffed out. He then proceeded to flop egregiously 3 or 4 times, when the ref did not fall for any of it, he decided to make amends by getting a deserved yellow for a bad challenge. All the while throwing a hissy fit every time something he wanted to happen didn't. Including once at Simao for daring to take a shot when he was in better position, instead of passing it out wide for him to do a couple of step-overs before crossing into an Angolan player (his modus operandus in the 2nd half).

The thing is, the man is gifted, amazingly gifted, but it's not even like the Rooney type of fits. Rooney usually gets lost in his own competitiveness, Cristiano seems to get mad if he doesn't get enough camera time or something. (And he was named for Ronald Reagan, that doesn't help his case either.)

Deco wasn't starting b/c he hurt his left foot in training when he ran into Costinha. Seriously, in training, stay off of the play-maker's foot, no matter how tempting it is to step on it, is that so hard to understand? Apparently the Czechs and the Portugese didn't get the memo.

I don't rate Scolari much as a tactician. But I give him mad props for his cojones to make the right moves that other managers are too afraid to make.

Kanu said...

That is probably why Scolari took C Ronaldo off so early, which just adds to our point about his ballsyness and makes me respect him even more.

It is annoying that CR does all that stuff instead of just playing, but he has a long way to go in my book to even approach RVN on my shitlist.

Anonymous said...

Can't remember what brought it up further up in the comments, but...

New Zealand's soccer team wears white uniforms (usually black shorts though) and they're referred to as the "All Whites," which sounds like an apartheid era South African squad...

Kanu said...

Or Ole Miss in the 50s...

Anonymous said...

Moin- Offering your viewpoint on a call to the ref if you don't have the captain's armband is asking too be booked. It does not matter if you are doing it out of fair play or are in the more usual complaining mode. My experience is that the higher the level the more short tempered the ref's are (or the more they feel they must maintain the front of godlike power). Pointing out that a call should have gone against your team is still telling the ref he saw it wrong and they don't like that.

Adding on the language differences makes it all the more risky.

The other great CR moment today was when he missed the header off of the crossbar. His reaction was pretty funny (though in general I'm not a CR hater, but he is vain and pompus).

Anonymous said...

Phil, his reaction when the Angolan keeper dared to save his (very well taken) shot was pretty priceless too.

Sometimes, you wonder what all those Italian/Spanish/Argentinian players say when they gather around the ref. They must all be speaking in the respectful half of the verb forms.

Excuse moi, s'il vous plait, mais vous decision etes merde.

Kanu said...

Don't know why, but the most amusing thing for me is when they put their hands together (in the praying formation) right in front of their mouth and keeping their hands together shake from in fron tof their mouth down to in front of their chest. The Italians seems to always do this the most, and it always makes me laugh, as if they believe that somehow, through the power of prayer, they can get the referee to come around to their way of thinking and make the call their way.