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South Africa World Cup 2010!


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let's face it: this is parity on the global level and it's awesome. this is still the most open field i've seen in my life; in any sport let alone the world cup.

it isn't a bad thing, at all. the cup definitely feels different this time around but i kinda like the fact that my bracket is in shambles and that powerhouses are looking human against sides like new zealand, switzerland, and everybody is beating up on the french both on the field and off of it. you've got off field drama with the english and the french because their expectations are of the highest. the spanish are insisting there's nothing to fear. so are the italians. the asians are thrilled that they're playing much better than folks expected them to. the africans play passionately out of pure joy but ultimately are too undisciplined to have mustered more than a win so far (boy, do i wish egypt was in this tournament... they'd certainly take care of that). and the damn ball. and those vuvezelas

it's perfect.

well except for the thing with the officiating. perhaps the most hated official in all of sports (even baseball and its oft-despised villain, the home plate ump) is the soccer ref, the man given the most liberal call of judgement in the sportsworld (without any real checks and balances like review or replay). he has to see everything and he has to run with the flow of the game no matter how breakneck it gets and still call it right. and call what, mind you? call the most, at times, ridiculously tough things to call... a handball (well not all of them... ahem, thierry, ahem, henry... ahem, asshole), an offside (unless its the 2nd and 3rd judge that does it, usually they're on point with it... when its the 1st ref that makes the call... well, you get what we got the other day with the US), or a bad challenge/tackle.

about that. the ultimate judgement call that needs to be made is the severity of a bad or late challenge. i'm shocked that refs have been this gullible this year. they're certainly apt to bite on good acting jobs but it's the quality of the reffing that is questionable not the act of diving itself. flopping is a huge part of soccer and also of many other sports. hockey diving is an integral part of the game if you have to sell a penalty to gain the man advantage. the basketball flop, especially when drawing the charge, is textbook and is a significant power move. there is quite a bit of acting in the NFL too as you can sell a hold or interference and those can move the ball for you. i really don't think the soccer flop is the problem. i think that keita is an horrible actor as it was such a blatantly awful performance but that he actually tried it isn't the issue. the issue should be that the refs are blind and ultimately stupid. i've played quite a bit of soccer and i promise you it doesn't take a genius to be able to size up a situation pretty easily, especially if you're looking at it.

that said, refs usually try to balance the sheets. kaka is a typically clean player but he had been toughing some of the ivory coast midfielders throughout the course of the game so i wouldn't be surprised if that was a makeup call of some sort and it just happened to be a really bad judgement call on the booking. he could have simply called the foul simply to make up for a no call earlier but instead, he was sold by the acting job albeit awful and issued the booking. what makes it even more peculiar, he was acknowledging that it was a yellow card quality offense late in a game that is already pretty much over while not having a problem with it having red card consequences. why would he do that? that just seems like something that should sit him for the rest of the tourney. there are more than enough fifa judges to choose from. next. if the appeal goes through then good for brazil but the ref obviously made a conscious effort to send him off. that isn't a bad call. that's something else as it is obvious that it had to do with the scuffle that was starting to brew between the two sides immediately before that happened. unless there's video showing that kaka played a major role instigating that confrontation, then it is obvious the ref wanted him off for some other reason and that reason has to warrant expulsion.

as for the consequences, it's sad to say it but if portugal beats em, this will be often looked to as a reason why though it likely won't be directly so. the brazilians have plenty of depth and are moving on the next phase so they're not worried. the portugese have a lot more problems than worrying about who'll be roaming the midfield for the brazilians. they need to figure out a way to involve more folks than just ronaldo.

anyway, i ranted. my bad.

forza azzurri!


At first, I found it really strange that Egypt wasn't in the world cup, because they were the best african team as far as I was concerned. I have no idea what happened tough.

But I agree with you on the fact that it is exciting to see teams such as Japan and Switzerland standing up to those whose uniform carries a ton of tradition, it will be curious to see these teams play the elimination rounds against an apathic England, a confused Italy, a unorganized Brazil and etc.

That being said, I am not as worried about the game against Portugal then I was about the game against Ivory Coast. Unfortunately, I think Brazil plays best when a win is not actually critical.

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People are talking about Domenech but it seems that Dunga is trying hard to go down the same road. God, Brazil had some pretty bad mannered coaches in the past but this is the first one who makes me feel kinda embarassed to watch. And I even like when Maradona makes fun of people...

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My HEART is BREAKING right now ;-;


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