Friday, July 2, 2010

Bye, Bye Brazil

Should I be so happy that Brazil have been knocked out of the World Cup? Well, I could be happier, it could have been Uruguay knocking them out in the up coming semifinals. Even better had they gone on to lose to Argentina in the final.

Netherlands beat Brazil in a come from behind thriller 2-1. As soon as the team from Europe scored the go ahead goal, the Brazilians started to lose their composure. Five minutes later, Felipe Melo received a red card after having not only fouled a Dutch player, but continuing to kick the man after the whistle had blown. This wasn't the Brazil of the Beautiful Game, but the ugly Brazil, who can't deal with a team that isn't intimidated by them, a team that had gone down 1-0 ten minutes into the game, but fought back to win.

The Brazilians eventually regained their composure, or at least Kaka did, but down a man with only some twenty minutes to work with they just couldn't find a way to take the game level... and I laughed and celebrated, not that the Netherlands had gone through, but because Brazil, the almighty Brazil, the nation who has won more World Cups than any other, are heading home.

Ah, life's simple joys.

On the day's other match, Uruguay and Ghana played to a 1-1 draw. Ghana nearly won it in the dying minutes of the second over time. In a mad goal line scramble, Uruguayan forward Luis Suárez, who was back helping out in defense, was on the line when a nearly sure goal came his way. Unable to get a head on it, he forgot that he wasn't the goalkeeper and deflected the ball away with what was clearly a hand ball. In this case, the referee spotted it, red carding Suárez and pointing to the penalty spot.

Fortune smiled on Uruguay as Ghana's Asamoah Gyan beat the keeper, only to slam the ball against the crossbar. Suárez thus earns the distinction of having perhaps the most tactically sound red card ever earned at a World Cup.

Really, this was one of those matches were neither side deserved to lose, so it was only just that the game be decided by way of the penalty shoot out. I still wish there was a better way of deciding these things, but it's all we have for the moment. Uruguay proceeded to move on, winning the shoot out 4-2.

Tomorrow we'll see Argentina vs Germany, a rematch of both the 1986 and 1990 finals, and Spain vs Paraguay. Both Argentina and Germany will be going into their match against each other full of confidence. Paraguay, however, must pray for a miracle against Spain.

Villar, Cardozo... just remember, as good as Spain may be, they aren't invincible. Switzerland beat them in the first round, the USA at last year's Confederation Cup. Why not Paraguay in the World Cup quarterfinals?

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