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World Cup Diary IX: Ukraine-Switzerland, Australia-Italy, Round 2 Final Predictions

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Here’s hoping that Human Rights Watch groups around the world took due notice of the suffering of millions who watched the tie between Ukraine and Switzerland.

Was it the worst game played in this World Cup? Absolutely.

Was the tortuous play demeaning and dehumanizing to the audience? No question about it.

The better game of the day thus belonged to the Azzurri and the Socceroos by default. Our own Natalie Bennett has already provided us with her eloquent and quintessentially British account of it.

The game was memorable in at least one way: Never before have I seen a match conclude with a penalty. Sadly for the Aussies, a fatal defending error from Lucas Neill in the final seconds cost them a possible trip to the final eight.

As many of you have already rightly observed, it was another screw up by the Spanish referee adding to what has become a Hall of Shame of outrageous calls made in this World Cup. I know referee bashing helps, but there are few other things worth noting:

1. The fault lies as much with Bresciano, who should have never allowed Fabio Grasso to dribble past him. Why not tackle him when he was still lurking around the corner flag? Why allow him to get inside the box? Inexplicable.

2. Neill should have known that a sliding tackle inside the box is usually the last option by a defender. He could have stayed his ground and forced Grasso to maneuver his way around him, thereby killing precious seconds. His suicidal plunge simply allowed Grasso, who grabbed the opportunity with both hands, to execute a well-timed flop. The penalty, no matter how unfortunate, was a culmination of a sequence of defensive lapses and gamesmanship of highest order.

Of course Grasso’s flop was still nowhere close to the classic Michael Owen dive from the 1998 World Cup match between Argentina and England — still the benchmark of all wishful cheaters around the world.

When my buddy Jon learned about my ravishing praise of Owen, he promptly came up with the following reply:

“Before you praise Michael Owen too highly, check out some of the competition here.”

And you should too.

Tomorrow’s picks:

Brazil over Ghana

Does anyone think otherwise?

Spain over France

Shouldn’t the French team be vacationing in a nice, quiet old age home on the shores of Mediterranean? By Wednesday, they will be.

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About Q Bit

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    hhhmmm…I have Ukrainian blood in my system, a close female mate has Swiss blood in her system. So I said “let’s get into a fight over a soccer match!”

    Anyway, it goes down to a shootout. Yup, the Ukrainian keeper did a hell of a job. Those Eastern Europeans are tough suckers.

    France, 3-1 over Spain. A good match, but a bit off at the same time.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    I hate it when the French win something…something other than a “hairiness and stinkiness” competition, that is… :-/

  • http://secondvibe.blogspot.com Q Bit

    Doug: My sympathies :-)) Even the shootout was pathetic – what’s wrong with the Swiss?

    Doug & RJ: The French played rather well, they earned it.

  • Rob

    I predicted that the French would go through.

    Hate to think it, but as entertaining as this match mighta been, it’s sure look’in like the refs tip the scales once again.

    Hat’s off to Ghana, playing without Essien and they still put up a fight. Desite losing to Brazil 3-0, they’re damn good side with spirit.

    As for the next round:

    Germany 3 – 2 Argentina (with heavy help from the refs)

    Italy 2 – 0 Ukraine (easy day for the refs this is a no brainer…they may as well stay home)

    England 1 – 2 Portugal (the refs try and help the brits but they’re so hopeless not even 2 red cards to the Portugal side will save the Queen)

    Brazil 2 – 2 France (hoping and pray’in the refs leave this one alone, could be the match of the World Cup…result goes to Brazil 5-4 in the shoot out)(eh…but if the refs favor anyone it’ll be the French – couldn’t help myself :Op )

  • http://secondvibe.blogspot.com Q Bit

    Rob:

    The only guaranteed winners are Italy (Ukraine shouldn’t be here at all) and Brazil (sorry France, ya think the old bones could work the charm again? too late).

  • Dymil

    Q Bit shouldn’t be here at all. This saying is more correct.

  • drummo

    Don’t care who wins now. As long as it isn’t Brasil, Germany or Argentina. They’re all multiple winners and too arrogant. So I suppose it’s Go Portugal

  • http://secondvibe.blogspot.com Q Bit

    Dymil : I know but certain things are irreversible.

    Drummo: It has to be either Brazil, Germany or Argentina; Italy is a long shot while England is no shot.

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    The Brits go home. Portugal vs. heck, we may see Germany in the final…..

  • http://www.snarkattack.info/ Snarkattack

    The commentator was calling Erikson the quarter-final coach. Sad, but alas so true! It was a good game though. I actually thought they had a chance at winning pre-penalty kickoff. Yeah, so I can dream.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Germany vs. Italy …

    France vs. Portugal …

    An all-European World Cup!

  • MCH

    “I hate it when the French win something…something other than a “hairiness and stinkiness” competition, that is… :-/”
    – RJ Elliott

    What is it in your lack of makeup that you would enjoy a “stinkiness competition”?

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    A stinkiness comp.? Well, it is an even playing field with everyone running in the heat. well, I guess it depends on what kind of food one is sweating out. the all garlic team?

  • MCH

    “I hate it when the French win something…something other than a “hairiness and stinkiness” competition, that is… :-/”
    – RJ Elliott

    You’re not one of those fart-sniffing judges, by chance?

  • drummo

    Brasil pack your bags. Vive le Frog. Zidane made the brasil midfield look impotent. He’s a joy to watch. Ribery ran his guts out as usual.
    Go Portugal in the next one. It’d be nice to see the cup go to someone different.

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