Tags: football


End of Thanksgiving, Beginning of the Holiday Season

The weekend was full of food, as befits Thanksgiving. There was also a fair amount of football, also fitting. I'm watching the last of that now: I thought I had one fantasy game under control and another was a lost cause, but bizarrely, the games switched places while I wasn't looking. (I can't believe I'm going to lose my game in the RPGnet league. Smith has barely thrown a pass in the second half. Ugh. Not that he needed to; as Steve Young said: "There's nothing the Cardinals did today that resembled a drive.")

I met up with dazyndara for coffee on the Stanford campus yesterday. She seems to be enjoying filling up her schedule with her usual mix of fun and hard work. I tried to get her back on the LJ wagon, but I'm not too optimistic. I referred her to this video, which I hope all of you have seen:

There's a lot of trash to be talked about California drivers, but the drive back from San Francisco to Los Angeles this morning was a pleasant experience filled with polite drivers, so cheers to you, California drivers.

I started listening to my new VNV Nation box set on the drive. Much like live Sisters, I suspect live VNV Nation recordings are a body of work for the fans. Ronan Harris growls into the microphone like a chain-smoking AC/DC cover vocalist; it's a fantastic reminiscence of the live experience for a fan but perhaps a bit rough for the casual listener. I haven't listened to the remix CD or the DVD yet.

Mayonnaise on Everything

I'm becoming a bit disillusioned by the way the World Cup is becoming ugly. The second half of the Brazil v Netherlands game was certainly messy, scrappy and generally poor from both sides. Between the Dutch exaggerating every contact to draw yellow cards, the Brazilians protesting clear fouls, and both sides hanging like an under-15 social team, it was neither the game I expected, nor wanted to see. Netherlands looked like an team of experienced campaigners but lacked the calm to slow down the game when they had the lead and to finish gilt edged chances to put the game away. Brazil looked like a team that has never been behind and panicked their way through a frantic second half, becoming increasingly irate at the very reasonable ref and their own inability to magically just win. Team fail.

I haven't watched the game, but I am unsurprised that Uraguay pretty much won because they cheated. South America is coming out of this world cup covered in shit.

The team of the tournament for me so far is Germany. I hope they can continue to show their flowing style over Argentina tonight.

The Business End

If you want to avoid spoilers, you really shouldn't be looking at lj anyway, but nevertheless... I just got back from the pub.
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Is anyone in Christchurch itself watching the games? I think I'll be in town for the rest of them.

Cheers and Jeers

I just watched the England vs Germany and Argentina vs Mexico games at a local pub. As far as choice of favourite was concerned, the two games were a huge win for Germany with a host of pretty goals and no negative play from them. That wrongly disallowed England goal was a pity, but that's football.

On the other hand, Argentina are now my villains of the cup. They scored a hideously offside goal and then rushed the official when he seemed to be unsure. That's poor. They scored on a tragic defending error, then got one good goal and stopped playing, especially Messi, who was walking around at half speed from pretty much half time. My Douche of the World Cup award goes to the diving Argentina back who whacked his head on the camera after the first Tevez goal then petulantly smacked the camera.

So I really hope Germany tea-bags Argentina next week :)

Strength to Strength

I bet the pessimist who wrote the headline "New Zealand's Greatest Sporting Moment" after the Slovakia game is kicking himself now! What now? "The Most Greatestest of anything EVAR"! Too soon mate, too soon. When we beat Paraguay, then maybe I'll give it to you.

I'll be home for that game. Where's the best place to watch in the Christchurch area? If I can't get into town, where's the best place in Rangiora?

[Edit: For posterity:
If Smeltz's opener was dubious [Which it was, I'm sure Reid touched it, and in those moments before Cannavaro touched the ball, Smeltz was offside and interfering with the play], Italy's 29th minute equaliser was simply wrong. Midfielder Daniele De Rossi [an early Oscar contender] and Tommy Smith were involved in some shirt tugging in the box before De Rossi took a clear dive and Batres was sucked in, even issuing Smith with a yellow card to rub salt into the wound.
The Malian ref from the USA game (he was the 4th official here) is bad luck for reffing quality. This penalty kick and yellow was the second worst call of the cup so far, but we can't complain too much as we were lucky at the other end. What we can complain about is the atrocious favoritism the Guatemalan ref displayed towards Italy for the rest of the game (12-24 fouls? Not really; three or four of those should have been attacking free kicks for us, not defensive free kicks for them).

So really, the only legitimate goal from NZ's two matches was Reid's 93rd minute game-tying strike against Slovenia,

ESPN: "NZ's Greatest World Cup Moment"
"New Zealand strikes first, hangs on for shocking draw"]

Ricki Herbert's All White Army

After arising at 3am to a first breakfast of marmite on toast, I made my way to 25 Degrees whereupon I feasted on a breakfast burger and 94 minutes of New Zealand soccer history. Obviously, I'm disappointed we didn't get three points, but to be competitive for the whole game against a quality European side and to get the first final-whistle dream-crushing goal, was magical. It was also nice that we can have the moral high ground that our goal was legal, but I don't think it counts for much; the Slovaks would have been pressing us furiously at the end if it was nil-all going into injury time. We started very well, but didn't really show much in the regular time of the second half.

I think we can certainly be competitive against Paraguay as well. They had a well organised defense against Italy, but didn't seem to have much speed, which is where we're weakest, and the Italians managed to get by that defense with aerial set pieces, which is where we're strongest. In the mean time, we have Italy, whom we lead for most of the game last year before succumbing 3-4 after the Italians emptied their bench of forwards. So, every reason to be hopeful.

And of course, at least we didn't lose 4-nil to a central European side...

A Bowl of Two Halves

I ended up at The Sports Cafe for the Superbowl. I looked in on Four Kings on the way past but it was a bit of a dive, and not in a good (rustic) way. In a "sure, that one wall is showing a lot of sport on all those screens, but none of them are very big and there weren't many places to sit where you could see them" kind of way.

The Superbowl itself threatened to be a non-contest, but Arizona had the firepower to bring it back and make for a (mostly) thrilling last six minutes. In the first half, most of the bar was cheering for Arizona, but when the "knock-off-early" crowd came in the pendulum swung to the Steelers. Are Wellington Steelers fans not dedicated enough to take an afternoon off work?