Saturday, 3 July 2010

That's why we love football

What. A. Day. Begun by a sweeping Robinho finish and ended by a cocky dinked penalty, but that doesn't even begin to tell the story. Imagine now the contrasting emotions of Asamoah Gyan and Luis Suarez, who in the 119th minute seemed cast in the roles of hero and villain, but within 60 seconds had those reversed as one of the most incredible minutes of football ever seen at the World Cup unfolded in front of our eyes.

The big question over the next few days is going to revolve around the handball. I'm sure there'll be lots of shouts for penalty goals, extending Suarez's ban, forced amputation of the offending arm and all sorts. Ultimately, if Gyan scores the penalty it's not an issue, but my personal opinion is that no more can be done, nor should be done. Anyone in Suarez's position would do the same, take the red card and hope for the best. His constant diving and rolling about on the floor like Didier Drogba on steroids is far more annoying.

Ghana and Brazil really do have only themselves to blame for their defeat. 'Africa' had more than enough chances in normal time to win it, particularly in the first half, whilst the Brazillians completely self destructed after the equaliser. Felipe Melo is a bit of an underrated mentalist, Pepe nearly lured him into getting sent off against Portugal, so much so that Dunga had to take him off first. Then after assisting the Brazil goal and scoring Holland's first, Melo felt he hadn't quite made the whole game about him yet and stamped on Robben to make sure. Juventus are going to be pretty angry since they paid £20 million for him and his value halved in about 5 minutes.

Felipe Melo is not alone in the unpopular stakes, though he is not exactly a Brazillian pin-up right now (The real Ronaldo has come out and said Melo should not come back to Brazil). Dunga wasn't much loved to start with due to his perceived defensive tactics, but now he is probably the most hated man in the country. There is a definite window of opportunity for someone to come in and promise 'Samba football' now, so if anyone's got nothing to do for a few years...

Today has the potential to be just as exciting as yesterday was, starting with the game I'd quite like to be the final, the battle to see who's got the least bad defence between Germany and Argentina. The Germans should be worried, Leo Messi is due a goal, and Per Mertesacker is a bit like a poor man's Peter Crouch at the back. Not that Martin Demichelis is any better, the sort of player who could throw a match by scoring three own goals and no one would be particularly suspicious.

At the other end they have been the two best teams so far, 19 goals between them, 7 of which were in the quarter finals. A little bit of trivia too (I spoil you), Miroslav Klose needs one more goal to go third in the goalscoring leaderboard at World Cups. His 13th goal would take him above Pele on the list, and anything that makes Pele look worse is fine by me, though I imagine he'll go out in the garden with the Grandkids soon after and claim he's got another 5.*

*For anyone who doesn't know, Pele claims to have scored 1000 goals in his career. That is 50 a season for 20 years, and, quite frankly, complete bollocks. What really happened is he counted goals for his school team, and ones he scored against Sylvester Stallone in 'Escape to Victory'. Pele is a disgrace. If you're going to make up how many career goals you're going to score, which is slightly strange in itself if you're as good as Pele supposedly was (controversial opinion alert: massively overrated), then at least make it believable.

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