Monday, June 19, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness of Minions

Let's start with the obvious: I got nothin'. Stompdown fuckall.

You already know about the futbol thing. After Daniele De Rossi got a perfectly valid red card for deliberately elbowing Brian McBride in the face and drawing blood, evil corrupt referee Jorge Larrionda, target of allegations of ineptitude and worse before the last Cup, chose to send off Pablo Mastroeni for...uhm...I'm still not sure. It appeared to involve being American.

A miraculous, life-saving own goal sucked the US back into the game, but 15 minutes later Mastroeni was sent off, followed by the slow, elderly Eddie Pope a few minutes into the second half. Despite gallons of adrenaline, the US' was never able to convert and put away the goal that would've given them a much-deserved victory, partly because coach Bruce Arena coached the worst game of his life. He pulled off two players who were giving the team solid efforts and sparky play (Clint Dempsey and Bobby Convey), inserting self-loving wanker DaMarcus Beasley and the guy who wrote Heart of Darkness and, incredibly, never using his third sub.

So we're reduced to rooting for the Czechs to beat Italy, assuming that our boys (minus Pope and Mastroeni, which really shouldn't be a problem) can beat equally death-carded Ghana in their final group match.

See? Nothin'. Nothing you didn't already know, anyway. I'll try to have today's news along about Thursday or so.

Update: Ilse, who is a puritanical quibbleslut, points out, correctly (and just a wee bit gleefully), that I erred. If Italy beats the Czechs and the US beats Ghana, all is well in Uhmurka. A Czech victory means that the US must beat Ghana by enough goals to make up an astronomical goal differential that can barely be measured in numbers known to our mathematics. I apologize to all of my readers, including Ilse, who constitutes about 50 percent of that population. Of course, my rightness or wrongness (and yes, I was, in fact and of course, wrong) pales as a point, in the context of my beloved's puritanical quibbleslutitude.

Update II: I watched the video. Mastroeni slid on his side, and his right foot was, arguably, cleats-up. The red card was still clearly a make-up, and I think it was an unwarranted one. I'll buy the yellow card, though.


blackdogredcard said...

Before every WC, FIFA gathers together its refs and tells them: These are the Red intolerables for this tournament.

Late tackles, double-cleats up, was one. The ref had no choice.

(And if that had been Giuseppe Woppadago cleating up Joey Jingo, you'd have been screaming red, yes?)

If Czechs win, don't matter what US does. If Czechs and Italian TIE, the US must beat Ghana by four.

(And eff Pope, but they'll miss Pablo, that ratbastardrapid.)

gothmog said...

If the Czechs win, it does indeed matter what the US does: The US has to win (that's a given) and the combined margin of victory by the US and Czech Rep. is a) six or more, or b) 5, and the US scores at least 3 more goals than Italy does in their loss. There's also another option: c) the total combined margin of victory is 5, AND the US scores exactly 2 more goals than the Italians; but this involves a drawing of lots or coin flip or something.

And. Mastroeni didn't have his cleats up, except in that it's impossible to make a tackle with both cleats still attached to the ground. It was an out and out bad call.

bdr said...


I stand corrected on the Czechs. It just seemed inconceivable to me that the Italians would do more than lock down on defense for a tie and try to poach a goal for the win.

I do disagree about the tackle in regard to what FIFA was asking the refs to emphasize (UEFA was doing the same things with their refs in Champ Cup this past season). Players had been warned and warned again that red would be given for just that type of tackle.

Aside that, it was a harsh yellow at the very least. Mastroeni could have ended that guy's career with that tackle.

And aside that, a man up, flow of play going US way, Arena's formation working with Mastroeni as key, it was mighty effing stupid.

gothmog said...

Agreed that it's pretty impossible for the US to get in with an Italian loss. And the point is probably moot (mute), since it all assumes a US victory over Ghana, much less a large one.

Re: the tackle--I doubt it was close to a career ender. I'm watching the replay, and he even gets part of the ball, it seems, so I'm not sure it could even be called late. But I will agree it was mighty effing stupid. Which is to say, business as usual for the US.