July 5th, 2006

breaking bad

Germany vs Italy

Not at all the result that I was expecting, and an enjoyable professional and sportsmanlike game. The Mexican referee was the best I've seen, and I think the quality of the play owed a lot to his liberal approach, and to the classy response of both teams (particularly in the first half).

Right at the end my son's friend suddenly needed to get home, and it was getting very dark and wet so I decided to miss the last two minutes of the match so that I could drive him home, and get back for the penalty shootout which by then looked inevitable. This meant I missed both damn goals. Gah.
breaking bad

Stripping away the political underwear

This is priceless. A pro-creationist article by a disillusioned 'Darwinist'. He explains that at one time he liked the theory of evolution. Because it was meaningful and true? No, because it made him feel important and macho.

Darwinism seemed to offer me and its other male devotees a long-sought tool—resembling the x-ray glasses lamentably found elsewhere only in cartoons—for stripping away the distracting décor of clothing and the political underwear of ideology worn by feminists and other young women of the day. Using this swashbuckling scheme of fitness and survival, nature "red in tooth and claw", we could reveal our ideological nemeses as naked mammals on the savannah to be ruled and protected by hunting parties of macho males, rather like us.

Yes, science was fun when it seemed to promise 'stripping' women 'naked' to be 'ruled' by him. But boo, science is all boring and reality-based and stuff.
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breaking bad

France vs Portugal

Another disgraceful display by Portugal*, who seem to have no other tactic beyond diving and appealing for their opponents to be sent off. Actually there is one player with great skill, determination and courage on the Portuguese side - unfortunately this is Ronaldo, who is also the biggest cheat. I was pleased that he was booed loudly by the French crowd every time he went near the ball (I'm obviously not the only one who drew certain conclusions from the Rooney incident) and it was satisfying to see his face at the end of the match. Sob away, son.

The team were obviously egged on by their manager Scolari, who will surely now be reprimanded for shouting at the referee after the match was over. Martin O'Neill was saying 'He'll be embarrassed when he sees the video of the match', ie when he sees that his players were faking, but I agree with Shearer who said 'No, it was a deliberate tactic'. What he hoped to gain by arguing after the match was lost I couldn't say.

In fact the refereeing was again excellent, and it is to be hoped that the next international competition it starts at this level, rather than the farcical standard with which the tournament began. FIFA had better consider their advice to officials very carefully.

In the longer term a decision will have to be made about how to deal with this cynical tactic of extensive fakery. It destroys the flow of the game, and can lead to the wrong result. Luckily tonight it didn't.

*ETA - I must, must, emphasise that when I say 'Portugal' I am talking about the specific tactics of this particular football team - I'm not talking about Portugal in general, nor Portuguese people. I take this for granted in all I say, so sometimes I don't make it explicit.