I refer to the events of today, June 24th. “The Beautiful Game”, they say; only sometimes not.
Italy 0 Uruguay 1 · Yeah, Italy deserved to lose. But yeah, Suarez bit that guy. I’d have been cheering for Colombia next round, whoever won.
Here’s the thing: Italy hasn’t quite got over 2006, when they won the World Cup with their ironclad defense anchored by the incomparable Cannavaro, who I’m convinced single-handedly beat Germany and went through the tournament without a red or yellow card. This year’s team was not quite as good, a whole lot nastier, and that defensive-lockdown mode was truly ugly. I might forgive the egregious hacking and diving, but spending the first 70 minutes playing for a tie is just not forgivable.
Uruguay would probably be toast against Colombia even with Suarez but FIFA has just got to banish that lout if they want to retain any relevance.
Greece 2 Côte d'Ivoire 1 · I’m not unbiased, I wanted to see Gervinho and Drogba and friends in the round of 16. Also, Greece is kind of boring. Immediately after the extra-time penalty, CBC showed a replay that made made it crystal-clear that Samaras had performed a blatant dive, but the replay omitted the collision with Sia’s leg that gave him the excuse. I still haven’t seen a replay with enough of the lead-up to figure out whether Sia stuck his leg in front of the kick, or if Samaras was trying to run through him. But damn, I still think that penalty shouldn’t have been called.
Looking Forward · I bet the World Cup winner comes out of the Group A/B criss-cross: Brazil vs Chile, Netherlands vs Mexico. Given a choice I’d watch the second, but it seems reasonable to expect magic from both.
The C/D is less interesting: Columbia should get by (the presumably post-Suarez) Uruguay, and Costa Rica shouldn’t have much trouble with Greece — but then, Costa Rica wasn’t supposed to be in this round.