Sunday, June 25, 2006

Futbol-cum-Hockey

Fulltime: Portugal 1 - Holland 0
That was easily the most violent 45 minutes of futbol I've ever seen in the World Cup or, indeed, anywhere outside a penal setting. 16 yellow cards, 4 reds: both World Cup records. Micro-brawl after micro-brawl. Obscene tackling. Impossible time-wasting schemes from the Portuguese.

The effective time-of-play in the second half can't have been more than 20 minutes. The Dutch lost their cool. The Portuguese were skillful, but also INCREDIBLY cynical - openly provoking the Dutch in order to waste time. Just amazing.


Addendum
The official match report is now available and the Portuguese stole EIGHT minutes from the Dutch! The effective time of play for the whole match was just 52 minutes - 8 less than the usual!

The minute-by-minute report in The Guardian was great fun:

59 min Van Bronckhorst is booked for cropping his Barca mate Deco. Then, in the ensuing afters, Figo sticks the heed on Van Bommel! He nutted him! And the ref only booked him! WTF? You would think Fifa can ban Figo after the game, but apparently that's only for stuff the ref didn't see. So it depends if the ref booked him for the heed job, which I don't think he saw, or just the general aggro, which he might have done. But, Hackett-lovers, there's a chance England could face Portugal next week without Figo, Costinha and Ronaldo.

61 min From the resulting free-kick, Simao coaxes a beauty over the wall that lands on the top of the net.

62 mins: BOULAHROUZ SENT OFF! The ref evens it up to ten a side and it's all going off here! Handbags galore! Rochester High Street comes to the World Cup! Figo, who should have walked for nutting Van Bommel, is just muscled off the ball by Boulahrouz and goes down clutching his face. There was contact but I really don't think it was deliberate from Boulahrouz. Then Ooijer had a frank and animated discussion of the Long Blondes' back catalogue with the Portuguese bench, which enabled to crowbar in the obligatory shameless Long Blondes reference! Blimey!

64 mins Holland are now playing 2-4-3, so Cocu will have to drop in to make it 3-3-3. "This is laughable," says GU's Carrie Dunn, laughing.

65 mins “Ruud Gullit isn't wearing any socks under his loafers. Fancy,” says James Houston, who presumably is keeping the full story on the Gullit underwear for extra-time.

66 mins This, of course, changes the game completely, and pricks the momentum Holland were building up. Kuyt, who looks like Tommy from Trainspotting (before he got the cat), miscontrols a good through ball from erm, from erm...

67 mins: Holland substitution - Heitinga for Van Bommel 1-0 down, defender for midfielder. Odd. Anyway, it's definitely 3-3-3 now.

69 mins Great play from Van Persie, who Cruyff-turns past the inept Valente and skims a brilliant ball right across the face of goal six yards out. Van Nistelrooy would have buried that.

70 mins I should stress that Figo didn't properly stick the heed on Van Bommel - it was more a Kingston-upon Thames kiss than a Glasgow kiss - but the fact is he made the motion, and made contact. And while Van Bommel's 12-pints-of-Magners-have-just-hit-me act was pitiful, Figo should have gone off.

71 mins Ricardo Carvalho makes a truly wonderful, over-the-top (in the Blackadder Goes Forth rather than the Souness sense) block on the edge of the box to stop Sneijder's stinging volley.

73 mins: It's all going off again! Wonderful stuff. Holland ignored the unwritten gentlemanly conduct rule after a bouncing ball, playing on when Portugal expected to get the ball back, and Deco responded by scything down Heitinga with a comically disgusting hack. He was booked and, in the melee, Sneijder shoved Petit over - he was leaning over Heitinga, Keane-on-Haaland style - and got booked for that. This is brilliant! Van Der Vaart, I think, got booked also.

76 mins Ricardo booked for timewasting. Someone lend me Graham Poll's abacus.

77 mins This is pure theatre. Nuno Valente is booked for doing Van Persie from behind: that's the 14th yellow card!

77 mins: RED CARD - DECO! This is absolutely out of control now. Deco gets a second yellow card for stopping Holland taking a quick free-kick, and Graham Poll is a visionary compared to this bloke. England are going to be playing Portugal Reserves next week: no Figo, no Deco, no Ronaldo, no Costinha. They might blag their way into the semis!

78 mins “Are you suggesting the good burghers of Kingston-upon-Thames can’t fight?” offers Steve Morgan. “I have my keys ready every time I go past the Rotunda late doors of a weekend, such is the smell of fear. These Portuguese pussies wouldn’t stand an England’s chance in a World Cup in a scrimmage outside Europa Chicken son, unless you slipped on their hair grease and lost your footing.” I'd offer a witty response but a) that requires wit and b) it's all I can do to watch this barnstorming and bizarre game at the moment.

79 mins “This is brilliant, Smyth,” says GU alumnus Nick Harper. “Best game of the World Cup by miles.” Damn right – it’s genius.

80 mins Dirk Kuyt misses a one-on-one. He was played through the middle by a wonderful, Effenberg-like sliderule pass, and Ricardo came roaring out to meet him; Kuyt, stretching, whapped it straight into Ricardo's chest. He should have scored. Ruud would have scored.

82 mins: two substitutions. Or not. Tiago on for Figo and - how's this for a snub? - Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (not Van Nistelrooy) for someone. And now Tiago's NOT coming on. What the eff? Actually, Hesselink isn't on either. Yet.

83 mins I can't be bothered reading emails as, every time I look away from the screen, someone gets nuked. But I'll have a look if we go to extra time.

84 mins Tiago comes on for Figo. Vennegoor of Hesselink comes on for Cocu. What the hell has happened to poor Ruud Van Nistelrooy?

85 mins “I’ve seen cleaner hockey games than this,” says Arthur Delano.

86 mins Vennegoor heads down a long ball to Van Der Vaart, who chests it up and tries a ridiculous karate-kick that flies well over. No aggro for 10 minutes, it is my sad duty to relate.

87 mins No real momentum for Holland at the moment, although there should be at least four decades of injury time in which they can try to grab an equaliser.

88 mins Portugal break four-on-three and mess it up completely. The indefatigable Miguel gets free on the right, but he tries a lame pass to Simao, who was offside anyway.

89 mins Dirk Kuyt's hooked shot from the edge of the box is smothered by Ricardo. “Graham Poll must think it's his birthday,” says Nick Sweeney. “No-one's going to remember his three-yellows after this match.”

90 mins An unbelievably good cross from Sneijder on the right swooshes along the six-yard line with about four players missing it by THIS much. Van Nistelrooy territory once again.

90 mins + 5 secs There are to be six minutes of added time, and then the flies on the tunnel wall should see some serious action.

90+1 mins Holland seem resigned to their fate here.

90+3 mins Now we know why Phil Scolari didn't want to take the England job in April, eh?

90+4 mins: RED CARD - VAN BRONCKHORST I have nothing to say really except that this is very, very weird. Four red cards is a World Cup record and, though the ref has been a total clown, that was probably a legitimate second yellow card for Van Bronckhorst: he just had a right good hack at Tiago (I think).

90+5 mins Tiago, full of energy and not on a yellow card, toebungs wide from 12 yards. Meanwhile, there's an amusing little gathering of the red-carded players, sat together watching and discussing the game like toffs in a park with Pimm's and cheques from Daddy. There have been 16 yellow cards tonight, and yet apparently the official statistics show just 25 fouls! That, ladies and gentlemen, is the product of the blather of Blatter, and this kind of farce has been coming ever since he insisted you get booked for pretty much everything.

Full time: Portugal 1 Holland 0 The end of a truly bizarre match: four red cards, 474 yellow cards, deliverance for Graham Poll and, at the end of it, Portugal will again meet England in the quarter-final. But they won't have Deco, they won't have Costinha, and they might not have either Figo or Ronaldo. Thanks for all your emails: it's been old-school. Rob.

6 Comments:

Blogger JPJP0883 said...

wtf?!?!? is it their fault or the referee?!?!? both? but all this cards just ruined the game! and what about the next match? who will play? this is hilarious! I feel sorry for both portuguese and duch....

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Alfredo Octavio said...

Surprisingly, England won both games today.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Francisco said...

The ref made one big mistake: he didn't show a red card right in the 10th minute, when Cristiano Ronaldo got viciously, viciously tackled and limped around for another 8 minutes before they had to substitute him. The second nasty tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo - the one that finally made them take him out - REALLY angered the Portuguese players. After that the retaliation tackles started, escalating to those scuffles. By then the ref had no choice but to start handing out cards liberally - you can't just stand there and do nothing when players are openly trying to send one another to the hospital. I mean, some of those tackles were just plain criminal.

Man did that get out of hand! Great fun...

5:25 PM  
Blogger Francisco said...

The TV guy here had a lovely comment:

"Four reds!? You don't even see that in a derby between Sodom and Gomorrah!"

5:44 PM  
Blogger JPJP0883 said...

Hey! hey! Francisco & Daniel do you mind doing some kind of poll, or question... Where people put comments about who they preffer to win the WC -while they still have a chance- but related to Venezuela and its main inmigrants Spain, Portugal and Italy... ummm... you know what I mean, basically who do you think is the best choice to stand for the next 4 years?? d@@b
PS The I refuse to make any other comments about the game besides that it was a violent joke........

6:33 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Quico

by the way, i have guessed 4 games and you only guessed 3. :)

ok, the next four all can happen, but i could not resit pointing that out.

8:19 PM  

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