Okay... where do I start?
How about with ourselves... I honestly hope the U.S. team was flying standby on their return trip. After their showing in the 2nd-half of the Ghana game, as well as the whole 90+ minutes of their 1st game against the cast from Cocoon, the U.S. team played more like a team befitting of the role of
the world's cup, protecting the scrotums of teams worthy of play in
the World Cup.
In all fairness, the Azzurri is damn lucky to have not gone down 2-1 against a U.S. team playing pretty much the entire second half with nine men (after two bulls*%t red cards -- De Rossi's flagrant elbow was the only foul of the three deserving of any
card). Beasley's shot was a thing of beauty, and leave it to the refs to once again play a role in the outcome of a game (a common theme at the 2006 World Cup).
Speaking of which, that call against Onyewu in the box during stoppage time (47th minute?) in the game agaisnt Ghana was pure nonsense. Why the f*@# is it his
fault Pingpong makes an Oompa Loompa look tall? Just because dude is four meters tall and Pingpong's up for a gig at Fantasy Island after retirement is no reason for a red card. And save me the corrections... yes, I know it's "Pimpong." You say tomato, I say tomahto.
But at the end of the day, I am left to believe that we and we alone are responsible for our own outcome, as I saw two distinct and different American squads come to play... there was the squad that played with heart and the squad that played without. And maybe if the former had shown up instead of the latter for 135 additional minutes of football, I might be wacthing our boys play in their second consecutive quarterfinal.
Anyway, enough about us Yanks. But before one more disparaging word is spoken about us or how we "don't belong" due to CONCACAF's relative lack of talent, remember that more than a few U.S. players play and even start for European clubs...
So I was rather shocked that France took out Spain with such late-game dominance. Okay, maybe they weren't entirely dominant
, but my kudos began when they didn't forfeit after Spain's first goal...
j/k... In truth, I am very happy for Zidane, the man with the coolest name in the game (at the opposite end of the specturm from "Fred"... yes, that's right... just "Fred
." What a way to close out what was one helluva statement by a French team that played well beyond their 1st-round performances (and expectations?) during ZZ's final World Cup. Sadly, countless decibles of unnecessary, 15-year-old, tired, played-out techno will now be bouncing off the masonry all over Paris all night...
I think Germany's run ends in the quarterfinals. Argentina can freakin' rock it like a rocket, and I don't think I'm alone in my emerging beleif that Messi is the next Maradona... He and Tevez -- who wins my award for Ugliest Mug in the World Cup -- can (and do) work pure magic. And assuming they do get by Germany, I don't see either the Azzurri or the Ukrainians getting through to the finals (even though, in all fairness, I didn't give them much of a chance in yesterday's game either).
The right side of the bracket is IMHO far more interesting and while I think Brazil has to be the favorite, in truth it's anybody's bracket...