This has been an overall enjoyable World Cup 2006 quarter finals, with the night games providing the better entertainment value than the evening ones. I wonder if the heat has anything to do with it.
Saw the 1st half at CBS, where the administration were kind enough again to open a lecture room & screened the game via the LCD projector for staff & student alike. During half time break, went to the Bear pub as BR, who was with me, commented that the atmosphere was sterile & people were content on whispering comments such as “I think he missed a chance on goal” instead of the all-out exclamations. The Bear was super crowded & just as we managed to get a spot to stand & see an acceptable portion of the big screen, Argentina scored. I was hoping for Argentina to hang on to the lead & proceeded to win as I didn’t fancy standing hanging out there long with my view getting more & more blocked by taller people heading to the bar to get drinks (the big screen is behind the bar). Sadly, it was not to be. Miroslav Klose scored from a set piece & both teams couldn’t score anymore after that. The Germans advanced thanks to the heroics of Arsenal’s Jens Lehmann (he’s the 1 reason I am happy for Germany performing well – it’ll improve him as a player).
Result: Germany wins 4-2 on penalties after score was level at 1-1 after extra time.
This being the 1st time the Ukrainians qualifying for the World Cup Finals, reaching this stage of the tournament is an achievement by itself for them. Nevertheless, having a prolific striker like Andriy Shevchenko in their ranks & playing against the Azzurris whom you’d not expect to play 11 men behind the ball ala the Swiss, I expected the Ukrainians to move forward more & give Buffon more exercise instead of defensive plays & rare forays forward. This is not to say the Italians were push overs. Francesco Tottii & co provided us with a goal fest & some beautiful passing to deservingly meet the Germans in the semi-finals. Sadly, after the 3rd goal, I dozed off & woke up long after the game was over (luckily no more goals after that).
Result: Italy wins at 3-0.
No Deco, no Constinha & some rather lame performance from Luis Figo & co made the English look like the got a chance of nicking it. This was more so after David Beckham had to be substituted due to an injury & England look even more cohesive after the thug Rooney got sent off for a trod on Ricardo Carvalho’s groin & a subsequent push on Cristiano Ronaldo after being provoked by the latter. In fact, England managed to hang hold off against the Portuguese’s attempts on goal & tried 1 or 2 themselves till the end of extra time to force another penalty shoot out. In this stage during Euro 2004 Championships, Portugal sent England packing via a penalty shoot out. Was history about to repeat itself? After the Portuguese & the English missed 2 penalty shots each, it looked like England may squeeze through the quarter finals. Postiga scores & the excellent goalkeeper Alexandre Ricardo saves Carragher’s ensuing attempt. Up steps Ronaldo to score to make it 3-1 with England having only its 5th penalty to take. Portugal are through!
Result: Portugal wins 3-1 on penalties after scoreless after extra time. I wonder if Ronaldo is on his way out of ManUre, for his role in the thug’s sending off & in Portugal’s win?
This has got to be THE match of the quarter finals. The France that turned up for this match is so unlike the lackluster France in the group stages & is even better than the France that came back from a goal down against Spain in the 2nd Stage. A Zinedine Zidane inspired Les Bleus dictated much of the 1st half & even assaulted Nelson Dida’s goal with attack on the opposite direction almost none existent. We barely saw much of the 2 Roonies. 2nd half, Brazil started to attack a bit more & it was truly a beautiful game to watch. The 57th minute became a crucial point of the match when a Zizou free kick set up the prolific Thierry Henry, who volleyed the ball pass Dida to score the goal of the match. The play got even more exciting with the Brazilians trying their best to get an equalizer & the French attempting to seal the match via a 2nd goal. Sadly, this is the end of the road for the Brazilians. Viva Les Bleus!
Result: France wins 1-0 after normal time & will meet Portugal in the semi finals.
This French victory has resulted in a friend of mine, Ady, hating me. It all started when I showed no mercy (via hailing the French in the comments area) to her expressing her sadness in her blog on South Korea’s exit from the Group stage. She had hoped her now expectant World Cup champs to beat Les Bleus & it did not happen. Oh well, since it’s only hate due to this, hate away. :P Still friends otherwise.
I am now dreaming of an all Blue World Cup 2006 final match, no maroon nor white.
To be continued…
Till later, live long & prosper.