Friday, June 30, 2006

The Quarter Finals

Argentina-Germany

We thought that Germany were gonners when Argentina scored and Germany seemed to be unable to get their act together, but then a cracking goal in the eightieth minute made both teams up their game. It still went to penalties, where Argentina missed their second shot. It was all over for Argentina with the saving of their fourth shot. The final score was 1-1 a.e.t. and 2-4 in the penalty shoot out.

Italy-Ukraine

Italy whitewashed Ukraine 3-nil. This means that Germany and Italy will be playing each other in the semi-finals.

England-Portugal

Surprise, surprise -- England go out on penalties. At least this means that the universe is not about to implode.

The match itself was end to end stuff even when we were down to ten men after Rooney was sent off. The main annoying thing about the match was the way that the Portugal players kept taking dives at every opportunity. It's poor sportsmanship.

Everyone knows that England will always lose on penalties, so our only chance would have been to get one in during the ninety minutes or during extra time. As soon as it got to penalties, our defeat was pretty much a fait accompli. Our hopes were raised, nevertheless, when Portugal missed a few penalties themselves, but unfortunately we proved worse at penalty taking than they did.

We would have probably gone out (probably to penalties and probably to Brazil) in the next round anyway, but it would have been nicer to go out in the semi-finals rather than the quarters.

By the way, did anyone see the Peterborough (my home town) banner right behind one of the goals?

Brazil-France

Despite not playing that well in the group stages, France managed to raise their game to beat the current champions (France 1, Brazil 0). Perhaps, as the current champions have been knocked out in the quarter finals, we can feel less bad about it happening to us especially as we put up quite a good fight. Portugal and France will be head to head in the semi-finals. The final will probably be France vs. Germany.

Here's my wallchart.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Vi

I doubt that your American friends reading your account of England's exit from the World Cup can appreciate that national sense of depression that has set in, nothwithstanding the fact that we have amazing temperatures of 30 degrees this wekend and everyone should really be happy!!

Still, talk is already urning to the next European championships in 2 years time and the irrepressible national optimism that somehow we will do better next time will soon be restored.

Nick

Viola said...

I was trying to be upbeat.

The problem is that England's team should have been excellent. Sven, in his mysterious wisdom, managed to pick a team which was short on match fit strikers and a 16 year old lad who had never played in a premiereship game and was destined to warm the bench. Nevertheless, as a nation, our attitude was that it's not over until the fat lady sings.

Then they played the group stages and they didn't look like world champions. Then we said, "Never mind, England often play badly in the group stage. We'll get better."

BUT, although he's a good motivator, Becks isn't what he used to be physically speaking. Then, Owen pulled a ligament. The core feelings that we were trying to repress -- that it was all looking rather pear shaped -- became unavoidable and the inevitable happened. We were not cheated -- there was no hand-goal or unfair referee or disallowed goal that should have been allowed. We were just not good enough.

What sickens the whole of England (except Q) is that we could have been / should have been better. During the tournament, when England made it through the group stage and to the quarter final, many were saying that this was in spite of Sven, not because of him.

Every four years (every two years if you count the European championships) we build up our hopes, only to have them dashed (often to a penalty shoot out). But what choice do we have? We can't not support our team. Perhaps it says something about the British fighting spirit that even after forty years of defeat, we never say die.

Anonymous said...

Viola, Q always likes to think of the Flanders and Swann song of Patriotic Prejudice...
"And all the world over, each nation's the same
They've simply no notion of playing the game
They argue with umpires, they cheer when they've won
And they practice beforehand which ruins the fun!" After all, it is only a game, and to have been born an Englishman means that one has already won life's lottery...
And don't worry, despite everything, there seemed to be no national depression yesterday, just the sense of a country getting on with its gardening...

Ren said...

I have been away from the internet for a week, so it is not because of mourning that I have not commented on this yet. I did not get to watch the Brazil/France game, but stayed tune to ESPN radio to keep track of the score. I haven't talked to my sister in Brazil to know how depressed they are there. Most likely the stock market suffered. The championship really boosts morale there, although a lot has changed with their economy since I left in '94. But most of all, thanks for getting me interested again in the cup. Maybe next time, I will be better at following it and Brazil will come back!