15 June 2010

World Cup 2010, Match Day 5

Zombie day today: Somebody ate a lot of brains — coaching staffs, players, officials. Definitely the least-attractive day of this Cup thus far, being dominated by dumbness.

New Zealand 1:1 Slovakia — both goals were the result of defensive brain-freezes in a game characterized by brain freezes. At least the officials managed to avoid (visibly) laughing. C/C/B

Ivory Coast 0:0 Portugal — it's pretty obvious that the officials had no idea whatsoever that Ronaldo has a well-earned reputation for diving. And, on top of that, both sides played stereotypical pre-Total-Football, rigid, dribble-through-the-middle styles that were painful to watch with all of the space available on both wings. C+/C/C+

Brazil 2:1 North Korea — Brazil eventually found out that playing with one's food doesn't always turn out so well when the food is still alive. By (essentially) allowing North Korea to shorten the match to 45 minutes through an abject refusal to press the attack during the first half, Brazil kept this too close. And the officiating was as close to "shocking" as there has been at this Cup... which is, admittedly, a vast improvement over the last five Cups. Credit to North Korea for standing up to the bully, even if the bully fought with both hands tied behind its back; and disdain to Dunga for screwing up his lineup, his formation, and his tactics. B/B/C-