God Save the Queen

Saturday, July 1st, 2006, 2:20 pm

Rather than write 1,000 words about how England is a rich, noble, and most fortunate nation despite it’s loss today, I’ll skip that and instead say this–how come they can’t find five guys at a time who can hit a penalty kick?

OK, everyone on the pitch was exhausted. And by the end of extra-time it felt like winning the game would be besides the point. If you can’t decide the game by actually playing the game, why not skip the skill competition and just flip a coin? If you’re going to let something like penalty kicks decide the biggest game of the year, hell, save everyone the trouble and flip a coin. No heroes, no goats. Call it in the air.

Lampard, Hargreaves, Gerrard and Carragher all looked tentative. They took a few frightened steps up to the ball and bury a single shot. And now they’re done. To paraphrase Wellington, “They came at them in the same old way, and they lost, in the same, old way.”

Thanks in large part to yet another inexplicable red card. Rooney was getting mugged by two guys, gets his shirt pulled off his shoulder, and steps on a defender. And he gets a red card for that? Or did he get carded for shoving Ronaldo? Or did he step on the prostrate defender after the shove? At first ABC’s execrable announcers (can we refuse to re-admit Balboa into the US?) said that it was Rooney’s initial step that earned him the card. And Balboa was saying that the ref HAD to make that call. How the hell can you throw a guy out for that? Rooney was being pulled down, the defender rolled under his legs. And that’s the move Balboa said was deserving of a straight red. Wha???

There are rumors that Real Madrid wants to buy Ronaldo. If I’m Man U, sell him now when he’s the hot commodity of the moment. He’s already loathed throughout the Premiership–think he’ll be a bit less popular now? And it doesn’t look like he and Rooney will be sharing any long soaks in the hot tub after this. Funny, Ronaldo is obviously a major talent, yet his primary skill is diving. His instinctive wussiness is perhaps his most impressive attribute. He makes a dazzling run down the sideline, and then…splash!! I know this is something constantly harped on by American fans, but it’s the diving (and the histrionics that follow) that will keep soccer a third-class sport in this country. It’s un-American.

The coverage was appalling. I think I speak for everyone on the face of this planet when I say that I do not give a RAT’S ASS what a handful of fans are doing in some pub in Wimbledon. Get them off my TV scree and show the game or the action in the stands. Or show me a crowd scene in London with a hundred thousand people watching in Trafalger Square. If there were people watching the game there. I dunno if that was the case or not. But in any case, stop showing me fifty people crowded around a goddam big-screen TV. That goes for ALL sporting events. I don’t want to see Red Sox fans in some Irish pub during a playoff game in Yankee Stadium. Fuck that. Stop that. Jesus.

Dave O’Brien identified Steve McLaren as Sven-Goran Eriksson. Nice catch. For about the fifth time, Balboa said that Hargreaves was used to the heat because he “plays in Germany”. Um, Marcelo? They usually play during the fall and winter in Germany. When it’s quite cold. While Beckham plays in Madrid, one of the hottest cities in Europe. Isn’t there a producer or someone to tell you when to shut the hell up?

Poor Aaron Lennon. He might’ve been the breakout star of the World Cup if he’d actually gotten to play more than 30 minutes total. You wonder what might’ve been had England presented teams with Cole and Lennon streaking down the wings. I’m sure folks in Argentina are thinking the same thing about Messi right now.

Not a very fun way to spend a bright, sunny morning. Think I’m gonna take a shower, hit the bar, and watch Zindane and Ronaldo get reacquainted.

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