Sunday, June 25, 2006
Maniche for Portugal (vs Holland), 25th June 2006
16 yellow cards and 4 red cards. A new World Cup record. I suppose congratulations are due to the referee, Mr. Valentin Ivanov from Russia.
The TV pictures right at the end of Deco and Giovanni van Bronckhorst sitting disconsolately together said it all: two Barcelona team mates, one playing for Portugal and one playing for Holland, both shown the red card and forced to watch the conclusion of the game from the sidelines. Were they talking about the match? Hell no, they were both talking about the referee.
Somewhere in there, a football game got lost.
...and now Portugal must prepare themselves (minus the suspended Costinha and Deco, and also possibly without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo) to face England at Gelsenkirchen next Saturday. It's Eriksson vs Big Phil Scolari round three..... and Big Phil's won them both of the other rounds so far.... both in quarter finals in the last two major international competitions. It's the outgoing England manager vs the man who might have been his successor but thought better of it. The fiery latin against the icy swede. It should be an interesting match.
Whatever the result, let's hope the match is about the players and not about the referee, eh?