My SECOND-ever Sports guestblog. This is starting to Worry me, here. :)
The South End went Nuts :) yesterday ~
Fabio Grosso connected with his left foot and booted them right out the door. Ten of them, 50 of them, hundreds of them, all of them, everyone of Italian heritage in south Hartford raced out onto Franklin Avenue at 4:30 Sunday afternoon.
They popped from their homes. They ran from their favorite restaurants. They sprinted from their social clubs. They ran screaming, arms aloft, as if they had scored the final penalty kick themselves at Olympic Stadium in Berlin and were still running, searching for hugs halfway around the world.
They found those hugs among the crowd already gathered in front of a giant screen showing the World Cup final on the portion of Franklin Avenue closed off between Brown and Preston streets. And this was where the party really started.
One minute, they were suffering the angst of World Cup overtime, watching their team getting outplayed by France, fearing a return of the worst pain brought by the only World Cup final decided by penalty kicks against Brazil in 1994.
Then - in a flash - they were running out the door as if their pants were on fire.
We have seen the face of joy and it was served up on a stretch of asphalt just south of the gold Capitol dome of this New England state. Surely, it was repeated in Boston and Providence and Rome and Naples in so many cities in both the Old and New World, but until you see it and feel it, well, you’ll never quite know the full meaning of spontaneous combustion.
“We are from the heart,” said Salvatore Sutera, treasurer of the Italian-American Stars Athletic Club on Franklin Avenue. “That’s what it is. We are from the heart.”
…People jumped into pickup trucks and began blaring horns, with 20 or 30 piling onto flat-bed trucks. Speakers popped up from nowhere, tens of them, music and noise filled the South End. When captain Fabio Cannavaro held up the World Cup trophy and began to dance, so did Franklin Avenue. It can take cities weeks to plan a parade, and here was one thrown on the spot.
Read the rest. Very very nice. :) We trust folks won’t Object to these joyful immigrants & offspring-of-immigrants parading with the Flag of a Foreign Nation. ;>
In Other important local & worldwide Sporting news :>, a Nawth Cah’lina boy :) has won the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American on the Connecticut River. :) Takes home a big Check and a Big Boat. Very Commendable. :) He successfully angled, among other places, in Wethersfield Cove. Why hell, I’VE caught Bass in Wethersfield Cove! And with no Boat! :> (Nobody done Give me one for it, neither. :)
It’s still 1-1, and going to overtime, in the World Cup championship game.
UPDATE: France’s superstar, Zinedine Zidane, just got red-carded for head-butting an Italian player in the chest as part of a confrontation away from the ball. He’s expected to retire after this game, so his career ends on a rather ignominious note.
UPDATE 2: It’s going to penalty kicks! The only other World Cup final to end on PKs was Brazil-Italy in the U.S. in 1994… and that one didn’t end well for Italy and star Roberto Baggio, who became the soccer version of Scott Norwood with his missed kick that decided the Cup.
UPDATE 3: Italy wins! 5-3 on penalty kicks. France
surrendered lost because its second kicker hit the crossbar.
Sucks to be Zidane right now.
It appears that they’re setting things on fire in Rome.
Portugal wins on penalty kicks, 3-1, after a nil-nil tie in the game. The Brits are out. So much for the Italy-Germany and England-France, Axis and Allied powers semifinals. :)
Just in…Portgual advance to semis 3-1 on penalties over England. Portugal face the winner of Brazil-France on Wednesday 5 July at noon MST (3p EDT).
Brazil and France play today at noon MST.
At a pub in L.A., watching the England-Portugal game. It's a scoreless tie in the 63rd minute, but England star Rooney just got red-carded.
Holy cow! World Cup home team Germany just beat Argentina, Andrew’s predicted champion, in a quarterfinal thriller that was decided by a penalty-kick shootout (which I caught the tail end of, along with about a dozen other attorneys, in the attorney lounge). The Germans advance to the semifinals, where they’ll play the winner of this afternoon’s Italy-Ukraine game. Tomorrow’s quarterfinals: England vs. Portugal and Brazil vs. France.
Could an England-Germany final be in the cards? That’d be awesome. Bring on the offensive chants! :)
Just in: Italy has advanced to the quarterfinals with a dramatic last-second penalty converted against Australia to win the game 1-0.
Update, 10:04: Summary of the game posted.
I really wanted to get this post up Friday night before the knockout round commenced, but I’ll go ahead and stick with what were my predictions going into Saturday:
Germany over Sweden
Argentina over Mexico
England over Ecuador
Holland over Portugal
Australia over Italy
Switzerland over Ukraine
France over Spain
Brazil over Ghana
Argentina over Germany
England over Holland
Australia over Switzerland
Brazil over France
Argentina over Australia
England over Brazil
Brazil over Australia
Argentina over England
Some comments on the above predictions:
Is anyone else watching this Netherlands-Portugal game? Holy cow. What a freakin’ disgrace.
It’s good news for England, though, because Portugal’s best player was sent off with a bulls**t red card, and thus won’t be available for the next game if Portugal wins. (Portugal leads, 1-0, at 83:35.)
UPDATE: Portugal advances. The referee presumably will not.
UPDATE 2: Andrew thinks the ref wasn’t the problem, the players were.
Colin thinks Portugal should be banned from the 2010 World Cup.
The Brits are in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. God bless England! :)
The Germans will face the winner of the Mexico-Argentina game. Argentina has looked extremely impressive so far in the tournament, and has been declared the favorite by Andrew, but right now they’re tied 1-1 with Mexico late in the first half.
Harry Kewell has sent the Socceroos into the last 16 of the World Cup with a stunning late equaliser in the most remarkable soccer match Australia has ever been involved in. Kewell’s 79th minute goal in its deciding Group F match against Croatia gave Australia the draw it needed to advance to the second round.
English referee Graham Poll may have had some questions to answer had Australia not advanced, with Mark Viduka denied a clear penalty inside the first 10 minutes when Croatia’s Joe Simunic rugby-tackled him in the box.
Poll will also have to answer questions over why Simunic was not sent off in injury time after being shown a second yellow card. He was allowed to remain on the pitch for a tense final few minutes as Croatia searched for a winner. Simunic was eventually marched on the final whistle for his third yellow card, but by then the Australians were celebrating.
Australia will play Italy in the round of 16 in Kaiserslautern on Tuesday (AEST).
Well, there’s good news and bad news.
The good news: Italy leads the Czech Republic, 1-0 early in the second half. If that result holds, the United States would qualify for the second round with a win over Ghana.
The bad news: Ghana leads the United States, 2-1 at halftime.
UPDATE: Liveblog of the USA-Ghana game here. Apparently Ghana’s second goal was scored on a penalty kick off a bulls**t foul call. So perhaps the score should really be listed as USA 1, Ghana 1, Refs 1. Unfortunately, rage against the refs won’t get the Americans into the second round.
Liveblog of the Italy-Czech game here.
UPDATE 2: Ghana wins, 2-1, and advances to the second round, along with Italy (which beat the Czechs 2-0). Considering the Czechs were #2 and the U.S. #5 in the official FIFA rankings coming in, I think that officially proves that this was a “Group of Death.”
Apparently both of Ghana’s goals involved questionable calls, so the win will doubtless be very controversial, here in the States at least. Which is a shame, really, because Ghana is clearly a good team and deserves credit for its excellent play. Though if the U.S. really did get screwed by the refs, as people are saying (I wasn’t watching, so I don’t know), obviously that’s an even worse shame.
Anyway, Ghana’s reward is most likely a matchup with defending champion Brazil in the Round of 16.
P.S. Roger: “Damn the referee.”
I couldn’t help but leave a quick post with this nugget:
Serbia is like Nokia: Each year there’s a new model, and it keeps getting smaller.