I think Australia is in mourning, except me that is, we made it to the World Cup for the first time in 30 something years, scored our first goal (and second and third and fourth and fifth) gave Brazil a run for their money, gave Japan a whoopin', stood up to Croatia, and made Italy defend like champions.
i (I have had the benefit of viewing the incident in slo-mo several times from at least two different cameras - the ref had to make up his mind immediately.)
Thierry Henry and Carles Puyol were competing for the ball. Puyol was stronger and got in front of Henry, putting his left arm across Henry's stomach/chest. In my view, robust but legal play. Henry went down, with his hands clutching his face as if he'd be hit in the face. The ref, who was partially unsighted being behind them, blew for a foul. The linesman was also flagging.
Puyol was yellow carded.
Zinadine Zidane took the free kick; Xabi Alonso was unable to head clear and ball went beyond the goal to Patrick Vieira who scored.
Spain 1-2 France.
They have people grading them from the stands, making sure they are strict enough, makes them nervous. Plus the occasion gets to them (World Cup is an even greater occasion than a World Series to many ;) ) - and many of them just aren't very good. There are refs from various countries where standards are, well, variable, but they have to use several nationalities to make sure there's always a neutral one available.
>ENGLAND's massive army of World Cup fans is drinking Germany dry, it emerged yesterday.
>Breweries warned beer could run out before the final because of huge demand from our supporters.
>In Nuremberg, organisers revealed 70,000 England fans who flooded the city drank 1.2MILLION pints of beer - an average of 17 pints each.
>Despite a high level of media coverage for the World Cup soccer tournament, three-fourths of Americans (78%) are not following the action very closely if at all. A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults found that just 6% are following the tournament very closely.
>Nine percent (9%) of men are paying close attention along with 3% of women.
> > Why have the refs gotten more coverage in the games rather than the players. Sounds really bad to me
1. they have issued a record number of yellow and red cards
2. many have been issued for incidents for which players would not expect recieve a card
3. players have caught on to the ease with which yellow cards are issued and and over-reacting to challenges in the hope their opponent will be cautioned
4. referees are under instruction from FIFA to clamp down on foul play - and can not distinguish ot from robust play.
>Instead, blame a smart coach who turned timid at the wrong time and a team that never developed a real sense of urgency.
>Then throw in the bosses at U.S. Soccer who, despite pockets stuffed with cash from Nike and other top-drawer sponsors, failed to find or forge even one difference-making player from a nation of 299 million people.
>Finally, take a turn in front of the mirror.
>The reason the United States is officially "Going, Going, Ghana!" from the World Cup, as one headline put it memorably Thursday, is simple. It still hasn't bothered to learn how to play the world's game :-(
> > It still hasn't bothered to learn how to play the world's game
For some reason, which the rest of the world can't understand, it's not a priority, depsite the huge amount , £££ and $$$ in football around the planet.
The US Marketing people have caught on though I'm sick of those totally naff Budwater ads on the telly either side of the match. "You do the football, we'll do the beer" - well they know nothing about football and probably even less about beer.
I really thought that the US would make a big impression this world cup, but then most of their 1st XI are plying their trade in Europe, not in the US.