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Australia vs. Crotia

I should probably make clear right now that I started watching this match with a gigantic sneer. I credit globalization. This has been a World Cup of mass migrations. Dual-citizenship is just one of those topics that gets absolutely no sympathy from me. So finding out that three Crotian players were technically Australian and seven Australians were technically Croatian just made me horribly ill-humored.

Game-wise, this is a technically interesting match. Both teams are physical teams of the shirt-pulling, leg-kicking, leapfrogging variety (maybe it's a Croatian thing?). Both teams are capable of aggressive attacks, and aren't afraid to use it. Unlike in matches against their group mates, both teams will also be similarly-sized, so we won't have that problem of tiny Asians or South Americans vs. gigantic Caucasian types. Watching the first half, I'm tempted to say it was rather a match of brute force vs. skill. Australia, however higher its ball possession (that wasn't a pun, but they do have balls) and however high the shot count, were simply no more able to produce a goal without a clear field than Croatia was (and I'm getting to them in a minute). I know the shot count says Australians 8, Crotians 2, but one has to remember for all their 2 shots, Crotia hit one home. Croatia too, Prso is a terrible shot.

Second half, much more interesting. Quite the comedy of errors. Croatia's second goal by N. Kovac kind of fell out of Kalac's hands. There were those handballs, also by Croatia. The two red cards, including Simunic's two red cards for just not leaving the field the first time. Pletikosa, man, what a goalie. Saved a lot of great shots, saved a great shot by Kewell, I believe, fell flat on his face and got himself flattened some more by two Australians in his own goal. Australia deserved it's second goal even by sheer execution. I'm going to say this again, Crotia is still the more skilled team here, but the Australians do play a consistently determined game. And so, they face Italy.

I take this brief moment to remind everyone the SBS commentator jock still annoys me in annoying commentator jock ways. And the booing crowd stuff is still bad form. Now when in the bloody hell will they show Brazil vs. Japan?! I want to see Brazil score three and Japan squeeze one!

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Comments

mokie
Jun. 25th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
Re: This will be kind of long...and probably quite strongly worded. I apologize in advance.
Far simpler view of things: it's the World Cup. It's very much about the nationalism, in that it's nation vs. nation, each team representing their people. When players are no longer representing their people but instead are representing whoever will pay them, the game loses context.

As you are against nationalism, this may be no great loss to you--it's still good fun to watch. Others point to that loss of context and how it seems to go against the spirit of the game--to them, it's supposed to be the freakin' World Cup already.

One can support ethnic variety, one can be a resident of more than one country, and still think it's a bit unsportsmanly when a player is in it for the paycheck instead of the people.