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Brazil vs. Ghana

If any team deserved a goal against Brazil, it would be Ghana. They worked so hard. They played so well. And though the African style of play hasn't been known for its gentility, I'd say this was one of best shows of great sportsmanship on both sides. Everyone helped everyone else when they fell. Everyone patted everyone else on the back. Best example of this: Dida falling all over the ball and a Ghanaian falling all over him. Dida got himself whacked in the shin in a piece of really brave goalkeeping (could've been worse -- he was that close to getting whacked in the face). But, pat on the head (funny thing I noticed, the Ghanaians are big on patting people over the head), smiles all around, and no hard feelings. It's things like this that I believe highlight the true meaning of "Making Friends."

Speaking of Dida, he is quite the understated goalkeeper, considering the reputation of his team. Just-in-time defending by Lucio, Juan and Ze Roberto in past games have mostly left him without work, but he's a brick about those balls that just manage to slip past. He's a brave goalie, and with such a strong attacking team this time around, he defended the ball with his life. Because Ghana were capable of so many attacks, Brazil had to play a defensive game in all. Brazillian defense cannot be faulted in this game - the whole team pulled together to protect their side in a great way. Ghana, for their part, are as good defenders as they are attackers too. If only they had the aim, they would've been a much more dangerous adversary, and this isn't saying they weren't that already. Much good things to be said about the Ghanaian goalkeeper, Kingson, as well. Didn't get to do much, thanks to his team's constant offensive, but he was just as good as the other side.

So, second half, third goal for Brazil and another contentious goal at that. A truly solid, on-side run by Ze Roberto right down the field, flicking the ball over the shoulder of the goalkeeper in a totally camera-worthy manner, before running past said goalkeeper and into the goal. Where it gets contentious is that Ze Roberto's stylish kick was also a high kick. It's stylish, yet potentially dangerous (didn't hit anyone in the face, but the point of these rules is that it could have). Yet stylish. My inner style-fan wars with itself. But, oh yeah, so much style.

And then there is the total Ronaldinho cam-friendly pass, which is so Ronaldinho it makes me squeal. Why? Because it is not really a Brazillian game unless Ronaldinho does one of these right leg-left leg-oop right leg-back flick passes they have to slo-mo to make proper sense of. Or, for that matter, unless Roberto Carlos does another one of his patented Trying for Goal from 3/4ths of the Field Away in the Brazillian Side. (I don't think he's ever managed one yet, but I could be wrong, since it's not as though he hasn't stopped trying.) His goal-hitting record is currently 25 yards. I could be mistaken also, but Ronaldinho's record is something like 23 yards? You could say I am happy to watch Brazil. :)

Brazil have definitely been adopting an interesting strategy for this World Cup, focused as they are on demonstrating the full range of their team, including the substitutes. Carlos Alberto Parreira has gone on record to say, "There is no such thing as a substitute in my team I have 23 players available, thanks be to God," and he means it. The pace of their game has also been gaining speed across matches, with the recently concluded game pretty close to what they were in 2002.

Do I think Brazil deserved three goals? No, they could've probably won just fine on one. Do I think Ghana deserved a goal? Yes, in a lot of ways, they did. They couldn't, and this is no fault of either Brazil's or the referee's, but it would've made the game if they did. Compared with Italy's use of 10 men in the second half, Ghana were still racking up the ball possession and shot counts after losing their man. They actually outdid Brazil, the good version of Brazil. I'm saying again that Ghana is such a cool team. It's probably a pity they had to play Brazil now rather than later, since they would've beaten the stuffing out of almost any one of the other teams we've seen step up to the plate in the Second Round (barring Argentina, who are another kind of worship). It would've been so cool if they made it to the Semis. But like Senegal in 2002 (and unlike Senegal -- Ghana plays a clean game), they are going home proud, and they have a good chance of returning for the next one.

And the really great part? The stadium chanting Ghana's name alongside the world champions' in well-deserved applause during the second half.

SBS Commentator Worms:

1) He did, at one point, describe himself as a "neutral party" when disputing Adriano's offside goal. <- *points and laffs*
2) The second half was spent pointing out Brazil did not deserve Adriano's goal. I don't disagree, but it wasn't as though there weren't other things to do than be a broken record about it.
3) Wanked for about ten minutes about Australia's game against Brazil, and comparing the Australians with the Ghanaians (hopefully that's the correct term). Australia may have played a solid game on their part, but I mock these attempts to compare the style, zest, good sportsmanship and goodwill of this wonderful African team to them. This is a completely different kind of game and a completely different level of team.

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
dame_ningen
Jun. 28th, 2006 12:41 am (UTC)
They won't have to return seeing as the next cup is being played in South Africa.
Should be really interesting to see how they do with a bit of homeside support.
I would LOVE to see an African team win the cup!
vampyrichamster
Jun. 28th, 2006 04:39 am (UTC)
*nodnod* It would be something to see the African continent push to the finals. Maybe homeside support will boost them in the next one!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )