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France vs. Spain


The second half didn't quite keep the pace of the first, but France worked hard to pull two more great goals to book their fight against Brazil. France's tie-breaker was the result of a free kick from Zidane, which popped off Sergio Ramos's leg where Vieira could vault it in. At the closing moments of normal extra time, Zidane ran the ball down past two Spaniards to earn one more beautiful goal.

One of the amazing things about this and Brazil's match today is that the winning teams both had the numbers against them in terms of possession and shots, with both managing to outclass the opposition for three goals each. France and Spain were equal on the field in everything else, both thriving off good defence as well as offense. What really impressed me was how both teams had perfect passes and just about no stumbles, resulting in much of the possession being fought over the hard way. No swashblucking, lazy flourishes from Europe -- it was elegant and concise work all the way through.

There can be no blame here for the Spanish team, as they fought a great match. With time, perhaps in the next World Cup, they might learn to sustain their game to the end and grab better finishes, which were lacking here. As far as a curtain call for this French team goes, I think the win over the much younger Spaniards was well-deserved. They should go out with a bang, and they deserve to have their rematch against Brazil. Zizou's final hours on the field should be so good.

At about 4:30AM, I was going to swear I was starting to see David Seaman-in-style on both sides of the field, possibly proof that late hours are wrecking my brain. I know I didn't mention Casillas in the first half, but he's great to watch, whenever he came into play. The Spanish side have the best looking players in the whole Cup, and perhaps what really started to disturb me was with late enough hours, Casillas was starting to look like Orlando Bloom. After which, I found out he plays for Real, and knowing virtually all the players I like end up in Real Madrid makes me almost want to watch club football. If Real ever fudges at the UEFA Championship, I could support Barça. ;)

Unfortunately, the run of good commentary got shakier in the second half. Commentator was in fact SBS. His English accent dropped when he was excited. You know an SBS commentator when the word "Australia" manages to come into a match that has nothing to do with that country, and most of the commentary involves praising the great refereeing in a fashion that suggests FIFA are usually inept.

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