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England vs. Portugal

Back in 2002, I remember watching David Beckham take a flurry of shin injuries, wander off field for his anesthetics and run back into the fight. That was the image that stuck in my head about the English team. They were always willing to get back up and fight. And in a match where I must say the Portuguese were not lacking in tragic falls, and especially in the situation England found themselves in for the last hour of the game, this particular fighting spirit has just stuck to my brain. I know I'm not the best fan of the English soccer team any day, but I admire what they've done here. They have played very hard, the best they've done in this World Cup, and defended themselves against 11 men under exhausting circumstances.

I am of the opinion Rooney did bring his red card upon himself. The two man grab resulting in Carvalho's groin kick didn't look pretty. The other thing I do remember about the English, apart from [insert judicious mention of David Seaman here], is their penchance for physical games.

That all said, this match just about put me to sleep for the first 100 minutes. I spent all 121 regulation minutes including extra time hoping someone would score already, because it was really long, and again, for the first 100 minutes, two well-matched teams who otherwise hadn't much chemistry between them. History, I'm told, very much so. But chemistry, no.

Nonetheless, I have a real admiration for goalkeepers on both sides. Compared to the unfortunate circumstances that took out Roberto Abbondanzieri from Argentina's match yesterday, the two goalkeepers left at the post for the penalty shootout today were equally matched. A combination of luck and skill allowed Ricardo to have the upper hand in the end. Another thing that did stick to me about the match regarding Ricardo was his doubled save during the first half, where he swung from end to end of the net to make two excellent saves within seconds.

Whatever else the English fans have been known to do outside of matches, they have great spirit. Their voices were amazing echoing through the stadium.

And so, we have Brazil. Good heavens, someone better play something interesting soon, and it might as well be Brazil.

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