Tuesday, June 15, 2010
We saw the far ends of the spectrum today. This morning's Portugal-Ivory Coast match was, on the Portugal side, a classic display of Portuguese floppery. Come within an inch of Ronaldo's cleat and he's rolling around grasping his "horrific shin injury," as The Onion put it.
Ivory Coast wasn't near as bad, but they were about at average among teams in the tournament. Some dives, plenty acting, nothing too blubbery.
And then there's the North Korea-Brazil match. This one's a clinic in the best of the game. Hard work, struggling through contact and even trips to stay upright and chase down the ball, more hard work. It's a physical match, but the players are helping each other up after knocking each other down.
Watching Cristiano Ronaldo play, you can see why lots of people in the US have only disdain for soccer. They're wrong, of course, but you can see it. But watching Brazil and N. Korea, you want to hold this match up as an example of what's so great about the sport. This, and I'm only at halftime, tied at nil. (Yeah, I got the DVR now.)
One other thing: TOTALLY impressed by this N. Korea side. Disciplined of course, but also quick, tough, tight on defense and seemingly explosive on offense. Great match so far.
Later: Final score Brazil 2-1. The PRK got deflated and complacent after Brazil scored their second, but late in the match regained their spark to apply legitimate pressure and punch in a gorgeous goal. Great match. And the sportsmanship persisted to the end.