The World Cup Links the World, So We Steal

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Instead of writing a lot, I’m just going to steal some content to try and brighten your Monday morning. Here goes….

The US mounted a stirring comeback against Slovenia, yet a third goal by the Yanks was incorrectly(?) called back. Alan Jacobs at Run of Play argues that referees are weak – they prefer to rule out goals in close calls rather than vice versa. Why this presumption? Well, an allowed goal leads to cries of bias, while an incorrect call leads to shouts of incompetence. Presumably, they prefer to be incompetent than biased. T, meanwhile, makes the case for instant replay. However, given the clusterf@ck environment of setpieces, I think this would give ref’s too much cherry-picking discretion and/or take way too long. Just long enough for a Bud light lime commercial. And a Ford Focus commercial.

Brian, Santi, and I all respectfully disagree.

Geoff Shandler at the New Republic has insightfully articulated exactly why both Alexi Lalas and John Harkes fail at match commentary. Rather than allow their comments to ebb and flow with a game’s natural rhythm, they fill natural pauses with inane chit-chat. And the chit-chat states the obvious.

Zonal Marking explains just exactly why France lost the tactical battle to Mexico. Then, Unprofessional Foul carefully details all of the troubles off the pitch for Les Bleus. The rap sheet is a mile long and makes the parents of Jon Benet Ramsey look innocent. Brooks of Tackle Sucio fame has tracked down amusing videos of the Patrice Evra-trainer spat and the “no training protest.”

Finally, while Brian celebrated the Switzerland defeat of Spain, Santapelota has an excellent take on the changes in store for the Furia Roja. Basically, the two holding midfielders will be reduced to one, with Xabi Alonso shielding the back line and Cesc and Xavi with license to roam. Oh, goody.

Meanwhile, with Nicolas Anelka sent home and John Terry inciting a Capello mutiny (which was quashed), the Chelsea squad continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. Also, the NYTimes has identified another possible factor in underachieving European sides – the “Nike commercial” curse. What’s the rub? Not one of the players has performed well in the slightest.

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