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The Ugly Game

Netherlands 0   Spain 1

Nothing can console the sad Dutch fans who saw their lads lose to a more skillful Spanish squad in what was perhaps the ugliest football match of all time….perhaps the ugliest sporting event of all time ((although there are several hockey games that could fall into that category)). Referee Howard Webb appeared as the match commenced to allow the lads to have at it…he didn’t call it close at first…but the game quickly got out of hand. That’s when Webb reigned them in, started calling it tight. That’s the rain of yellow cards began, and pretty soon it was downpour. The Dutch were clearly out finessed by Spain, so they resorted to what they know best….thuggery of the sort that would have given even the Philadelphia Flyers of the 70’s, the nefarious Broad Street Bullies, pause. So the Dutch gooned it up and a record 14yellow cards were handed out, including a red card to John Heitinga for his second yellow card, but no red card was shown to Nigel de Jong for a kick-punch to Xavi Alonso’s ribs worthy of the most brutal and ugly homo-erotic MMA match.

All that said, the strategy almost worked for the Dutch. Arjen Robben had several breakaway chances. But he couldn’t capitalize on the efforts of his goon squad. In the end, it was Andres Iniesta (yes, THAT Andres Iniesta =P) who cashed in on Spain’s finesse. Spain reminded me more of the Edmonton Oilers…a squad of pure skaters with precision passing. Now Iniesta is no Wayne Gretzky, but he came through when it counted, like Gretzky’s lesser known scoring partner, Jari Kurri, with a superbly crafted goal in the 116th minute.

It was an ugly game. And while Spain deserved to win. It was as ugly and terrible as watching 6-3 Cleveland Browns/Buffalo Bills tilt , game 15, in the horrible December of a brutal NFL season.

The consolation game on Saturday was so much better. And some interesting developments from that match are after the break.

The Pride of Uruguay

Despite losing to Germany 3-2, and essentially ending up in 4th place, the Uruguayan fans had reason to celebrate as thei man Diego Forlan won the coveted Golden Ball Award as the Best Player of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Forlan was indeed outstanding. He single-handed put the Uruguayan team on his shoulders and nearly carried them all way to the checkered flag.  Before the World Cup, Forlan was a good, but not great player. Now, I think we can put him among the greats ((if, he can carry on at that level in club football, that is)). To remain among the greats, he’ll need to elevate Atlético Madrid this season from mid-table to the top…put a real challenge to FC Barcelona and Real Madrid….leap over David Villa and give Ronaldo, Higuain, and Messi a run for their goal-scoring money.

But nothing can take away his greatness at the World Cup this year. His play made Uruguay a joy to watch, and it made the consolation match a week ago Saturday, the best match of the 2010 World Cup by far.

PLUS, they’ve made a cartoon show about him!!

Das war fabelhaft!

The Germans were naught without renown or acclaim. Despite a third place finish in the World Cup their young mid-fielder Thomas Mueller won both the Golden Boot Award for being the top scorer in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. While he shared the goals scored leas with Spain’s David Villa and Holland’s Wesley Sneijder, his 3 assists to thier one each but him over the top for scoring. Also, the 20 year old Mueller won the Hyundai Best Young Player Award.

While Iker Casillas took some hardware home for Spain (besides the World Cup, of course) by winning the Golden Glove Award for best goaltending, it seems fitting that the two consolation teams take home the individual accolades. It’s a shame that it wasn’t Germany and Uruguay playing for the World Cup. It’s easy to say that individuals do naught a team make ((I’m talking to YOU, England, Argentina & Brazil)), but it would have been a better world for football had Germany and Uruguay played their match for the World Cup. It would have one for the ages!! It would have been a beautiful game, instead of the ugly game that Spain and Netherlands served up to us last Sunday.

The Carl vs. Bad Brad, part xxx

Motorsports continued, or rather, reprised, a bit of ugliness this weekend at Gateway International raceway in Madison IL. There with the magnificent Gateway Arch as a backdrop, The Carl punted Brad Kesolowski once again, this time to achieve victory. No…scratch that, make that Skeletor punted Mr. Mxyzptlk to achieve victory in the Nationwide Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 Saturday night. And there was wreckage, and others, such as Shelby Howard got caught up in a supervillain feud they had otherwise nothing to do with.

To be honest, as big part of the problem is that The Carl thinks himself as being beyond reproach. How dare a  mere mortal, a little flea, a mischievous imp like Brad Kesolowski get in the way of his self-righteous pursuit of victory!!  That a big part of it…the bigger part is that Bad Brad leads the Nationwide points for the championship by 227 points. It would almost be amusing if The Carl were not so manically self-possessed. It gets ugly and a bit dangerous. Good friends (as pictured above) might even stop speaking to each other. And if Brad’s Dad makes good on his threat to dust of his firesuit and get back in a car and solve things himself, well….it’s never a good thing. It will not solve anything beyond the overall uselessness of start and park rides…Kesolowski Sr. would simply take The Carl and his wreckage back to the paddock with him and give him a good bitch-slapping. Never a wise move when Dads get involved in their son’s careers. I’d much rather see Danica Patrick give The Carl a good bitch-slapping.

Girl Power!!

There is ugliness brewing behind the scenes at JR Motorsports regarding Danica Patrick. Word has it, as reported by Dave McNulty of the Toronto SUN, that the powers that be at JR Motorsports, that is Kelley Earnhardt and perhaps, Junior himself, would like to see Danica devote more time to NASCAR….in fact they’d like her to go fulltime and give up IRL.

Hmmm. Very curious, that. After all, they KNEW goin in that she was signed to Andretti Autosports for the next 2 years beyond this one, yes? They knew, and everyone knew, that switching to NASCAR would involve a massive a learning curve, right? Her sponsor surely knows what at stake since he’s ponying up the cash for both rides, and trust me, he’s getting mileage out this in any case.

So what the fock is up with the Earnhardt siblings anyway. Surely they KNEW this going in to it. It was all planned out and choreographed so when the curtain went up and the music began to play, everything was blocked out and the actors and dancers know their marks, and so? The had the big announcement show on SPEED with Kelley and Junior and Bob Parsons from go GoDaddy which was the lamest and most vaguely uncomfortable sports show until the recent LaBron James’ THE MUTHA-FUCKIN’ DECISION fiasco.  They all KNEW what was the fock about this.

And yet, suddenly, it’s big dilemma that Danica races in the IRL. She pulled out a 6th place finish at Toronto this afternoon crossing finish line just about 7 days exactly (give or take and hour or so) from the moment when Andres Iniesta ripped the heart out of Holland. Her IRL season is showing improvement, ((that is, it’s become a bit less ugly)) especially on a road course. Her Andretti Autosports teams did well, getting 4 of the the top 10 spots. Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay finished 3rd and 4th, and Marco Andretti came home 8th. Will Power, who got his 4th win of the season seems like an unstoppable force, but Dario is still breathing down his neck. Everyone wants to ooh and ahh over Graham Rahal’s 5th pace finish…but the finish that was more remarkable today was Simona De Silvestro who finished 9th, capturing her first top 10 of her rookie season.

F1 Fans — Santander British Gran Prix 2010, Silverstone Curcuit, Towcester, Northamptonshire

The feud is on at Red Bull. I called this shot from the outset, and now it is full-blown on. Kohai, Mark Webber, is pretty much kicking Senpai, Sebastian Vettel’s ass. He blew the doors off of Vettel’s Red Bull Renault on the first freakin’ lap of the British Gran Prix and drove off into the sunset with a win that still leaves him short of Hamilton and Button at the top the table, but well within reach.

Evidently this is not the scenario that the Red Bull brass envisioned. As I’ve alluded to, Webber was supposed to play second fiddle to Vettel…defer to the young German who was meant to be the leader of the team….just as Hamilton is the leader of the team at MacLaren ((well…technically since Button is the defending champ…but I digress….)). Webber, despite winning keeps getting the secondary equipment. The best stuff, like a new developmental wing, goes to Vettel. Webber says he would never have signed a contract extension with Red Bull if he’d known it would be this way. And yet, Webber keeps winning.  The best revenge I suppose. Scoreboard!!

But Red Bull is on the verge of becoming a team in disarray, a team that will be an also ran to MacLaren when all is said and done. Despite the fact that I am, unequivocally a Lewis Hamilton fan, it’s shame since Red Bull has brought a LOT of excitement and raw speed to F1 this season. New faces on the podium and ant the top of the table keep it interesting. And if Hamilton and Button have to work harder, then all the better for the sport. But it could get very ugly over at Red Bull. Very ugly indeed.

Tudo o que aconteceu ao Jogo Bonito?

Brazil used to play the Beautiful Game…Pele, Gerson, Carlos Alberto Torres, and all the rest. Beautfiul thrilling football. As Briazilians say, “Os ingleses o inventaram, os brasileiros o aperfeiçoaram“. But those days are gone, and once again The Seleção were boosted from the World Cup, this time in the quarterfinals to the Dutch. They stopped playing the beautiful game, and brought a more methodically, almost Germanic style of play ((ironic, since Germany these days plays a better, more beautiful game than the Brazilians)). They will have new coach since Dunga was fired as son as the team returned to Brazil. Dunga, who was hero of the 1994 World Cup was hired after the Carlos Alberto Parreira
fiasco in the 2006 World Cup where despite Kaka, Ronaldo, Adriano and Ronaldhino, they failed to escape the quarterfinals, losing to that famous head-butter Zenedine Zedane and the fackin’ Frenchies 1-0. Parreira was fired and on came Dunga. And now the Dutch boost them out and Dunga gets fired.

Well, The Seleção have 4 years to get this straightened out, to bring some beauty back to the game that a lot of the world and Brazil, perhaps mistakenly, think is their game. Since the 2014 will be held in Brazil, they wont have to worry about qualifying.  The have 4 years to get ready to put on a show.

Not that I want them to win it all, or anything. But like Diego Maradona, beautiful football from Brazil makes it all more interesting and entertaining. So get with it  Seleção! If you perfected the beautiful game, then you better know your lines and stop bumping into the furniture.

Santa Hates Ball Jointed Dolls

Finally, for those keeping score at home, the Dairyland BJD Summer Meetup was held this Saturday at the Knights Of Columbus Hall in Fitchburg WI. Paid attendance was 70, actual attendance was 61. A very large group by doll hobby standards. The Summer Meet was a great success. And it was nice to have Santa Claus attend this year, despite his being a part of the Anti-Resin contingent, despite the fact that Santa Claus hates BJDs.

So there’s a little bit of beauty to be found in the general ugliness of things. A world of dolls would be a nice thing, as would a world of beautiful football. But please no wagering on that. Take it all in while and when you can.

And if you can guess which of the dolls pictured above are mine, I will buy you a drink of your choice at THE FIREHOUSE in wonderful downtown Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

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