Well done, Thierry Henry, welcome to the band of thieves!
Watched the game with son and family. He had filled the house with banners, balloons and cold beers and DG made a cake with the flag of St. George picked out in strawberries. Fun with frustration - let's face it, we didn't deserve it.
Now that I’ve cooled down and can reflect dispassionately on the World Cup 2006 competition, I remember saying in an early post that I was worried that the Adidas beach-ball and poor refereeing might go some way to spoiling the competition. The ball is certainly playing its part – look at some of the better goals scored in previous competitions and ask if they would have been possible with this ball. As former England mid-fielder John Barnes so truly predicted: ‘there could be lots of misplaced passes and high and wide shots’. (Can be tough if most of your goals have to come from mid-field.)
But the real disaster is the refereeing. The odd game sticks in your mind because it was well refereed – it used to be the bad ones you remembered. And the control of the refs by the fools in FIFA: referees were instructed not to penalise diving – the simulation of injury with the objective of having an opponent yellow-carded or sent off. The result was that simulation became the norm, and the disgraceful histrionics, not only of the old hands at the game like Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelroy and most of the Italian team, went not only unpunished, but were rewarded. Even a formerly honest craftsman like Thierry Henry entered himself for the footballing Oscars, clutching his face like Claude Rains in Phantom of the Opera when nudged gently in the rib cage. (Not only was Henry’s performance rewarded with the carding of the opponent, but it won the free kick which put France 2-1 up.) Well done, Thierry – see you at the Cannes Film Festival.
As there is no evidence that Rooney stepped on Carvalho’s cobblers, (which I can only think, recalling the time Carvalho held the Arsenal goalie in a full nelson so that John Terry could head into an empty net, is a pity), he should not have been sent off for restraining the kibitzing Ronaldo when the referee failed to do so. Stupid, yes, but if stupidity were a red card offence our football grounds would be almost empty.
Matches covered by the BBC are better commentated and better analysed than those covered by ITV – and of course we are spared this new low in short commercials. And Yorkshireman Mick McCarthy, even to a northerner like me, is barely comprehensible. What would you make of ‘T’ref turned a blind ‘un’?*
But, best of all, now that Sven has gone into wealthy retirement and the McBrat is out of Wimbledon, we can enjoy the World Cup and Wimbledon as football and tennis competitions and not as holy wars.
* - The referee turned a blind eye.