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My (World) Cup runneth over … PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, June 28, 2014 8:10 PM

By JIM METCALFE

Sports Editor

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Oh so close — and yet so far away.

I refer to the United States of America World Cup team being ever-so-close to beating Portugal and clinching the quarterfinals.

I watched most of the match Sunday and wonder about Portugal’s first goal.

With more than a few off-sides calls during the preliminary round — in my most humble but correct opinion (along with those of the ESPN analysts!), non-existent infractions, to say the least — nullifying goals, should it have counted because it seemed that a couple of their guys were off-sides, numbers 23 and 17 in particular?

That is one of the rules of soccer — futbol to the rest of the world — that is hard to understand for most of us laymen/women, so I guess I will give the men in black — or blue as the case may be in this situation — the benefit of the doubt.

As well the commentators on ESPN did not say anything about that and instead put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the American defenders, so I will agree with that.

They know the game a lot better than I do, which never stopped me from giving an opinion before …

Other than that, it was a great — shall I write beautiful? — game.

The Americans did what they had to do to advance after that and came within 30 seconds of stoppage time of winning.

Then the defense had another brain fart — they didn’t have many but the two they did were costly! — and let Cristiano Ronaldo — only the reigning World Player of the Year — get open for a split second and —- well, the rest is history.

By the time you read this — if you do so after work — we will know if the USA beat, tied or lost to Germany in their final opening-round matchup.

Here’s hoping that they win but if they can tie or at least not get blown out and Portugal/Ghana tie or Portugal win by a slim margin, they have a chance.

I just doomed the Americans!

Speaking of officiating in the 2014 Cup, it seems as if it is as “bad” as ever, with the alleged match-fixing and the like.

With the moolah and prestige on the line in this once-every-4-years showcase, that is almost to be expected.

I still have a pet peeve about the flopping — I love the guy that gets breathed on wrong and acts as if he was shot by a bazooka.

However, when you think of all the things that can go on during a soccer match, with every whistle met by boos, cat-calls and fans hoping to have a red card and/or death sentence delivered to the offending player/team (of course, “their” guys are as pure as the wind-driven snow!) and with all the acting and weeping and gnashing of teeth that goes on by the players, is it any wonder they get anything right?

It doesn’t help that every play is captured by umpteen thousand cameras and incessant replays.

For the most part, I think the refs do a good job — though I would like to see more cards handed out on the “Oscar-worthy” performances (or perhaps that should be not-Oscar-worthy) as they are supposed to.

Remember, they have the head referee and his two assistants that have to police this — whatever your view — “beautiful game” or mayhem.

In American football, we have seven officials to police 22 guys and look how much is missed.

I don’t want to jump on the chorus of venom regarding “The Biter” (Uruguayan star Luis Suarez) who “allegedly” bit the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini — but it was pretty obvious he wasn’t whispering “sweet nothings” into Chiellini’s ear.

I guess I will.

He has done this three times.

That is two times too many.

I agree with more than one commentator who observed he should be banned for life but that is likely not going to be the case.

 

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