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Swiss Defense and Ronaldo

I think it's pretty amazing that Switzerland did not allow a single goal during their entire World Cup (they lost to Ukraine on a PK shootout after drawing 0-0 after 120 minutes of play).

Also, Ronaldo became the World Cup's all-time leading scorer with 15 goals (and counting). Notable is the fact that Brazil has never lost a World Cup game in which Ronaldo has scored. In fact, they have never even tied... the closest they came to not winning when he's scored was in the 98 World Cup against the Netherlands, when the game went to PK shootout at 1-1 after extra time. Brazil ended up winning the shootout 4-2.

So I haven't really said much about the World Cup this time around other than my rant about corporatism and fascist marketing... but there hasn't been as much to cheer for from an American perspective. The US pretty much stank it up after being overhyped. I think I preferred the old way... you know, underhyped and underappreciated, but playing with heart and winning.

Another interesting tidbit is that only seven countries have ever won the World Cup: Argentina, Brazil, Germany (West Germany, actually), England, Uruguay, Italy, and France. And of the eight teams left in this World Cup, 6 have won it before. The only hopes for new blood are Ukraine and Portugal. Poor Uruguay... they haven't won it in more than 50 years. I'm not sure if that's worse than never having won it at all, but I'm pretty sure it is. Like the Cubs.

And on one final note to FIFA: stop threatening the refs that you'll send them home if they don't issue cards. Some refs clearly understood that this directive was meant to ensure that well-deserved cards are fairly issued. But it would seem that about half the refs in the games we've seen so far took that to mean that if they didn't issue some imaginary quota of cards, deserved or not, they would be punished. Duh. In general I don't have any complaints about the officiating (except for Ivanov in the POR-NED game where something like 20 cards were issued and whoever reffed the USA-ITA game), but this cards business is ridiculous. I mean, mistakes get made, but in those games the refs made a mockery of themselves. I mean, some of the refs in our Sunday rec league are better than that. It's sad.

Oh well. Not that the USA game was biased in terms of the officiating... it was equally bad on both sides of the ball. But still bad. And not that the USA would have gotten any different result even with the refs' help... they were just slow to every ball and didn't seem to want it as bad. In the Ghana game, I saw a flash of brilliance when they scored that goal... their only "real" goal of the tournament, and a little bit of go-get-em-ness after that... but other than Kasey Keller's great play in the Italy game that helped salvage one point of pride... it was a pretty flatfooted performance. I thought this team was supposed to be improving, but this is not the USA team that we've been seeing the last decade. Hopefully it was a totally isolated thing and they'll fix what needs to be fixed and move on.