AHHHHHHHHH!!. What a frustrating spectacle yesterday’s match was. The second-half blackouts were horrible. Thank god the live feed to the “fan zones” weren’t interrupted, though. What would we have done without those shots of random people standing in a park? And Tommy Smyth’s witticisms made it all worthwhile. I could listen to him share his wisdom all day. Thanks Tommy! You fcukng cnut.
Another gripe: does the guy from UEFA handling the boom mike go out of his way to set up his equipment next to a bunch of guys with whistles? Every time there was any sort of challenge whistles went off in the stands, which the audio feed isolated and made very clear. I was sure Lahm’s late winner was whistled dead before he scored. Really irritating.
I was whole-heartedly pulling for Turkey, mainly because of my trip there last year and the work I did with Digiturk, their satellite TV company, on their HD push. Demand for their HD services has been through the roof as a result of the team’s performance. I hear they were burned by the blackout as well. All the people with the expensive new equipment and services must be furious.
Onto the match, and doesn’t Wenger look brilliant in benching Lehman. Not to take anything away from the Turkish goals, but Lehman looked miserable. Coming out at wrong times, unsure, beaten at his near post. Just terrible. Enjoy, Stuttgart.
Lahm’s winner was incredible. Luckily we got to see it during the 10 minute window of live coverage of the second half. Andy Gray had been justifiably riding him (and Klose, as well) right before then, but he showed his quality there. He also showed why I like right-footers in the left back position. If you use your fullbacks in the attack at all, it’s invaluable to have them attacking the goal with their preferred foot. If that chance had fallen to his left foot he is unlikely to have finished it. These guys can all clear with their weaker foot, so I don’t see it as a liability in defense.
Next match coming up today and I can’t wait. I’m still pulling for Spain, since I had picked them from day 1, but I won’t be upset to see Russia go through if they play like they did against Holland. Can Ashkimov live up to the hype he generated in the previous 2 matches? Unlikely, but I’d like to see it. And I wonder if Cesc will get the start? For me, he’s been Spain’s best player outside of a few splashes of brilliance from Villa. Of course, I can also see the wisdom in bringing him off the bench later in the match, as he is able to dictate the tempo of the match better than anyone. Need to attack? Cesc will get it started and keep the ball in the attacking half. Need to hold onto a lead? He’ll hold the ball in midfield and play out to the wings, keeping his defenders from absorbing too much pressure. Need someone to get stuck in and disrupt an opponents flow with some hard tackles? You get the idea. Fabregas is the real deal.
Great article in today’s Globe and Mail (Canada) today about ESPN/ABC’s decision to cover the tournament in its entirety, and what it means in the larger scope of things. Jim Rome can suck it.