2006 HWCI World Cup Pool Update
 
[The Best Musical Ever!  Les Mis Returns to Broadway October 22, 2006 for a Limited Time]
 

World Cup Champion

[Italian Republic (ITA) Flag][Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC) Shield]

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[Italy Wins 4th Title - Link to Federation]
Italian Republic
4th World Cup Title

(5-0-2)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Issue # 19.5.4 "Paris at my Feet, Paris in the Dust (from Les MisÚrables)"
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CLASSIC FRENCH FAILURE
Final thoughts based on the great musical "Les Miserables"

CERRITOS, CA (smt) -- Such a tragic ending for the French.  Tragedy and the French (and surender) seem to go hand and hand.  So here are some final thoughts on the WC and the pool based on lyrics from the best musical ever, Les MisÚrables.  Thanks to everyone for their participation in this pool and I hope everyone had fun (while it lasted) and if there's interest in Euro 2008, let me know...

WHAT HAVE I DONE, SWEET JESUS, WHAT HAVE I DONE:  FRA's Zinedine ZIDANE's inexplicable headbutt to ITA's Marco MATERAZZI was surreal to see and tainted a great career (though, like 2002, was awarded FIFA's Golden Boot for outstanding player despite his team losing (GER's GK Oliver KAHN won in Korea/Japan despite giving up 2 goals to BRA in the Final)... you know it's bad when there's already a Flash game made of the incident... AUS' Lucas NEILL's unnecessary slide tackle in the box allowed ITA's Fabio GROSSO's to trip over him giving ITA the game-winning PK... ENG's Wayne ROONEY's slight kick to the groin of POR's Ricardo CARVALHO in the quarters put ENG, who lost in PKs, down a man for almost an hour...

EVERYBODY RAISE A GLASS TER THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE Germany pulled off an amazing WC and the only things they couldn't control, the refs and the weather, marred the event... nearly a million fans watched the GER 3rd Place match outside in Berlin... as a bonus, the host team outdid most of their countrymen's expectations taking 3rd place (its 10th top 3 finish)...

AND SO... YOU SEE IT'S TRUE, THAT MAN BEARS NO MORE GUILT THAN YOU:  Portugal's skill and success was marred by the constant diving, especially from Christiano RONALDO who tried to get a make up call in the FRA match by falling forward before the ball got to him in the box... the African player who was at least two feet away from the nearest player that fell in the box was funny to watch (they need to learn from the Portuguese)... according to the subjective Information Builder's website, ITA led with the most dives with POR in second...

RED - A WORLD ABOUT TO DAWN:  South Africa is slated to carry the torch in 2010... if it can keep it... GER & ARG look poised (BRA always is) to be one of the favorites of 2010 while FRA and ESP may be rebuilding... young guns such as ARG's Lionel MESSI and GER's Lukas PODOLSKI will entertain in South Africa...

BLACK - THE NIGHT THAT ENDS AT LAST:  What do we do now?... 25 days with 64 matches are now over.... no more early mornings... another four years we have to wait for the "best" USA team ever...

WE'LL FIGHT LIKE 20 ARMIES AND WE WON'T GIVE UP:  ITA not only did not let the match-fixing scandal and attempted suicide from a former teammate distract them, ITA rallied from their first deficit in the final to beat FRA... it was ITA's 25th straight match without a loss...  Ivory Coast had the biggest comeback, scoring the last three goals to beat Serbia & Montenegro, 3-2... the USA fought brilliantly with just nine men (vs ITA's 10)... just 16 of the 57 teams who gave up the first goal rallied to tie (after OT) or win...

STARS IN MULTITUDES, SCARCE TO BE COUNTED, FILLING THE DARKNESS:  A lot of good goals amidst the cards and diving... ENG's Joe COLE's blast (vs SWE) after settling the ball off his chest is my vote for the best of the tourney... ARG's Maxi RODRIGUEZ's similar blast a little closer up was more critical, coming in OT v MEX... BRA's RONALDO duking the GHA GK was a classic for a (fat) legend... and great saves as well, most notably, POR's RICARDO's touch save on ZIDANE's header in OT in the final...

LISTEN TO ME.  THERE IS SOMETHING I MUST DO:  FIFA is talking rule changes... what could change?... I'm okay with a second yellow card (and thus a red card) for diving, delay of game, or dissent (because a player gets two chances), but let's not suspend the player for the next game as well unless both yellows came during the run of play (except diving)... let's review dives with the obvious ones (of the Christiano RONALDO variety, not the Thierry HENRY (v POR) kind) getting yellow cards (applied to next match) and/or steep fines after the fact (you could have a rotating 3-judge panel- unanimous decision needed)... change to suspend if yellow cards in consecutive matches (instead of two in the first three)... with bigger GKs, you need bigger goals- maybe 6 inches on each side and 3-6 inches higher... keep offsides as is, just enforce the "tie goes to the offensive player"... allow 1-2 subs for overtime and/or reduce the players to 9 or 10 men on each side to open up the spacing... and bring back the Golden Goal you wimpy Europeans!!!...

CRYING AT ALL IS NOT ALLOWED, NOT IN MY CASTLE ON THE CLOUD:  The emotions of highs and lows of the WC are great to see (e.g., ENG's David BECKHAM coming out of his last match)... of course, the USA was in la-la land not even knowing it was really over (according to Landon) and little disappointment was shown...

THERE'S A GRIEF THAT CAN'T BE SPOKEN, THERE'S A PAIN GOES ON AND ON:  Warner L (AS VAFFACULA), who picked ITA to win it all, is kicking himself for picking SUI and SWE into the Quarterfinals - had he picked FRA (like 34 others) he'd be in the money and $110 richer...  others fell short for "what might have been"... Lisa M's fun second pick (MIREAL) bit it early, often, and hard...

HAVE YOU ASKED OF YOURSELVES, WHAT'S THE PRICE YOU MIGHT PAY?:  Seven entered twice and all seven soon had at least one entry eliminated soon after the Round of 16 started... Scott T (FUTBAL FABONE) was the only one to finish in the money and was the only one with a chance going into the final weekend...

RAISE THE FLAG OF FREEDOM HIGH, EVERY MAN WILL BE A KING:  Or in this case, every woman will be a queen... congrats to Cynthia R (ELASTIGIRL) for whipping the competition by a record 20 points.... and to Marco R (NICO) who roared from 21st to 2nd in three matches... and to David F (THE MIGHTY MOBELFAKTA), who still may not like soccer and can't be bought off... and to myself (FUTBAL FABONE) for falling from 2nd to 4th thanks to ITA's ignoring their federation and clubs are in trouble to win it all...

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Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night...
Scott


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