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Winners and Losers Day 10: Mutiny on the Bounty

June 20, 2010

Today’s most interesting stories came off the pitch, with France edging toward full on anarchy and John Terry trying to press England towards revolution. But there were games, at least so I’m told. Most of them were boring enough to send me into a doze, so I can’t be quite sure that they actually happened. However I’ve pieced the fragments of wakefulness together and managed to come up with today’s winners and losers.

Winners:

Luis Fabiano– He broke his recent goal scoring drought in spectacular fashion, scoring his first World Cup goals, and what a pair of beauties they were. The first was pure power, driven over the head of the Ivorian keeper, while the second involved two handballs, but was still gorgeous as he popped the ball over the heads of two Ivorian defenders on his way to bringing it down and slotting it home. A great display from Fabiano.

New Zealand– A historic result for the All Whites, their draw against Italy started with a bang. A goal 7 minutes in gave the Kiwis a lead they surely didn’t expect. Sadly, the conceded penalty allowed the Italians to equalize, but the Kiwis showed grit and discipline, defended in numbers, and held on to the result to the very. Now, a team expected to be embarrassed and pointless, has two points from two games.

Paraguay– They simply overpowered and outclassed their opponents. In other words, they gave Italy a lesson on how things should look when you’re the team heavily favored to win. With 4 points they sit atop group E, firmly in control of their destiny with New Zealand their final opponent.

Portugal- With the Ivory Coast losing to Brazil, it clears the way for Portugal. Assuming, of course, that they manage to beat North Korea tomorrow. Not to mention the fact that the Ivorians did them a favor by removing Kaka from the equation.

Losers:

Kaka– Yeah, it wasn’t really a horrible thing he did, but getting sent off never puts you in the winner’s column. The whole game seemed churlish and childish, and the incident at the center of Kaka’s second yellow card epitomized it. It was senseless, stupid, and classless on all sides.

Marcello Lippi– So an extremely experienced coach, who was won a few honors during his career, decides to play with two strikers against a three man defense? He does realized that a three man defense is tailor made specifically for two strikers, right? I mean surely. But its New Zealand, they can’t pose much of a threat can they?

France– This World Cup has descended to the level of farce for the French. The whole situation is absolutely shameful, and the only person who has emerged from it looking sensible is Jean Louis Valentin, who was so fed up and disgusted with the situation that he quit. The players, the coaches, and theFFF have all handled things very poorly both during, and leading up to this World Cup. Surely Laurent Blanc must be having second thoughts about taking on the job at this point.

John Terry– The former England captain tried to play the hero today at his press conference, telling the press how he demanded the players be allowed to have a beer, and how he was planning to question Capello that very night about his tactics. But that didn’t go down very well with either the press or his teammates. He broke the solidarity of the England camp by airing his views in public, and has probably made himself more of a public pariah than he already was. You have to imagine that if Fabio Capello weren’t lacking Ledley King, Rio Ferdinand, and Jamie Carragher in a must win game, John Terry would find himself a forlorn figure on the bench. As luck would have it, though, he is almost certain to be on the pitch. It should be an interesting few days before then.

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