Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Racist Spain Lose Again to France

No country is perfect, but then again, not every country has a head coach who can call a black player 'black shit' and get away with it - even receive not-so-thinly-veiled approval for it. Spain is that country, with their leading man being Aragones.

We told you about Aragones, here. Though we'd like to believe this game of France vs. Spain was a match of good vs. evil, modernity vs. barbarity, multiculturalism vs. racism - it was more just a good soccer match. There were racial overtones, of course, with most/all of the Spanish players being white-ish, and most of the French players being black, but if anything it turned into a moral lesson for all who watched - what goes around comes around.

About midway through the first half, a French defender made contact with a Spanish offensive player in the French penalty area - the Spaniard dove to the ground, as could be expected of any national team without honor. The Spaniards scored the penalty and probably felt confident. The French managed to equalize on a brilliant goal before half, and the stage was set for the moral lesson to play out for all of us in the second half.

The picture is of the racist Spanish coach, Aragones, as he argues with the referee - possibly about a call where Henry did a little playacting to get a call of his own - late in the game, and not in the penalty area. He may have been fouled, as the Spanish player may have been fouled, but what is certain is that he did some playacting, as did his Spanish predecessor. Henry decided to show the Spaniards that 'what comes around goes around'. France were awarded a free kick about 35 yards out, which Zidane took, and within a few more touches was in the back of the Spanish net.

We like to think that Aragones' racism and the Spanish players', fans', and federation's seeming approval of that racism is what offered the French some karma with which to work.

The moral of the story? If you want to reach the World Cup quarterfinals and not exit the tournament early to face violence in the streets from fellow racists, don't be a racist in the first place.

This World Cup thus far has been a disaster for Team USA and for decency and honor and the game of soccer, in general, but this result was the right one. All is now well in the world. Good thing the referee wasn't black, else we could have *really* had fireworks from the racist Spaniards.

UPDATE: ESPN exposé on Euro racism, including Aragones:

UPDATE: Racists taunted French before match.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Red Bull New York - What a Joke

I don't care about how bad the team is, but to name a professional sports team after a soft/speed drink? I thought I must've misunderstood something I'd heard. Apparently not. Apparently, the MLS really does have a team named the 'Red Bulls'. I kid you not.

What's next? The Atlanta Cokes? The Purchase (NY) Pepsis? Hilarious. Outrageous. No wonder we were laughed out of the World Cup.

At least the team is named 'Bulls' as opposed to the more typically ridiculous MLS soccer team names like the 'gizmos' or the 'daisies' or whatever.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Italy Cheats Again in The Diving Game

First, it was Holland in The Crying Game, now we have Italy in The Diving Game. Against the US, Italy were on the ground more than they were on their feet, but that was to be expected, and the ref gave them every single call for every single dive, but that was against the lowly Americans - against Australia we expected the Italians to be treated a little less favorably, or Australia to be treated a little more favorably than were the Americans - it didn't happen.

Italy dove their way into the quarterfinals today, with a last-seconds dive in the penalty box of Australia. Shameful, but it's what the world expects from Italy, so nobody is too surprised. We can only hope that they all go to jail in the match-fixing scandal back in their home country. Maybe the ref is part of that match-fixing scandal, too? Just asking.

This article sums it up pretty well:

90 minutes in 90 words

The Aussies control possession with little joy while the Azzuri play route one football. The complexion of the match is defaced when Materazzi is sent off Dirty Harry style in 51st for lunging into Bresciano. Chipperfield hits an excellent shot on the turn in the 59th but the Aussies can't find the net. In the 93rd Grosso waltzes past one challenge before Neill falls at his feet letting the Italian dive spectacularly for the penalty. With the last kick of the game, Francesco Totti sends the Aussies back down under.


Grosso for maintaining the cliché about Italian players with his swan’s dive in the box.


Totti for then ensuring injustice was done by stroking the penalty home.

What have we learned?

That the old Italian rule of comedy football, if in doubt fall over, can still be made to work.

Another loss for this World Cup, for soccer, for sportsmanship, in general, for the noble idea that honor and decency means something, and being good and moral will get one ahead in this world.

UPDATE: San Jose Mercury News says 'Diving is Cheating and Diminishes Sport'. But that's not the best part - check out this insanely funny, top-secret training video of the Italian national team (well, it might as well be):

There are other montages that are hysterical. Those set to that final song in Platoon where what's his name is getting chased and gunned down by the Viet Cong. Another set to Chumbawumba's "I get knocked down". Too frickin funny.

Netherlands Cry Way Through Loss - Joga Bonito? No.

It was a pathetic sight. If I see one more Dutchman cry I'm going to be ill. What you won't find in the picture galleries of today's Portugal vs. Crybabies/Holland match is all of the whining and crying that Dutch players entertained us with whenever they didn't get their way on the pitch - which was often. You won't see them grimacing and dissenting and crying and whining and stomping their feet and tugging and pulling and complaining and breaking almost every rule of the game. This was certainly a travesty today, and it was the players who were most responsible, followed by the coaches, followed by Sepp Blatter, followed by the fans, and finally, finishing with the referees - in that order.

Amid some bad officiating in this game and the tournament, in general, the Dutch squad continued to cry for the entire 90 minute match - never once stopping their crying to try and win their game based on their skills or fitness - and, perhaps, that should have been obvious. They were incapable of doing so, and as such, went to their backup plan - the Crying Game.

Fortunately, the Crying Game didn't work, and the Dutch have gone home - once again failing to show up for a World Cup match. Good riddance.

Now that the Dutch are done crying on the field, they're crying off the field, just like every other team that failed to produce results in this Cup. The USA springs to mind. The list is long and ever-growing. Expect more post-elimination crying to come.

Even Portugal is crying off the field, complaining at 'unfairly' losing Deco for his outrageous behavior. You can't make this stuff up.

It is rare to see a defense of the officiating, but I found it. Most of the criticism leveled after a game where the players make a mockery of themselves and the game consists of bashing the referees for not being omniscent and omnipotent, as are the spectators and media.

Rarely do we ever hear the unsportsmanlike conduct of the players being criticized. It's all "what will the world do without Deco?" - nothing like "what in the world was that hack Deco doing by holding the ball away from the opponent in a crass display of unsportsmanlike conduct, after he'd been warned by FIFA, the referees, coaches, and millions upon millions of fans around the world, repeatedly, since Day 1 of the Cup?". It's atrocious this hero-worship of a bunch of soccer hacks. There are some honorable players on the pitch, still, but their names don't start with 'Deco'.

The following video is Eric Cantona's call to all players of the world, including Deco, to stop the cheating, and instead, 'play beautiful'. It is part of the Joga Bonito ad campaign being produced by Nike:

Here is the text of the ad:

This is Eric Cantona, interrupting your transmissions, broadcasting live from the heart of Germany. Mes a mi, footballers - for too long we let liars and cheaters make a fool of our game.

[video clips of horrendous fouls, time-wasting tactics, etc.]


I am here to remind the world that this game is about skills, heart, honor, joy, team spirit.

[video clips of soccer skills, teamwork, etc.]

Mes a mi, I need your help, your heart, and your feet. Together, me and you, we can make it beatiful again.


So, step forward, my brothers in football, and join us.

Play beautiful.

The beginning of this article seems to sum up what the players were up to on the field this evening:

An evening of mayhem and spite, sometimes synchronised cheating and complaining...

That pretty much covers what we saw out there. Players cheating left and right, Netherlands players crying non-stop, and American sports announcers also crying non-stop. Rarely if ever were we treated to criticism of the players for their unsportsmanlike conduct.

On the issue of a referee 'losing control', I've been involved in many matches where the referee lost control, and I've witnessed and watched countless others. I don't ever recall a referee being able to 'regain control' of a match. If the players on the field decide that they're going to be big burly men by attempting to hack and fight one another on the field where they know there is virtually no chance that they'll actually have to face an opposing player man-to-man and 'fight like a man', there is nothing the referee can do to stop it. That's where the fans come in. If the fans choose to treat their players like prima-donnas and allow them to make a mockery of the game and the fans, then they will do so - and they did so this afternoon. The only chance that a referee has to get control of a game is to start sending players off by showing cards - early and often. And that's what this referee did, and he has been harshly criticized for it. It's outrageous that he is being criticized before the players and the coaches and Sepp Blatter, head of FIFA.

Sepp Blatter threw his Russian officials under the bus. That's shameful. It was his decision to call the games tighter and he should take the blame for the tighter officiating. Instead, he has pulled a Bruce Arena, and threw his 'players' under the bus. Pathetic and shameful - just like the players on the pitch who refused to 'joga bonito'.

UPDATE: Unbelievable. AP Sports writer calls Deco out for his 'childish timewasting'.

UPDATE: One final note, Ronaldo, the Portuguese one, was off the field after getting injured by another nasty Dutch foul. The earlier-referenced 'defense of officiating' article alludes to this injury prevention being one of the primary goals of stricter officiating - talking about how Pele was unable to play his trade effectively because dirty teams would just take him out. Today, the Netherlands just took out Ronaldo. Why any self-proclaimed soccer fan would defend the behavior of these hooligans on the pitch today is beyond me.

UPDATE: I'd like to be one of the first to call for Blatter to apologize and then resign as head of FIFA. His public denunciation of his officials was sickening. If he will not resign, he should be forced out. The officiating of any one particular match must fall with Blatter, as he is the one who decided to have his referees call the games radically differently than in the past. His referees were only doing what he told them to do. Blatter should resign immediately, even before the Cup finishes. Right now. Tonight (this morning). Immediately.

p.s. On an unrelated note, when will South American and other teams from relatively short-statured nations start employing taller keepers? The loss today by Ecuador on the set play by Beckham was disturbing. Surely a country is able to produce one human being that is 6' 2" or taller, yes? Keller would have gotten to that ball on the worst day of his career. But, Ecuador gave up after the goal, so they deserved to lose.

UPDATE: FIFA gets letters!

Subject: Sepp Blatter must resign immediately, or be fired.

His comments about his referees today were wholly unacceptable. He should apologize, resign immediately, and then go get his officiating license so he can become the target of abuse by players and fans and officials for carrying-out politicies that the FIFA president has set.

Thank you.

Just sayin. Blatter resigning is the only the honorable thing left to do, short of Hari-Kari.

UPDATE: Wow - I totally forgot about that. A true outright shocker - and not the good kind.

This blog points out something that I didn't quite catch during the game, but which the announcers caught and many of the fans caught, too. When a player is injured, the team possessing the ball will play it out of bounds to make it easy for the ref to stop the game and check on the injured player. It's good sportsmanship. When play resumes, the team who has possession returns possession to the team who, as a show of good sportsmanship, played it out of bounds in the first place. No advantage was gained, it's the honorable thing to do, happens all the time, etc.

But today, the Netherlands refused to give possession back to Portugal. I don't know the details - I can't even confirm it happened as I didn't see it, but if true it would be a horrible blight on the Netherlands' record. I've never actually heard of this happening before, ever. Maybe there could have been a mixup, maybe the Netherlands thought the Portugal player was only play-acting, etc. - there could be a thousand+ excuses, but as I've said, I've _never_ seen this happen before, even if a player was play-acting, which is about the only constant in international soccer - happens _all_ the time.

If true, and all the reports coming out suggest it is true, it would be, for me, the most shameful episode of this World Cup. This World Cup won't be about anything that has happened yet or anything that will happen in the runup to the end of the Cup - this World Cup, the 2006 in Germany, will be about how the Netherlands refused to play the ball back to Portugal after Portugal played it out of bounds due to an injury.

In the international football arena, this type of 'crime' is about the worst thing that could be committed. If there is anything worse, I cannot think of it. Maybe allowing your fans to physically attack the opposing team? Maybe having your whole team physically assault the opposing team? Something like that. The problem is that even when a very hard, shameful foul is committed by one player against another, it is only committed by one player - but in this case, it appears the whole Dutch team was in on it. Incredible. It would be a shame upon the entire Dutch nation unless they dealt with the matter seriously and swiftly. And even then could it ever be erased from the annals of shameful play?

Again, this just underscored the outrageousness of Blatter's criticism of the referees. The Netherlands, it seems, have committed one of the most egregeous 'crimes' attributable to any soccer-playing nation, and Blatter criticizes the referees instead - his referees who were enforcing his policies.

Methinks this is developing into a much bigger debacle than Blatter could have imagined. Maybe he thought putting his referees at the mercy of the mobs was a classy move. Time will tell.

Also, the Dutch coach, Marco van Basten, who was an awesome striker back in the day, refused to play his star goal-scorer, Ruud van Nistelrooy. In my recollection, Rud was never a model of sportsmanship, but one has to wonder why he didn't play today, and if his absense had something to do with total lack of class and sportsmanship in the Dutch side. This, too, will be something that van Basten will have to answer for.

This requires more attention. Developing...

UPDATE: More details on the Dutch Deviousness:

Poor sportsmanship marked this match, with the most flagrant example being Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder's decision not to play the ball back to Portugal after an injury stoppage. Sneijder took the ball on the run and was cut down on a hard foul by Deco, and several Portugal players raced over to berate the Dutch player.

The 'pitbull with patience'? Or, perhaps, just 'the classless Chihuahua'?

UPDATE: Disgraceful. Too bad Blatter hasn't yet been shown the red.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Another Timing Coincidence?


State of emergency declared in Baghdad - Yahoo! News: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraqi government declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew Friday after insurgents set up roadblocks in central Baghdad and fired on U.S. and Iraqi troops outside the heavily fortified Green Zone."

And look at that - at the same exact time - the U.S. government just happens to charge 7 Muslims for 'talking about attacks' or some other nonsense:

MIAMI (Reuters) - Seven people arrested in Miami discussed attacks on the landmark Sears Tower in Chicago, the FBI building in Miami and other government buildings in a mission "just as good or greater" than September 11, U.S. officials said on Friday.

This is simply a way to distract the media from reporting exclusively on the Iraq bloodbath.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fire Coach Arena

If a coach performs this badly in the World Cup, he gets fired - period. Coach Arena is the longest-serving coach in this World Cup - and it shows. He's complacent and rules his players with an iron fist, which can be good, but with nobody to keep the all-powerful Arena in check, he is unable to hear criticism. He needs to go.

The Costa Ricans lost all of their games, and they're being heckled for it, and rightly so. They gave up in their very first game - they deserve all the shame they're facing now. The U.S. was worse. They never gave up, but it's difficult to give up when your coach never asks you to try in the first place. And the Costa Ricans had no expectations except to make a decent showing. The U.S. were ranked #5 in the world, and not undeservedly.

Coach Arena failed in every imaginable way in this tournament, though. He never played to win. In this game he waited until 60 minutes to throw in a striker. He never asked his players for anything, and they never delivered. The players' fitness was sorely lacking, despite what U.S. sportscasters, especially Balboa, wanted us to believe. Can anyone imagine the U.S. playing against any single one of the teams that has shown heart so far in this tournament? Ivory Coast? South Korea? Impossible. We'd get wiped off the field.

Instead of blaming himself for the opening loss, which was mostly his fault, Arena blamed his players. His classless move in calling out the 'manliness' of Damarcus Beasley can only be considered outdone if we are to believe the pre-game reports of the players being made to sit through some war propaganda of U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq. I've heard some outrageous things in my days, but using the tragedy and war crimes of Iraq as some sort of twisted and sick motivational force for U.S. soccer players for their World Cup campaign ranks up their with the most grotesque tactics I've ever heard of.

All in all, a miserable failure of a tournament. U.S. soccer has just been set back 4 years. Only 4 years because we can have a new coach soon, and a redemption 4 years from now in South Africa.

On the coaching front, let's get an international. There are plenty of great, proven coaches. Take a Brazilian. Take a Dutchman. Pay whatever it takes to get Hiddink to coach America, though I can't imagine any sane person wanting to coach American soccer - just because of the gaudiness and boorishness of our culture and the horrific violence and poverty that we regularly sow around the world. But, it's worth a shot. Get Hiddink. Get Zico. Get someone. Get someone who will at least make it appear as though his team has an interest in winning. Bruce had a good run, but now, it's over. Maybe we'll give him another shot after the next campaign, but right now, he's got to go.

p.s. Klinsmann now lives in LA full-time.

U.S. Soccer Dreadful

I don't feel like issuing the book-length ripping that Team USA deserves, so we'll get right to the point and be as brief as possible.

#1) Bruce Arena deserves 90% of the blame for the atrocious performance thus far in the tournament. If your team walks on the pitch asleep, as the U.S. did for their first game against Czech Republic, it's the coach's fault, period - even after the coach blames the players (no class on the part of the coach).

#2) Another classless move by Coach Arena - calling out the 'manliness' of Beasley. That's just outrageous. Beasley's play was horrendous, no doubt, but that has nothing to do with a coach publicly challenging the manhood of one of his players - unless that coach wants to get his ass publicly beat by said player whose manliness he doubts.

#3) If your team's strikers are so fearful of the opposing team's goal that they regularly turn around at the sight of it (thus giving your team 1 shots on goal, total, for two entire matches - let's repeat that - 1 shots on goal, total, for two entire matches - combined, together, both games), the coach should think about, you know, coaching - and telling his strikers to take it to the hole or keep the bench warm for the entirety of the rest of their lives - their choice. If there are ten defenders in between you and the goal? That's an easy choice - take it to the hole. Go to goal. For the love of World Cup-watching Monks, take. it. to. the. hole.

#4) I've never seen a more intimidated team in my life. Not all the players, but most. If they don't soil themselves before they step onto the pitch vs. Ghana, I'll be amazed. Confidence is king.

#5) The match vs. Italy - when we held on for a 1-1 when we needed a win to advance - so what? I expected us to beat Italy, but instead coach Arena allowed the already-yellow-carded-once Eddie Pope stay in the game when it was obvious he was eventually going to get carded for his sloppy/tugging play against the ever-diving Italians. 'Horrible' + 'Brave' != 'Decent'. It equals horrific, devastatingly stupid, shameful. Mastroeni with two cleats up in the offensive half? Somebody tell me I'm just having a nightmare - this isn't real.

#6) Many of the players - only Donovan comes to mind at the present - should have been yanked from the first game. Exactly how long does it take to warm up? If you didn't want to play you should have stayed home and let some other kids play.

#7) Beasley was right for ripping on coach Arena for not telling the players what the expected lineup was going to be until hours or minutes before the match. That's horrific. How do you expect a player to get ready mentally and emotionally if they think they're going to be sitting on the bench instead of playing? It's outrageous.

#8) Coach Arena should have done more to solidify a starting squad earlier in the tournament. Yes, injuries hurt, of course, but every other team had to deal with injuries, too. In our first game we were completely lost, and we were at full strength.

#9) What is this stuff about players hanging out with their families and all that in-between games? Is that normal? I prefer the no-sex rules and all that. I don't know anything about marriage and families and being a professional sportsman, but I do wonder where these guys are at mentally. We're talking about 1 month away time, here, tops. If that's a sacrifice they have to make to play for the national team in the World Cup, then I'm prepared for them to make it. I have no idea if that would be beneficial or not, but it's something I'm very interested in.

For anyone who thinks my comments are too harsh, I apologize for not expecting the U.S. team to act like a bunch of amateurs out there. Their play has been disgraceful, as has their coaching. I expect more. I demand more.

Good luck to them tomorrow against Ghana. Hopefully, Team USA decides to play. Ghana is brimming with confidence, it seems, but we don't know if it's for real or not. One thing I'm still certain of is this - the U.S. team can be one of the best teams in this tournament. Individually we're not lacking, and team-wise we're not lacking. If we decide to show up tomorrow, Ghana is going to get the shock of a lifetime, as will the rest of the tournament.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Google Down Again

I searched for 'php' and some other stuff - nothing. Then 'php' and less 'other stuff' - nothing. Then, just 'php' - nothing. Then the results came back. Then they left again.

Maybe their servers were busy shuffling all of my personal data over to Uncle Sam?

Am I doing something stupid here? Doesn't seem like it. I'm not that tired.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Reality of War

As per usual, we have to go to the foreign press to get a snapshot of what's really going on in Iraq. Heading over to, we were able to catch this snapshot:

The caption reads as follows:

A man tries to help a victim from the blaze moment after a car bomb attack in Baghdad. The violence rolls on

Photo credit: Ceerwan Aziz

Photo from the Irish Independent, 15 June, 2006.

Amy Goodman said it best: (paraphrasing) If the American people could see war for what it actually is for just one week, a single week, this war would be over.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Scattered, Smothered, Covered, Chunked, Topped, Diced, Peppered

That's what the Czechs did to us today. They treated us like a side of hashbrowns.

The Awful Waffle is known for its heart-stopping hashbrowns, and the U.S. Mens National Team is now known for its heart-stopping play (as in, all its fans drop dead from horror).

How can the U.S. team's performance today be described?

Complete disarray. Atrocious. Zero organization. Zero urgency. No movement off the ball. The U.S. players should have at least pretended to want to be there. Where was the defense in their own 3rd? I'm talking about the midfielders, here. Reyna and whoever else was in the middle. Where were they?

Everyone deserves blame, here, including the coach. Arena never let a midfield get together before opening day - against the 2nd best team in the world. It was a gamble, and he lost.

Eddie Johnson was good. Wolf was OK. Convey played badly - couldn't get a single cross in front of the goalmouth. Beasley played very poorly, too - usually one of my favorites. He can't play again if he's to play like that - horribly sloppy, continually giving the ball away - as were most of the U.S. team.

That said, our defense, while making a couple of crucial mistakes, didn't stand a chance. We had no offense whatsoever. No movement off the ball will absolutely kill any defense. And it did today.

Pavel Nedved is amazing. He's still crazy fast. All the retirement talk is just that. He's the most impressive player of the tournament thus far - even moreso than Rosicky, who put away two against the U.S. Anyone could have done that - the U.S. essentially invited him to take close-range shots.

A truly horrible day for U.S. soccer. A major blot on what has been an up-and-coming national program. The 3-0 scoreline is essentially meaningless, except that it starts to hint at the horrific scene that played out on screens all over the world. The score could easily have been 6 or 7-0 - we got extremely lucky it wasn't worse. A shameful display by all involved. Absolutely shameful.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Thierry Heny: Black Shit?

So said Luis Aragones - still the head coach of the Spanish national team in this 2006 World Cup. Unbelievable? Yes.

'Black shit' referenced here.

Looks like Spain is now on my shit list - pun intended. Time to listen to some L7.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Zheng Zhi and Coach: Assholes

The foul and subsequent injury happened very quickly, and it seemed like a very typical soccer injury - nobody really at fault. And most of the articles I headlines I'd crossed for the first couple of days after the injury seemed to back up the fact that it was simply a fair challenge and Djibril Cisse came out on bottom. But the truth is much uglier.

Upon my first watching of the Zheng Zhi takedown of Cisse on YouTube (note that the announcers get it all wrong, as they often do), it was immediately apparent that Zhi had fouled Cisse by kicking him in the back of his right leg - (they were running down the field alongside each other). This kick was to Cisse's right leg - on the side of Cisse that was further from Zhi (clear in this YouTube video). It would prove the fatal blow for Cisse, as his right leg swung out from the force of being kicked from behind and snapped as Cisse tried to plant it in the turf at an awkward ankle.

To the right is a still of the point of contact between Zhi's foot and the back of Cisse's right leg.

This was a straight up mugging. A brutal mugging that resulted in two broken bones in Cisse's lower leg. I don't even know if there was a foul called on the play - obviously there should have been, but I do know that it certainly was a foul and it ended up breaking Cisse's leg. It's clear on the replay, in slow motion. It's also clear to see Zhi throws both hands up in the air as if to say, "It wasn't me! I'm not a crook!"

Leave it to a Gulf Newspaper is you want real reporting:

Cisse, France’s top goalscorer in qualifying, was cut down by China captain Zheng Zhi in the 10th minute.

Why is Zhi an asshole? Because he said this after he crushed Cisse's leg and Cisse's dreams of playing in the World Cup:

"I was taking advantage of my position and engaged with him bodily but I didn't expect Cisse to be injured after he fell to the ground," Zheng told news agency Xinhua.

"Football matches are just like this. Every professional player could be injured on the pitch."

In other words, "Look - I didn't do anything wrong. It's all part of the game. Shit happens."

Fucking asshole.

And then his asshole coach follows up:

"One of the Chinese team's purposes for this match is to the French team warm up for a better performance in the World Cup, so our players played within the rules throughout the match," he said.

In other words, "Fuck you and fuck Cisse."

I acknowledge that there could be some translation issues here, but it's pretty clear that these words were not meant as any sort of apology.

For the record, what should the proper response from Zhi have been? How about...?

Djibril - I'm really sorry man. I definitely kicked you - but I never in a million years intended to mess you up like this, and have you miss the World Cup, man. I'm really sorry, man.

I'd also like to see an apology to France national team supporters everywhere, and an acknowledgement that he definitely didn't break Cisse's leg on purpose. Unless, of course, he did break Cisse's leg on purpose. In that case, he should be banned from all football forever.

We should not that in this same game Zheng Zhi fouled Zidane hard in the box, which resulted in a penalty kick for France.

Now, those like myself who were completely unfamiliar with Zhi before his criminal deed in this friendly with France, might be thinking I'm being a bit harsh on this Zhi cat. But, I soon discovered that Mr. Zhi is anything but Mr. Decent and Fair:

Chinese international midfielder Zheng, who was banned for spitting at a match official during an Asian Champions League quarter-final tie with Al Ittihad, will now be able to play for his club from the start of the 2006 China Super League season, and can also represent the national team during the six-month period.

Spitting at match officials - nice. Exactly what we've come to expect of Mr. Zhi.

Perusing the net a bit more I stumble upon an 'action shot' of Mr. Zhi performing the same type of criminal activity her performed against Cisse - this time was against Costa Rica.

Finally, we don't want to give the impression that breaking both of one's lower leg bones is a walk in the park - that the only thing to worry about here was that Cisse was going to miss the World Cup. There also happens to be a great deal of pain involved.

It's too bad these assholes - Zhi and his coach - didn't make the World Cup finals. I would have loved to see them get their asses handed to them.

Mr. Zhi, what goes around comes around. Break a leg, kid!

UPDATE: It just occurred to me that Cisse's leg was probably already broken, at least with a hairline fracture, by the time he tried to plant it. When Zhi kicked Cisse in the back of his right leg, it was really perfectly timed for maximum damage. Cisse certainly couldn't have expected it, and his right foot was just set in the turf enough to allow Zhi the maximum amount of impact from his strike. It's kind of like the 'old lady broke her hip when she fell down' story - she actually broke it and then fell. Same story here, except Cisse didn't just fall - another player, Zheng Zhi, actually broke his leg in two (or four).

UPDATE: Just perusing videos on Joga and I noticed a gruesome video - this one an accident - showing a very similar injury to the one that Cisse sustained. It seems to further back up my contention that Cisse's leg first broke when Zhi purposefully kicked him in the back of the leg.

UPDATE: A quick note to Rangers, who were rumoured to have had an interest in the crooked one:

I urge you to consider dropping your support for Zheng Zhi of China. The video proves that he intentionally kicked Cisse in the back of the leg, resulting in Cisse's leg snapping even *before* Cisse tried to plant it.

This could have been only a minor foul gone horribly wrong, but the more we learn about Zhi, the more we begin to understand his true nature as a footballer. He and his coach defended his actions by saying, essentially, 'shit happens'. This is a truly classless response to a horrific injury that occurred upon Zhi's illegal challenge.

Look into Zhi's history and you will see one of the reason's he's got room to move - he hacks at will until someone is injured. He's a little God in his league, but as soon as he moves to real competition he'll no longer have the protection of league officials who condone classless brutality on the pitch.

Even the Premiereship wouldn't have his hacking. His numerous cards and running afoul of officials - spitting on umpire, which saw Zhi receive a 6-month suspension - should not be tolerated by any club, nevermind the storied Rangers.

Don't devalue your brand by bringing in this lout.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Fool Me Once...

Every American is now familiar with George Loser Bush's infamous fuckup on stage - trying to recite some supposedly Texonian slang to appeal to the crowd, but ended up proving how badly those 30+ years of cocaine and alcohol damaged his brain. Whenever I think of Bush's moment of foreshadowing, though, I can't help but think how stupid we Americans are, collectively, because we continue to get fooled again and again by politicians. Shame on us, indeed.

I guess the least we can try to do is not be like Charlie Brown in our personal lives, too.