Portugal Get Les Bleus

After the entertainment provided by the first semi-final, it was little surprise that last night’s match could not live up to those standards. Having got this far by conning referees, whinging incessantly and being generally the least likeable team in the competition, Portugal’s campaign came crashing down around their ears in a crescendo of jeers and unseemly behaviour. Ricardo Carvalho having been the victim on Saturday turned villain last night, bringing down Thierry Henry in the area for the penalty that was the only goal of the game. Having bragged beforehand that he knew where the taker would put the penalty before it was taken, Ricardo proved that it was no idle boast, narrowly failing to stop Zidane’s spotkick. Thereafter the match faded out, with little to speak of in the way of chances for the remaining seventy minutes.

For one who has been berated in the English media for his ungentlemenly conduct following Rooney’s dismissal, Cristiano Ronaldo appears to have learnt little or nothing from that episode. A deserved reputation for “exaggerating” any physical contact by an opponent was enhanced further with his theatrics shortly after the French penalty. When attempting to meet a cross from the right, he threw himself at the ball, performed a little hitchkick in mid-air and jerked his head wildly to try to con the referee into thinking he had been impeded by a French defender. The referee to his credit was having none of it and let play continue. However, the credit is taken away as he did not caution the chinless wonder for his theatrics.

For France, a number of players were treading on eggshells for a caution could have kept them out of the final. Henry and Vieira fortunately escaped missing Sundays match but inexplicably Louis Saha got himself booked less five minutes after replacing Henry in a replay of his booking against Brazil. At the end, Scholari’s undefeated World Cup record went to the wall and he reacted with all the petulance of a six year old whose favourite toy has been taken away. Quite what view FIFA will take of his verbal assault on the referee is unknown but it is a poor reflection on him. It is one thing to be passionate, quite another to be a bully.

5 thoughts on “Portugal Get Les Bleus

  1. Joe Diver says:

    “Conning referees”? This has got to be the single most biased review of a football match I’ve ever read in my entire life. Either way last night game’s statistics speak for themselves: 47 crosses for portugal against 17 for france; 14 shots on goal for Portugal against 6 for France; 58% ball possession for Portugal against 42% for France. The penalty on Henry was a close call and I’m not arguing it wasn’t a penalty, I’m stating that it is a close call just as Ronaldo’s “dive” inside the french area. Sepp Blatter himself had called the refs attention to aerial play in the beggining of the World Cup. During aerial plays a single hand on the back might unbalance the players trying to reach the ball. And I do admit Ronaldo took a dive or two after that, trying to force a penalty call but that one was deffinitely a penalty had the ref kept the same evaluating standards he applied on judging Carvalho’s “challenge” over Henry(if you see it in slo-mo it’s not that hard of a tackle, just a mere bump on his leg, and he takes a few seconds to react and fall down…it’s his job either way). Either way it doesn’t matter, France always gets through via arguable ref calls against Portugal (mind you ’98, 2000 and now 2006). Had it been a rolling goal, “defeat” would not sound as hard as it does this way. I’m not saying the French don’t know how to play. That was brilliant defensive playing as far as I can tell.
    Either way, the media just like to set things ablaze, especially when there’s someone new on the block and I’m still to figure out from where did Portugal’s fame come from. If it’s about Rooney being expelled, watch the play again…football is not rugby nor is it a local pub brawl to be throwing people around like that.
    Above all keep your oppinions unbiased if you’re trying to be taken seriously.

  2. Yogi's Warrior says:

    Portugal have got this far by ill-tempered and appalling conduct. Have you forgotten the Dutch match? The cards were not all given to the Dutch! Portugal have in recent tournaments, for whatever reason, lost gracelessly – a total of eighteen month bans for three players at France ’98 was not through good behaviour.

    For all of their possession, Portugal were not a real threat to the French goal. It does not matter how many crosses you put in, if they are not met by a forwards head, you do not score. Pauleta’s record of a goal every two games at international level is odd as he has never delivered in major tournaments.

    Ronaldo’s “dive” was not a close call. It was a blatant attempt to con the referee. He could not reach the ball, knew it and tried to gain through deception. Because of the constant jeering, he raised his game. It may have been pathetic as much of the media coverage has been but it was not all down to England fans. This was French and Germans, etc., who have picked up on it. The lad has the potential to be a seriously good player but his reputation is growing for the wrong reasons. He needs to take a long hard look at himself and set about a change of attitude.

    Carvalho admitted he fouled Henry but came out with a classic stating that the referee could have played advantage, despite the fact that he had denied France a clear goalscoring opportunity. And to be honest, even if Portugal had scored, the French still had enough in reserve to beat them.

    You accuse me of bias? “France always gets through via arguable ref calls” is a tad of the same. No, it’s exactly the same! It was a blatant handball by Xavier on the goalline. Read Henry Winter’s match report if you want one completely biased in Portugal’s favour.

    Portugals fame comes from qualifying for major tournaments and having players who play at big clubs. Like it or not, poor behaviour increases attention and the Dutch match certainly did that.

    Football is all about opinions. You cannot even get unbiased reports in the papers. Everyone has an angle. This blog is mine!

  3. Joe Diver says:

    About Xavier I just have one thing to say: watch the play…he was less than a couple meters away from the ball when the other guy made the cross. Was he supposed to have faster reaction times than F1 drivers?

    You accuse me of being biased for stating the obvious but it’s you the one leaving the “shots on goal” part of the stats (and the fact that Portugal had more than double the shots than the French) out of the talk for some unknown reason.

    And about the ball Ronaldo supposedly wasn’t able to get with his head…rewatch it. The ball passed where his head was going to be wasn’t it for the push by what’s-his-name?

    About the game against the Dutch, Ivanov summed it all up for you when he said that he did expect foul play from the Portuguese but was shocked to see that were the Dutch that were doing that kind of game (this was supposed to be his justification for the number of cards shown in that game).

    About the French having more in reserve…except for Ribery’s and Henry’s attempts(which were few) France was not creating any dangerous situations for Ricardo. The numbers speak for themselves…oh…you left them out of the topic…forgot that.

    Cheers.

  4. Yogi's Warrior says:

    Stop a ball entering the net with your hands and unless you are the ‘keeper, it’s a penalty. Sometimes, in the area, you can get away with saying that the ball hit my hand rather than it being my hand hit the ball. Not on the goal-line.

    Of course Portugal had more shots on goal. They were chasing the game for more than an hour. A shot on goal hitting the defender and going out of play for a corner counts in stats but what percentage of those were on target? It does not mean that Portugal were the better side. Personally, I thought France were the better side. Took the lead and defended it, playing within themselves, not particularly bothered by Portugal’s forwards. In fact probably more worried about Barthez’s fumbles.

    You leave out the rest of Ivanov’s comments – he also said that he expected bad behaviour and acting by the Portuguese. Hoist by your own petard!

    Don’t bring stats into the argument. As the quote says, “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

  5. David says:

    Yogi’s Warrier is right. Joe Diver is wrong.
    Portugal did come into this tournament with a “reputation” for diving, which as far as I can see was down largely to Cristiano Ronaldo’s early time in England (he improved after a while) and Deco, well, Deco’s entire European career.

    Portugal left the tournament hated by the fans of every team they played, and the vast majority of the neutrals as well.

    It’s not about England. Portugal played the same against Mexico in the group stage, Holland and France.

    My understanding of which of Ronaldo’s dives you are talking about is one where there is a cross from the Portuguese right, and Ronaldo jumps across two defenders, with the ball passing a couple of feet over his head. If that is the one, then it is one of the most blatant dives I have ever seen. It was actually quite graceful. But it was bad acting. He got nowhere near the ball, neither of the defenders moved, and he soared in a nice arc over their bodies and into the ground.

    Yes, France created few opportunities. But for the entire tournament, except for Nuno Gomes’ goal at the end against Germany, Portugal created NOTHING inside the box. Every goal, every shot came from outside, either from Deco or the excellent Maniche.

    And precisely why Portugal kept putting crosses in when their only forward was ten yards away from where the ball was and two feet shorter than his markers is a mystery to me. If this was England, you would rightly castigate the coach for his moronic tactical planning.

    Cristiano Ronaldo at centre-forward! I mean, come on!

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