Monday, June 12, 2006

On the Australia versus Japanese match

That will be on at 8 p.m., my time. And there's no shortage of simulcasts to watch - including two in Vietnamese. There's VTV in Hà Nội Vietnamese, and HTV for my wife's preference of local, Sài Gòn-style Vietnamese. I haven't even mentioned English programming; one of the cable channels is "Sports 3" from South Africa, and does a very good job of telecasting the game. (Better than the ABC channel in the States, whose commentary, editing, and synching has generally been judged as shithouse.)

The Road to Surfdom has a nice roundup of Group F, the teams that Australia has to come second in to progress.

I think that it’s pretty obvious that Brazil will win Group F. Without meaning to disparage any of the other teams in the group, this is the second World Cup in a row that Brazil has been placed in a group that will all but assure them of qualifying for the next round. Last time it was Turkey, Costa Rica and China. This time it’s Australia, Croatia and Japan.

So, the real challenge here is finding out who is joining Brazil in this group into the next round. Japan has a pretty good midfield, but their attack doesn’t impress me and I don’t think their defenders match up well against the attackers from the other teams in Group F... So the choice is then narrowed down to Croatia or Australia (although with the number of players on Australia’s team of Croatian ancestry, it’s somewhat hard to tell who’s Croatian and who’s Australian)...

I should mention our quick visit to Mũi Né over the weekend. I got photos too. We caught the first few games, including the one that started it off: Costa Rice versus Germany. Good job, Costa Rica, for trying your best, and good job, Germany for not resting on your laurels. According to the taxi-driver back from the bus, the city turned into a ghost town when the games were on. Almost everyone went home (theirs or a friend) or hit the nearest cafe. The problem is that the motorbike hoons are using the absent street as an excuse to speed like Speed Racer himself. Last night, we encountered some utterly stupid driving during the Holland game.

Good luck, Australia.

UPDATE: Lots of "Oh shit oh shit oh shit" was coming from the mouth of yours truly after the 28th minute (when sloppy playing by Schwarzer let a goal in). That would be 58 minutes of "Oh shit oh shit oh shit", while I was praying and beseeching for at least an equalizer. This was delivered at minute 83, with another goal six minutes later, and then one more at the 92nd - one minute before closing time. Those were the first three goals for Australia in a World Cup final ever - all in the space of nine minutes. The first two were due to the efforts of Tim Cahill, and "Well done" I say to him.

Australia 3 - Japan 1. For a "blow-by-blow" account, check the recap from The Guardian, and do ignore the pathetic jokes about soap operas.

Congratulations, Australia.