FanDuel - WFBC

July 02, 2006

World Cup question: How is C.Ronaldo's actions in the England-Portugal semifinal not seen as mental gamesmanship a la Michael Jordan? Is this just an example of how differently Americans approach sporting?

posted by geekyguy to navel gazing at 08:55 PM - 60 comments

Some English outcry

posted by geekyguy at 09:06 PM on July 02

I really didn't see anything wrong with what C.Ronaldo did in that game. Anytime there is a foul, players from both teams seem to try and plead a case with the refs for a tougher/softer call. I'm pretty sure that Rooney was going to get at least a yellow for his crotch-stomp, and possibly a red. The fact that he couldn't control himself and felt the need to shove C.Ronaldo right in front of the ref...well, that's not Ronaldo's fault Rooney got the red. It's all Wayne's. Anything else is just English whining. As for "gamesmanship", I think the "best" (as in most effective) gamesmanship I've seen in soccer was Brazil's Ronaldo's "I've been shot in the face!" collapse in 2002 when the opposing player lightly kicked the ball towards him and hit him in the leg. Ronaldo completely fooled the ref into giving a red card in that instance. Remember: "gamesmanship" only applies when it doesn't happen to your team. In those cases, it's "dirty pool".

posted by grum@work at 12:32 AM on July 03

Ronaldo's "I've been shot in the face!" Er, sorry Grum but I have spotted a small but significant error - that was in fact Rivaldo in the group game against Turkey. But Portugal have previous form in this tournament (cf versus Holland in the Battle of Nuremberg) and have just about used up their goodwill with most neutrals, methinks. You might be a winner, but you can still be a lying, cheating sod.

posted by owlhouse at 01:38 AM on July 03

Yeah, I agree. Without taking up too much of your time, this is a conversation that I had with a buddy who lives in the UK. It is like we aren't even speaking the same language, our inability to understand the other.

posted by geekyguy at 01:49 AM on July 03

This link pretty much sums it up. Rooney is a petulent little fool - and his supposed masters are worse for allowing him to behave as he did. There is no figure within the England set-up (seemingly) strong enough to take him to one side after he got sub-ed off in a previous game (and then punched the dugout and threw his boots) and tell him to calm down. The Gascoigne analogy is a good one, sadly. Also, blame shifting is England's national sport, not football. The press had (unrealistically) built up England's chances of doing well this time around, so now they need a villain to blame and refuse to accept that 1) England were never good enough to get any further than they did (and were lucky to get even that far) and 2) It might have been an inside job (i.e., the team's own fault).

posted by JJ at 06:22 AM on July 03

GG, who is Jonny B and when does he have to go back to the Daily Mirror sports desk? Also, when it comes to things like "blame shifting is England's national sport" can we rephrase to "the English media's national sport, because they're all too lazy to do their jobs properly" ? The "they" in question will indeed blame Ronaldo for having the temerity to talk to the ref and every ground Ronaldo goes to next season will feature an entertaining section with special songs written out in crayon about our Portuguese friend, for sure, but for the most part, most fans, (me included), had England down as quarter finalists, again and aren't overflowing with vitriol about someone who pointed out his mate had just had a cheap vasectomy. As a side note, what amuses me more than the Roo-naldo incident is the way the British media always likes to point at the Spanish and laugh - "haha! They always underacheive and go out in the quarterfinals!" At least they were entertaining along the way.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:22 AM on July 03

How is C.Ronaldo's actions in the England-Portugal semifinal not seen as mental gamesmanship a la Michael Jordan? I've never found flopping, diving, ect. to be mental gamesmanship, to me it is one of the most unsportsmanlike things you could do. It was so fucking annoying when the Pistons were playing the Spurs in the Finals and someone would lightly brush Manu Ginobli and he would hurl himself across the court, onto the floor, and then straight to the free throw line. In Detroit everyone condemed it, but for many others, Manu was like a fearless person who would sacrafice his body for the team. The SportingNews wrote one of my least favorite articles ever, saying how the great Manu led his team to victory by sacraficing his body for the team. Please. How fucking blind do people get. Remember: "gamesmanship" only applies when it doesn't happen to your team. In those cases, it's "dirty pool". Exactly. One minute people will be laughing about how their player gets touched, acts like he just got shot, and draws the foul and then the next minute they will be screaming their heads off since an opposing player did the exact same thing. Hypocrites.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:15 AM on July 03

Er, sorry Grum but I have spotted a small but significant error - that was in fact Rivaldo in the group game against Turkey. I knew those batch of similar names was going to get me one day. Rivaldo Ronaldo Ronaldihno Emerson It's so hard to keep track over time...

posted by grum@work at 10:19 AM on July 03

I've never found flopping, diving, ect. to be mental gamesmanship, to me it is one of the most unsportsmanlike things you could do.
I absolutely agree but as I am still learning the nuances of the game it seems that there is a certain amount of acting in order to influence the officiating. It certainly happens in the NBA. It is called bad officiating. FIFA really needs to educate the officials against it or it is part of the game and England needs to get over themselves.
Exactly. One minute people will be laughing about how their player gets touched, acts like he just got shot, and draws the foul and then the next minute they will be screaming their heads off since an opposing player did the exact same thing. Hypocrites.
Jonny is pretty adamant that Team England doesn't play that way. Denial or is he really on to something? With Rooney acting the ass it sort of makes it hard for them to credibly take the high road.

posted by geekyguy at 11:22 AM on July 03

GG, point Jonny at Owen diving over an Argentinean leg in 1998. Or point him at Owen diving over an Argentinean leg in 2002. I was hoping Owen would get the threepeat this time.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:20 PM on July 03

I knew those batch of similar names was going to get me one day. Rivaldo Ronaldo Ronaldihno Emerson grum, I can't believe you left out Fred.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:06 PM on July 03

I've never found flopping, diving, ect. to be mental gamesmanship, to me it is one of the most unsportsmanlike things you could do. Jonny is pretty adamant that Team England doesn't play that way. Denial or is he really on to something? With Rooney acting the ass it sort of makes it hard for them to credibly take the high road. There are certain countries, and dare I say nationalities, who seem to think theatre on the pitch is OK. I mentioned in a rather lengthy post before the World Cup that England, Australia and the U.S. played the game with integrity, with this caveat: "The sad thing is, even for the countries I've listed here, if the situation is desperate enough, players will dive to get a call, especially in the penalty box." Joe and Ashley Cole for England certainly aren't beyond a dive and the U.S.' Landon Donovan absolutely threw himself to the ground against the Czech Republic, the only time he had the balls to run at someone. It's pathetic. So while your friend Jonny has a point, no country is beyond reproach.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:24 PM on July 03

One more thing on the diving: with all the handwringing, banter, and indignant discussion that goes on over this one topic, it's obvious that cheating is integral to the overall dynamic of the sport, IMO. God, I hate to admit it, but the cynical side of me thinks FIFA have no intention of making diving go away.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:38 PM on July 03

God, I hate to admit it, but the cynical side of me thinks FIFA have no intention of making diving go away. There is only one way to make it disappear (or at least reduce the levels to tolerable), and that's to go the NHL zero-tolerance route. Everytime a player embellishes a fall, slap them with a yellow. Do it twice, and they miss the next game. It's harsh, it'll cause riots, but it's the only way to get rid of it. FIFA would never do this. Ever.

posted by grum@work at 05:01 PM on July 03

This is horrible. I said I would never post on an internet chat forum. But its an overcast evening so I thought I would address some of the bile coming my way after my ‘buddy’ from China put me as a featured link in a post. Firstly GG, I’m not actually not too bothered that you put a rather conveniently topped and tailed selection of the MSN conversation we had while I was patently still half-cut from the night before. But then I read on… and it was incredible – the bitter conjunction of naked Anglophobia and chat room bitchiness. Harem politics – but transplanting furiously opinionated keyboard-grafted chimpanzees for hot chicks.

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 05:57 PM on July 03

I would try to refrain from the personal – but my, within the space of a few posts it was inferred that I was an example of ‘English whining’, a hypocrite, positing that I was in denial, and that I would find it hard ‘to credibly take the high road’. And that was from GG! Sorry I visited you out there now mate. And JJ, cheers for telling me about how the British press are manipulating our poor little brains. Except, should you have actually logged on to a Brit newspaper that sprinkles the odd polysyllabic word in, you would find both points to be rubbish. Sorry, garbage I mean. You’re doing a great job of deconstructing that national stereotype of offensive complacency. I guess I’ll go on meeting a lot of American guys with Maple Leaves stitched to their travelling bags. To the incident, and I will try to be objective, a statement to which many of you no doubt conceived of replying with that smiley with the sardonic eyebrow.

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 05:58 PM on July 03

Rooney was used like a climbing frame for 10 seconds prior to the stamp. This is beyond doubt. But why wasn’t it a foul? Because the snipers on the stadium roof were not targeting the English squad. True, if Michael Owen hadn’t tried to do ‘The Mashed Potato’ in the opening moments of the Swedish match, and Joe Cole had reproduced Chelsea form, then we may have seen some top-class English diving. However, Rooney has not attended the Lisbon branch of the Royal Academy of Amateur Dramatics, and tried to keep to his feet. (puns about misplaced feet later please.) It was a struggle for possession, but the possession was indisputably, however precariously, Rooney’s. Modern football wiles dictate that if, like Rooney, you are struggling to keep possession and being forced towards goal by two opposition players pressuring and tugging at you, you slip over and get the free kick. This is a nigh on accepted cynicism of the modern game, and strikes me as massively ironic that GG is invoking another accepted cynicism, the right of opposition players to barrack the referee (note: he is not an umpire). If the first opportunity to break the rules covertly had been taken, then I would not have been embroiled in a playground fight over the second. The midget ‘punk’ as you called him on several baffling occasions should’ve played the ref and avoided this whole rigmarole that is generating sweaty pits for myself in this typing fervor.

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 05:58 PM on July 03

The notion that it was anything but an intentional stamp is also being seriously questioned, and by people who don’t have the cross of St George’s tattooed on their gonads, for your information. But that would just be a fruitless back and forth of indeterminate logistics by non-athletes, so let’s take it as conscious. How important was the push? Not very according to the referee’s post match comments, he issued a red card for the stamp alone. Easy to say in hindsight; what self-respecting referee looking to officiate over the tournament final would ever admit that such an anemic push would sway his opinion. But looking at the replays, as the English footballing public, basting in their masochistic sense of injustice are wont to do, you can see a marked distinction between the referee’s infantile fear of making a big decision before the push, and his assumed air of self-righteous conviction subsequently. If we take the push as crucial to the decision, then we are entering the realm of ifs and buts and pots and pans. But indulge for a couple sentences more. GG, you feel that the stomp alone was a yellow, possibly a red, but the push itself made it a done deal in the referee’s eyes, as you make clear from your subtle use of bold text: The fact that he couldn't control himself and felt the need to shove C.Ronaldo right in front of the ref...well, that's not Ronaldo's fault Rooney got the red. I apologise for quoting you directly GG, but this is the point I really have to amend. Had you seen any Premiership / Champions League / Euro Championships football before, you would be able to recognise that Cronaldo, despite being a powerfully fit, rapid and agile player, is mysteriously unable to maintain an upright posture in the face of physical contact comparable to a nursery (sorry kindergarten) child’s pat. Had Rooney’s push been any more forceful than the lazy stretch of a foetus in the first quarter of the gestative period, we may have seen our first on-field fatality of this or any world cup, God forbid.

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 05:58 PM on July 03

If referees sent players off for such pushes, or even allowed to influence sending offs, then 99% of games would become one on one face offs between the two goalies. And hey, they better watch themselves too eh. So, neatly on to playing the ref then. I think you claimed that Cronaldo’s 30 yard sprint over to the incident could’ve been either a desire to listen to the ensuing debate the foul generated, or merely pointing out to the ref that it was a foul. The fact that his eyes were focused on the referee, he was furiously shouting and gesturing to his buddy’s groin negates any possibility that he could have been listening to anyone else’s view, merely interested in pressing his own vendetta. This invalidates point 1. Point 2 can be similarly swept away by the sight of the referee clearly indicating a foul when Cronaldo had only begun his aggressive gallop towards the incident. The only possible interpretation can be that Cronaldo was urging further punitive measures on Rooney.

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 05:59 PM on July 03

FIFA had claimed that this world cup would see a clampdown on the twin curses of diving and players urging the ref to brandish cards on the opposition. Apart from the odd ‘Hollywood’ moment, this has not come to pass. Witness the phantom Italian penalty in the last minute against Australia, Henry’s mysterious facial, and, though this isn’t to curry favour, the false Ghanian penalty against America. The referees are in a bind; FIFA urge them to clean up the game, but at the same time there is huge indirect commercial pressure placed upon them not to make decisions that are regarded as controversial as they go against the grain of modern football. One of the best performances this world cup was from the guy who dished out cards like it was Christmas, the guy in charge of Holland Portugal, a mendacious display of diving, professional fouls, and referee baiting from two teams with the capacity for supremely skillful attacking football. But it was against the grain. Machiavellian should never have to be used adjectivally for great footballing sides. A lot is made of the moral high ground that the English create for themselves when losing sporting contests, a subjective delusion to guise plain old defeat. Call me the editor of a red top if you like, but I would argue for that principle. Owen, the only internationally recognized exponent of high board diving in the English squad, has never been favoured for that reason, and his achievements as one of England’s all time highest scorers are always brought into bleak focus by his penchant for the continental roly-poly, a fact that even the most pun-worthy of tabloids will raise. The 98 Argentina tumble has been largely ignored due to the brilliance of the succeeding goal he scored, and more importantly the parallel Batistuta tumble and Simone / Beckham sniper incident that meant it was to be another ‘glorious’ failure. The 02 Argentina tumble is not seen as a ‘glorious’ victory; the dubious nature of the penalty and the ominous nature of England’s ‘hiding under the duvet’ approach to going a goal up made sure of that.

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 05:59 PM on July 03

The secondary headline in England’s warm up to Rooney’s metatarsal was the controversy of Gerard’s fall that earnt a penalty against Hungary. Was it a dive, a jump out of the threat of contact, or genuine? Indeed, the penalty was missed; that the integrity of the scouse powerhouse was to be questioned so long after the incident, which could not be deemed crucial in any sense to the final result, coming as it did in a comfortable victory in a practice game, is revealing, and of the same theme that NY Texan suggests, no one is beyond a dubious loss of balance. Then, in Argentina’s first game in this tournament, the substitute Lionel Messi took to the field wearing boots burnished with the phrase ‘El mano de Dios ‘86‘, meaning ‘Hand of God 86’, a commemoration of easily the most iconic act of blatant cheating in the history of world sport, Maradonna’s handball goal that initiated England’s departure from World Cup 86 and Argentina’s run to the podium. Similar revulsions of blinkered piety could be felt when Cronaldo looked wearily and thankfully to the heavens when he sunk the crucial penalty in the recent shoot out.

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 05:59 PM on July 03

It comes as it always does to semantics. GG would include Cronaldo’s intimidatory plea to the referee, and Rivaldo (post-correction) in the class of gamesmanship. I would define these acts, like Ying Yang, euphemistically as bad sportsmanship, realistically as something that uses a lot of crude Anglo-Saxon. Gamesmanship is getting in the head of the opposition player, but competing as it is, on a level playing field. Cronaldo’s pre-match butt and whisper in Rooney’s ear is gamesmanship, getting in the head of a competitor with a suspect temperament. Bad sportsmanship is looking to influence the officiating, to avoiding punishment when you break the rules, to gain an advantage in the manner the game is conducted. As is the case with the FIFA’s referees, pincered between commercialism and the necessity of appearing tough, Cronaldo absolutely duped the ref, in the same way as he did Rooney. His actions were demonstrative of both gamesmanship and bad sportsmanship. Cronaldo is such a great guy that even before this incident he was unquestionably the most-hated of all foreign imports in the English premiership (that’s where we play football outside of the world cup, by the way) – a guy that even made one of his (non-British) team-mates tell him that his Dad should teach him some new tricks, mere weeks after his father had died.

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 06:00 PM on July 03

And to another lazy stereotype - the World Cup Organising Committee yesterday pronounced the largest contingent of foreign fans, the English, to be the best in the world after their largely exemplary behaviour in Germany. I’m pretty sick of the guttering that English sport has to go through from former denizens of a long dismantled empire. Go and knock on historian Niall Ferguson’s door if you want to take it out on some Imperialist apologist. I’m very much in the defensive position here. But if I retaliated on an American website, I would be absolutely lambasted if I brought up the absurdity of Bruce Arena claiming his team to be superior to half of the teams in the tournament when they gained a single point from what turned out to be a much over-rated group, or such mangled terminology as ‘Offense / Defense / Overtime / Plays / Questionable calls / Stepping it up / Game theory / Top-tier keeper variables’ etc, and the lingering obsession with calling a mid level British club level journeyman like Reyna ‘world-class’. But I won’t, that would smack of parochialism, and the world cup is, after all, about a true ‘world series’, that actually involves the world. And you got equally duped as us by officiating.

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 06:00 PM on July 03

The British do always point at the Spanish and label them under-achievers, but I think you’ve mistaken empathy for misplaced smugness. The only good thing to come from this disappointment is that I have discovered Football 365, with its mountains of free grot. And don’t be labeling me as a blinkered malcontent island dweller, or preaching football to me when you’ve borne witness to a single international tournament. (watching a 3 minute musical montage of the last 10 world cups to the tune of ‘We Built This City on Rock n Roll’ by Starship does not count incidentally.) In mitigation for all that I’ve just said, I believed that America had never beaten a holder of the World Cup trophy before, one of the big boys; I was wrong. I’d forgotten entirely about England’s first foray into World Cup football in 1950, and our 1 – 0 thrashing by you guys. I concede any last vestiges of authority. - Jonny

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 06:00 PM on July 03

Welcome to JonnyFilter.

posted by squealy at 06:21 PM on July 03

We've got fun and games, honey we know the names.

posted by qbert72 at 07:00 PM on July 03

For fuck sake. Why do I feel like I'm in the middle of a catfight?

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 08:24 PM on July 03

And just for clarity, why the bile spewed towards the U.S. in all this? Is this mainly directed at GG and we become conveniently rolled into one because he happens to be a member to whom a few replied?

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 08:36 PM on July 03

GG, you feel that the stomp alone was a yellow, possibly a red, but the push itself made it a done deal in the referee’s eyes, as you make clear from your subtle use of bold text: The fact that he couldn't control himself and felt the need to shove C.Ronaldo right in front of the ref...well, that's not Ronaldo's fault Rooney got the red. I apologise for quoting you directly GG, but this is the point I really have to amend. Just a heads-up. That wasn't geekyguy who said that, it was me. And I stick by my statement.

posted by grum@work at 08:41 PM on July 03

Jonny, welcome to Sportsfilter. We've never spoken, and I have nothing against you. But you are aware that your open bias and your didactic attitude makes the volumes of text you just laid down not worth the read for anyone not directly allied with your (admittedly) skewed view of the football universe, right? We get it. You wouldn't cross the street to piss on C.Ronaldo if he was on fire. For what it's worth, I can't stand the smug little twerp neither. But if you're just taking your slapfight with geekyguy in here to appeal to the studio audience, well, this isn't the Jerry Springer Show. Now, start a blog and put all your rants in there. Trust me, people will read it. Maybe even a lot of SpoFites. (Hey, http://cronaldoisacunt.blogspot.com/ is available.)

posted by chicobangs at 08:59 PM on July 03

(Hey, http://cronaldoisacunt.blogspot.com/ is available.) I got 10 bucks that says rcade's beat him to the domain.

posted by lilnemo at 09:10 PM on July 03

That popesquatting maniac.

posted by qbert72 at 09:53 PM on July 03

I brought this here with hopes that I could hear the opinions of others to help reconcile the completely opposed viewpoints Jonny and I seemed to have. As the only native speaker within 100 miles I hoped to get the insight of my SpoFi peers. After sharing our conversation I invited Jonny to join SpoFi and participate in the conversation. I in no way intended for this to come across as a catfight as Jonny and I are close friends and had a spirited conversation before agreeing to disagree. I'm glad to see him in here and hope this doesn't devolve into personal sniping in anyones direction. It may be too soon for him to talk about it objectively and as a sports fan who has tasted bitter soul-crushing defeats, ('89 Broncos, '02 Kings), I can understand. I'm just trying to better understand the differences in our philosophical view of sporting.

posted by geekyguy at 10:09 PM on July 03

Holy crap, teh bestest World Cup stats. Ever.

posted by geekyguy at 11:15 PM on July 03

I'm just trying to better understand the philosophical differences in our philosophical view of sporting.

posted by geekyguy at 11:16 PM on July 03

No kidding! Wow, that's a great table! Note that France, Italy and Portugal are in the top five of pretty much every one of those categories. Italy's way ahead on dives, and France & Portugal have lapped the field in tantrums thrown. Well, we can see what the Americans need to work on in order to take the next step at the international level. You'd think, frex, bullying the referee would be a strength. Apparently not.

posted by chicobangs at 11:22 PM on July 03

France & Portugal have lapped the field in tantrums thrown. England should have picked Jonny.

posted by JJ at 05:23 AM on July 04

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 5:57 PM CDT on July 3 posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 5:58 PM CDT on July 3 posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 5:58 PM CDT on July 3 posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 5:58 PM CDT on July 3 posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 5:59 PM CDT on July 3 posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 5:59 PM CDT on July 3 posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 5:59 PM CDT on July 3 posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 6:00 PM CDT on July 3 posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 6:00 PM CDT on July 3 posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 6:00 PM CDT on July 3 That has to be a record of some sort. Either he was typing like a freaking demon or (more likely) he already had the conversation written out. Either way that is still....like....wow.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:37 AM on July 04

It was very considerate of him to break it into chunks like that for easier reading.

posted by smithers at 07:59 AM on July 04

the disappointing thing is that the whole kerfuffle could have been avoided if Rooney, when realizing he was faced with pressure from two players, had merely (a la the Portugal players) hurled himself to ground, rolled around, and grabbed his face or an extremity. On that play I don't have much problem with arguing with the ref really (who shouldn't allow himself to have the players make the call anyway) but the wink from Ronaldo to his bench was smug and cheeky and slimy. Yeah, you can bend the rules but at least be nice about it.

posted by gspm at 08:18 AM on July 04

Well, I'm clearly out of my element, here - as I'm not inclined to know that much about footy, yet, but I can tell you one thing: I don't like that Christian Ronaldo guy. Not one bit.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:40 AM on July 04

Cue the music.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 10:45 AM on July 04

Forgot to mention this... ...after seeing the replay a few times, I don't think Rooney stomped crotch intentionally.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 11:32 AM on July 04

I'm assuming we'll be seeing you donning one of these in Toronto, Weedy?

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 11:36 AM on July 04

Like Weedy, I am not that knowledgeable about soccer. Like Weedy, I dislike that C. Ronaldo character intensely. Like Texan, I did not perceive that the crotch-stomp was intentional. The referee may be claiming that the red card was unrelated to the shove, but that's not how I read his body language when it happened. Whether the shove + unintentional foul warranted a red card I will leave to other experts to judge. But that shove was a stupid, stupid thing to do. I am a bit stunned that people are blaming the jackass Ronaldo for the ejection. Either Rooney deserved to be thrown out, in which case we can blame Rooney; or he didn't, in which case we can blame the ref. Whether Ronaldo deserved to be shoved or not has nothing to do with it.

posted by Amateur at 11:56 AM on July 04

The story gets a bit better... Rooney has supposedly threatened C.Ronaldo with harm if he sees him again, so Manchester United (the club team both of them play for) has decided to cut C.Ronaldo.

posted by grum@work at 12:34 PM on July 04

It's so nice to see Mr. Rooney upholding that strong English tradition of good sportsmanship. Is this any more than a rumour, grum?

posted by Amateur at 01:00 PM on July 04

This has to be at least a rumor, considering teams sell assets rather than cut, and Real Madrid are a named suitor. So the question is, considering all that's happened, including the reported training ground bust-up between Ronaldo and van Nistelrooy, can United expect more than 10 million pounds for Ronaldo?

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:46 PM on July 04

Is this any more than a rumour, grum? I'll admit to seeing it mentioned as a bit stronger than a rumour, but less than fact, during a World Cup discussion on The Score (Canadian sports network).

posted by grum@work at 04:28 PM on July 04

The much maligned Daily Mirror has provided reports on successive days that a) Rooney had to be restrained from crashing through the Portuguese dressing room door in anger, causing a mass brawl and thus allowing FIFA to ban him for the rest of the decade, and b) that he would break Cronaldo in half at the first Man United training session. Another possible Roo-reaction was given to us by Cronaldo in an interview, who said that this was all a diabolical fabrication on the part of the English press. Rooney had in fact been in Text / SMS contact with Cronaldo and told him that he was a great player and that Portugal deserved to go all the way to the final. Rooney has also issued a personal statement through his website (I’m pretty sure he didn’t set the site up himself, or actually decipher the platform of hieroglyphs known as a keyboard) where he again claims innocence of any violent conduct and regarding his team-mate offers "I bear no ill feeling to Cristiano but am disappointed he chose to get involved." Although the presence of a ghost-writer has never been more obvious as in the third example (he is an orangutan, after all), it probably reflects how this flashpoint will resolve. These international tournaments are only once every two years; Man United pays their way every day in between, and would not brook any dissension between their two young stars. Cronaldo to Real Madrid? Possibly not… when the position of president is vacant at a top Spanish club, the contenders for the role campaign on the basis of top stars that they will purchase after they win. Unfortunately for Cronaldo, the candidate who was using the Portuguese winger as the basis of his electioneering lost. Seeing as Cronaldo was jockeying for the move to Madrid, and of course his quiet words of reason in the Roo incident, he may have left himself a bit high and dry in England. And to whoever said it, I would cross the road to piss on Cronaldo if he was on fire. I would just ensure that I had sufficient tinder on my person to get the flames going again afterwards. Anyway, no anti-American bias on my part, just felt that geekyguy was needling me about my English whining, hypocrisy etc. Me and geekyguy are good. I had to endure an office shift with the benefit of a 2 day hangover, so my stalwart mate from China got the inevitable pantomime performance at the end of it all. The stages of being knocked out are as follows for an English bloke 1. Disbelief – what just happened? 2. Despair – no need for scribbling on that world cup wall-chart anymore and the fitness of key players, game over. 3. Jealousy – those other players are celebrating 4. Hatred – those Dagos are celebrating a bit too much 5. Paranoia – that ref is stifling a grin and tapping his foot 6. Injustice, injustice, injustice – this is where my chat forum rant stemmed from yesterday 7. A spot of self criticism – believe it or not, even the English media are recognising their error in overstating the quality of our players (although they are still saving most for our outgoing foreign manager) 7. Bemusement – meh. This wasn’t a tournament where sides just get knocked out on football. USA, Australia, Spain, Holland can all attest. 8. Acceptance and the Refusal to Learn Lessons – I can put this in the same category as all those other glorious English defeats. We hold the moral high ground (if not the footballing high ground, as we played gash for the whole tournament, except for our defence) Despite this thread being concerned with the nefarious ways of modern football, I think I have just finished watching one of the finest games of football of any world cup. It was between Germany and Italy, wholly a surprise as the mention of both teams normally evokes images of laughable tumbles akin to what you’d see if you spun round a bunch of p*ssed up tramps and pushed them on an ice rink. The World Cup has begun to redeem itself. All it needs is for 2 more positively played games and someone en-route to break Cronaldo’s leg and wink over to their manager as if to say ‘job done boss’. I’m a bitter, bitter person.

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 05:34 PM on July 04

I think you just described your own experience of being knocked out rather than that of an "English bloke". My only basis for this opinion is being an English bloke who didn't share that experience. I agree about Italy v Germany though. A fabulous game of football.

posted by squealy at 06:14 PM on July 04

The players have got the officiating they deserve.

posted by vito90 at 11:52 AM on July 05

also agreed about the experience of being knocked out. I was being a touch lumpy and melodramatic.

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 11:53 AM on July 05

Got it in an XL?

posted by Fourth Metatarsal at 11:59 AM on July 05

OT - 1:40 in is the craziest save I've ever seen.

posted by garfield at 01:58 PM on July 05

Ah, the scorpion kick! I love seeing that clip.

posted by blarp at 01:51 PM on July 06

I was at that game. It was something to see, especially when you hadn't realised offside had been called.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:57 PM on July 06

I say, fourth metatarsal, old chap, I didn't quite catch what you said, would you be kind enough to repeat it?

posted by Fat Buddha at 04:34 PM on July 06

If you do, can you leave out the bit where you assume I'm a septic?

posted by JJ at 05:36 PM on July 06

Oh no, I liked that part, although I wish somebody would explain to me what all the big words mean, and why JJ has a Maple Leaf on his travelling bag.

posted by Amateur at 09:36 AM on July 07

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