Iberian Intermission

I did catch the first semifinal match tonight (had to watch the recording from the DVR) between Spain and Portugal. Coming in, I should say that I generally do not like Portugal (they used to be complete dive masters. I think they've improved, but I've never really liked them). But I also don't really like Spain that much. To be honest, I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's just because their games are so slow and boring; I think every game I've watched of them (at least in the last couple of years) has been a one-nil victory. And this game was basically more of that. I hadn't seen Ronaldo play in quite a while (with the exception of the Germany/Portugal game early in the tournament, it was a couple of years), so I wasn't sure if he was still in top form. It certainly appeared that he was. For as much as his play used to irritate me (there was never any denying his talent, but he was terrible for diving for a while), he looks like he's grown up quite well. He seemed to be in great shape, and still have soccer as his top priority. I might need to revise my opinion of him. In any event, this game was certainly a snoozefest. The defensive pressure, especially downfield, was quite good. But on the offensive side, there just didn't seem to be much going on, and very little urgency (especially from the Spaniards). The upshot of that was that there were very few chances for either side, and quite a few of the ones that presented themselves were ruined by shots that were just off-target. And, to add insult to injury, my recording gave out in the first overtime again. So I had to wait for Sportscenter to watch the results. I certainly wasn't surprised that it went to PKs, although it did sound like the Spanish found some urgency in the second overtime. I was certainly shocked, though, that Ronaldo didn't factor into the PKs at all. What were they waiting for? Did they really think there were five better shooters on the team? So, anyway, now the Spanish can wait around and see who they'll be playing in the Final. And then we can all find out if they can manage to be the first team to win three Continental/World tournaments in a row. If Germany wins the other semifinal, I'll certainly hope not. If Italy moves on, I'll be torn, but might well get behind the Spaniards for a day. I'm sure one of the Italians has six fingers on his right hand.

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