Go card-crazy

Finally starting to catch up on write-ups from the last several days, starting from Cameroon and Croatia in the second game for that group.

I was pretty amused with this game, as it started, as it made for a very colorful, maybe even festive, matchup, with the red/white checkerboard on one side and the green and yellow kit on the other.

From the outset, it was clear that Cameroon had more speed, but Croatian passing was very precise.  And both teams were quite physical, though Cameroon much more so.  And in classic bully mentality, the Cameroonians went down like bowling pins when they were touched.

With Croatia up one, the game got completely out of hand in the fortieth minute, as Song was ejected for taking a swing at a Croatian player who got between him and the ball.  Oddly, the play was blown dead immediately, even though Croatia had the ball and was taking it upfield.  But there was nothing odd in Song being sent off; it was a well-deserved red card (and Cameroon's eighth in the last seven World Cups).

At that point, givern that Cameroon hadn't managed any really good chances with equal men, I was expecting an ass kicking to commence.  And it did, in the second half.

Only a couple minutes in, Perisic took the Cameroonian goalie's kick on the left hand side, and ran it all the way down and kicked it in.  The goalie was leaning towards the center of the pitch; I think he was expecting a pass rather than a shot.  And none of the defenders tried to head off Perisic's run, for reasons that are beyond me.  The only defender close was the one to whom the goalie was originally kicking the ball, and who was therefore chasing Perisic.

Only a minute later, the Croatians got another chance, but the shot went wide by a foot or so.

Cameroon finally got a decent chance a minute after that, as they tried a mirror-image replay of the Cahill goal, but put the volley a couple yards over the crossbar.

The Croats just missed again on a free kick following a corner kick in the fifty-fourth.  Which reminds me; I keep forgetting to mention that I love that spray they use to mark the ten-yard line for the defensive wall.  That's genius, and something they should have been using for years.

In the sixty-eighth, terrible defensive marking led to Mandzukic getting a third tally for the Croats, coming off a header from a corner kick.

And that was enough for me; I think the only drama remaining for Cameroon is figuring out whether they can prevent any more red cards in their remaining game.  Well, and whether they'll finish last for the tournament; they're in good position to do that.

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