tomorrow's matches

portugal-spain: when neither team sucks

A friend with whom I was having an ongoing email chat during today's matches said it best when he emailed me, "What a fucking game!!!!" You don't need me to elaborate ... if you are reading this, you have already seen it for yourself, heard the analysis, praised Cristiano Ronaldo. But, as I said to my friend, it was perhaps more enjoyable for the neutral fan. My rooting interest is with Spain, and so I was disappointed in the ending. When I reviewed the Ronaldo video posted below, I wanted to cry.

But it was a terrific match, an example of what happens when neither team sucks. (Just wait until there are 48 teams in the tournament, 17 of which will be worse than Saudi Arabia 2018.) Spain dominated in their usual categories, like possession and pass success, but that doesn't always guarantee victory. Diego Costa was their best player, with his two goals, which is another side of the Rooter's Interest theme ... I can't stand him when he plays for his club, but I cheered him on today (see Sergio Ramos for Part Two of that story). His first goal embodied everything I feel about him: a terrific job, physical and expertly taken, preceded by him clubbing his defender in the neck, resulting in a pause for a VAR examination (among other things, this interrupted Andres Cantor's goal call, which in itself deserves a yellow card):

Cantor's call on Ronaldo's third goal: