We know, we know: We haven't quite adequately captured the storied glory of the Saudi Arabia-Tunisia rivalry this week. We're trying, but JJ Redick keeps getting arrested, and it's distracting us.
Anyway, the final opening match is upon us, with Saudi Arabia taking on Tunisia. Even though it's Saudi Arabia, please, no Oilers jokes. No politics allowed here! It's the World Cup, and it's about peace and goodwill or something.
Your live blogger for this round is Ryan Corazza of We Are The Postmen, who is ready to rock. If you email us with comments, we'll be happy to pass them along to him. And, of course, have fun out there.
Postgame: Well, that was the most exciting tie I have ever seen in my life. Tunisia could have folded after Al Jaber knocked that one in, but they showed some poise and scored again. Good, exciting play from both sides of the ball. To Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, thanks for making a seemingly boring game pretty kick-ass. So this one ends in a 2-2 tie. I'm outie everybody. Thanks for reading and Happy World Cup!
94 min: Al Jaber has another shot, but it's deflected. And that's it. Game ends in 2-2 tie.
93 min: THIS THING IS TIED! Tunisia scores on a header. It's crossed just outside the 6-yard box and headed in. This game is freaking amazing. 2-2.
91 min: Saudi player tries bending in a free kick from the right side, just outside the box. Deflected off the head of a Tunisian on the wall and almost goes into the top right of the goal. Tunisian goalie makes a sick save.
88 min: Tunisian player blasts one just high of the left corner of the net. So close.
84 min: GOOOOOOOAL! Al Jaber is in there two minutes and scores on a breakaway! I have chills watching the celebration right now and I have no ties whatsoever to the Saudis. That's just a cool story, folks. Al Jaber is a stud. 2-1 Saudis.
82 min: Al Jaber comes in for the Saudis. He's an old-timer that was coaxed out of retirement and is supposedly the best Saudi soccer player ever. Let's see what he can do.
79 min: Free kick outside the box for Saudis....off the Tunisian wall. Those always give me hope for a score, but let me down every time.
76 min: Hey, soccer fans. Don't forget to text in your player of the game to ESPN!
72 min: Saudi goalie gets tangled up with Tunisia player and both are on the ground for a bit. We will have stoppage time indeed.
66 min: The crowd is really getting into this game. Both squads are playing hard and with a sense of urgency. It may just be Tunisia v. Saudi Arabia, but this is a damn good game right now. Get at it if you can.
63 min: Still haven't seen a cameraman flash to Aladdin or Jasmine in the crowd on the Saudi side. I did see Abu and his funny little hat, though.
56 min: GOAL! AND THIS THING IS TIED UP, BABY! Saudis do some sort of kneeling prayer celebration. It's hot. What a goal it was. One Saudi sharks down the outside of the box on the right side and a few yards from the goal, crosses it into the box for his teammate. That dude administers a one-timer into the net. 1-1.
54 min: Captain of Tunisia, Bouazizi, comes off the pitch and is replaced by a substitute. Don't worry, everybody. He remembered to hand off his blue captain armband to someone else on the team. Phew.
50 min: A graphic on the screen lets us know the Saudis have had 13 managers in 11 years. Cubs fans everywhere relate to this.
46 min: No. 8 for the Saudis has the ball 2 yards out, it's just him and the goalie. He misfires and hits it wide right. D'oh.
Halftime: We got a 1-0 lead for Tunisia on an excellent strike in the box from Jaziri. The Saudis seemed to have more chances to put one in the net, but didn't. Tunisia capitalized on one of their free kicks and scored. That's pretty much the story of the first half. Catch you in the back 45, homeys.
Sidenote: Here in the lovely suburbs of Chicago, we've been treated to these new Chicago Fire commercials during the WC because they just opened up their new stadium on Sunday. They are going with this Hitler Third Reich-styled 'Generation Red' commercial. It's fit with large screens in the background of a player talking into microphones. Why they think this is a good marketing campaign, I have no idea. Has anyone else seen these?
44 min: A Saudi rips a shot from about 40-45 yards out. It is wide left. Two minutes of stoppage time added.
42 min: Eh, so I haven't said anything in awhile. Basically, Tunisia got a corner at some point a couple minutes ago and other than that, there's been a lot of dribbling, fouling and passing around the midfield. I hear this happens a lot in soccer.
36 min: Yellowcard on Tunisia's Haggui. He pulled down a Saudi who was on a run towards the goal. Free kick coming from about 35 yards out. Bouazizi of Tunisia comes within ten yards of the free kick before it's kicked. This is not allowed in soccer. He gets a yellow card for it. We re-kick; it's a shot on goal that is blocked by the Saudi goalkeeper.
33 min: And we have another corner kick for the Saudis. And again, instead of crossing it into the 6-yard box, they flick a little pass to the outside. That Saudi crosses it in and it's headed right to the goalie by another Saudi.
30 min: Really wishing I had HDTV right now. Because with the ESPN bottom scroll and the score of the game across the top, it's a little hard to see the tiny men playing soccer.
23 min: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOALLLL
Tunisia takes advantage of their free kick outside the box. It's whipped in from the outside and after it's headed by a Saudi off his own player, the rebound goes to Jaziri in the box and he hits a striking side volley into the upper left corner for a score. Beautiful.
21 min: Shep Messing lets us know that because they're an Arab nation, the Saudis weren't allowed to have alcohol or paid TV in their hotel and all the paintings were covered up. The alcohol and TV I can do without. But no paintings? That's a crying shame.
18 min: Saudis get another free kick right outside the box. And again, no shot on goal. Give me something to work with people!
17 min: Another corner for Saudi. Weak pass outside of box. Nothing doing. It's cleared by Tunisia.
14-15 min: Free kick for the Saudis about 35-40 yards out. The wall is set up right outside the box in the middle. It's delfected out of bounds. Corner for the Saudis. Headed by Tunisia out of bounds.
11 min: Shep Messing just said of Tunisia: 'This is a huge moment for them.' No duh, it's the World Cup silly.
10 min: Tunisia has a guy named 'Haggui' on their squad. LOL! THAT'S HILARIOUS!
9 min: Corner kick for Tunisia. Headed, but out of bounds.
6 min: Cool little pass from one Tunisian to another, he crosses it and...it's deflected out of bounds.
4 min: Both teams are sponsored by Puma, which I guess is kinda cool.
2 min: Whoa, looks like Tunisia just got fouled in the box. No call though.
0 min: Flags are being brought out onto the field. The Saudi flag has a sword on it, which makes them way sweeter than Tunisia already.
Hey there, Deadspin folk. We've got Tunisia. We've got Saudi Arabia. Maybe not the most exciting match-up on the docket. But hey, did you know the Tunisian government doesn't allow the commercialization of the national team? Or that Prince Sultan will be giving each player on the Saudi team 100,000 riyals if they win today?
Yes, now you are very excited!
But if not and you commenters are going to want to talk about something else, may I suggest some Guts/Legends of the Hidden Temple talk? I thought the Boy Meets World banter on Friday was great.
Happy reading, everybody.