Live Blog: Ukraine Vs. Saudi Arabia

People tend to like us to find "sexy" pictures of soccer "babe" fans, wearing little "clothing" and painting their "faces." But, try as we might, we were unable to find any sexy photos of Saudi Arabia fans. (We also had trouble with Iran and, unusually, Brazil. Odd.) We apologize.

The second game of the day is upon us, with Saudi Arabia taking on Ukraine. The Saudis actually could put themselves in excellent position to make the Round of 16 with a win, while the Uks — they call them the Uks, right? — desperately need a victory, or something, anyway.

Live-blogging for you today is Matt McNabb, and he's a virgin live-blogger, so bear with him. He'll do great. Send him your thoughts via us, come play in the comments muck and enjoy, yo.

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93:00 - The dogs were never called off, as Ukraine fires off a shot, just high, right before the final whistle.
It's over, Ukraine gets a big result, 4-0 over Saudi Arabia. KSA players rightfully look deflated. And with Spain waiting in a few days, it won't get easier.
Stay tuned for Spain v. Tunisia coming up in about an hour. Hold on ... *mutes Julie Foudy* OK. Thanks for hanging in there. I'm sure I posted too often, but I don't really care. It was my first time, and it was memorable. But I won't quit my day job. I'm off now in quest of a hot Saudi women, because I KNOW they're out there in these here Internets.
Mahalo.
- Matt McNabb.

92:00 - Al Khatani and Al Jabar each put down in the box with the ball on their foot, each with a no call. Had the score and time been different, so might have the referee's actions? We won't know.

91:00 - We'll have a fabulous three minutes of stoppage time, where anything (except four KSA goals) can happen.

90:00 - Kalinichenko was about a foot or two high of making this match 5-0.

89:00 - If ever there was a candidate to just forget about any accumulated stoppage time, this would be it. Yellow card given to Sviderskyi for a hard tackle.

87:00 - Shevchenko comes out for a curtain call. Eh, I would too if I was him. Another SOG for Ukraine, followed soon after by Milevskiy going down in the box on a nice run. No call.

85:00 - I was planning on using, "You're with me, twine," if KSA netted one. Alas, it won't happen.
Shevchenko comes out, with a goal and an assist, to a rousing reception from the Ukrainian fans in Hamburg tonight. Milevskiy in for him.

83:00 - Not much else to say on this one, it's been more of the same. That is to say, not many highlights for KSA.
And, here's one less. It's 4-0, on a goal from the recently carded Kalinichenko. They made it look quite easy. No more goal differential.

80:00 - It's been a "slow, comfortable kill" in the second half for Ukraine, said Glenn Davis. Yeah, but if your KSA, not so much.

79:00 - Sub for Ukraine, Gusin in for Voronin. Andriy for Andriy. You know, of all the teams that SHOULD have players called by only one name, these two are top candidates.

77:00 - Shep just had more enthusiasm in his voice calling Shevchenko's earlier goal then KSA has shown in a long while.
Yellow card against Kalinichenko for a foul.
Finally for KSA, Sami Al Jaber in for Noor. Too little, too late I think. He scored on his second touch against Tunisia. Had they won that game, KSA might have been the darlings of the WC coming in and not Ghana. A great story about Al Jaber that I can't recount here.

75:00 - How are Pittsburgh police going to give Roethlisberger a ticket for not wearing a helmet when Pennsylvania has no helmet law?
Oh, KSA has a near chance, but can't get it on net. It's still 3-nil.

73:00 - Yellow card to Kariri, of KSA. I missed what he did. Maybe sneezed on the ref, based on the officiating of the WC to date.
Save, Zaid. Been saying his name an awful lot. Thankfully it's only four letters.

70:00 - I have not gone to the well for a terrorism joke because I have a minor in ethnic studies and have some cultural awareness of the Middle East. That and I don't know who's reading this ...
Ukraine has done everything they've wanted in the KSA half of the pitch except plant a flag. Maybe in the 80th minute?
Ukraine sub ready to come in, allegedly, and it's Rotan in for Rebrov. His day will end at one goal.

68:00 - Shep again says KSA is not quitting. I agree, to an extent. After all, if they had, they'd be Togo-like. A pair of good chances in the box for Ukraine, but they can't finish.

65:00 - Another collision, between Zaid (KSA keeper), a KSA defender and Andriy Voronin. Zaid and Voronin go down, both appear OK, but Voronin up quicker. Zaid reaching for his back. If needed, they have an experienced (182 caps) keeper in Mohammed Al Deayea. Zaid went down in the opening match too, but did not come out.

64:00 - Two quick chances again for KSA. One punched out by Ukraine keeper, second one put wide left and out of bounds.
Then very nearly the goal differential was eliminated, but KALINICHENKO, I think, puts it off the cross bar. And yes, I had to copy and paste that name. I'm doing it for you.

62:00 - A strange series of events led to almost a wide-open net for a possible KSA goal, but no one was there to take the shot. Keeper tried to keep KSA off the ball and let it go out, but he backheeled it through the box while the keeper was grossly out of position. But no one was in place for KSA to put it home.

61:00 - Soon after posting that, KSA puts one at the keeper. Wait, let me try that again. KSA just is doing terrible, they can't score, won't score. (Waiting for KSA goal ... )

59:00 - I should have had a sandwich at halftime. I snacked on dried apricots during the first half, but I'm still a bit peckish. Oh, soccer? Still 3-0. Just because there are men in green and white on the pitch does not mean KSA has showed up for this match.

57:00 - What on first glance looked like a PK-resulting foul in favor of KSA turns into a yellow card for a KSA player whose name I forgot. Didn't look like a foul, I agree, but not much like a dive either.

55:00 - First substitutions of the match, for KSA. Khathran in for Dokhi, Mouath in for Ameen.

53:00 - Ukraine playing keepaway, with too much success. It looks like KSA is a man down, when they are not. A few shot attempts by Ukraine, but goal kick for Zaid. And it's right back to Ukraine. A KSA foul gives the ball back to the men in yellow.

50:00 - Finally, the Ukraine keeper gets some camera time. Nice green jersey. Might not even have to wash it tonight. His name, by the way, because I don't think I'll be mentioning him at all later, is Oleksander Shovkovskyi.

49:00 - A Hussein Sulimani foul gives Ukraine another free kick, but nothing doing this time. Imagine that.

48:00 - Shep says Americans might be able to spot Shevchenko in the MLS one day, as he's married to an American model. Ha! He'll be here all half, folks.

46:00 - Wow. Shevchenko with a header, and it's 3-0 Ukraine, about 30 seconds in. Started with more of the same, some slipping and whatnot. Goal went in off a free kick. He was marked fairly well, and shoved his defender which was not noticed. They're doing well at making up that goal differential already.

Stll halftime - Just a few more things, kids. Why Julie Foudy? If they had asked any of us here, would she have been on the list? Why no Mia Hamm? Brandi Chastain? I know there are others, but that's all I got right now.
Also, in another McNabb WC memory, I stayed on campus at my college (Wichita State University, Go Shox!) during the summer of 2002. Not many domestic students stay over the summer, but the internationals do. There's nothing like setting your alarm for some ridiculous time to watch the WC with foreigners. I also missed part of a Spanish class that summer to watch the U.S. vs. Mexico. Almost time to play on.

Halftime - Here's some tidbits from around the Web regarding the match: The two sides have never met before. KSA comes in riding an eight-match World Cup winless streak. This is KSA's fourth world cup (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006). I saw them defeat Morocco at Giants Stadium in the 1994 WC. The tickets were way up at the top, an eighth-grade graduation present. I bought a Morocco t-shirt. They did not win. I think my slight wager may have doomed KSA for today. Sorry Saudis.
KSA was blown out in the WC; they were on the wrong side of an 8-0 match with Germany four years ago.

45:00 stoppage time - Ukraine doesn't capitalize on another chance, but no matter. It's halftime, 2-0 Ukraine. Bring out the squeegees. This is a different Ukraine team so far, at least from the half of play I saw against Spain. It's not necessarily a different KSA team however, but they've got a more capable adversary this match. Some key substitutions, like with Sami Al Jaber in the opening match, could help out the Kingdom in Half 2.

45:00 - Shep likes KSA's attitude though they are down 2-0. They keep attacking, etc., he said. And I agree. We'll see how it translates in the early 2nd half. Two minutes of stoppage time.

44:00 - I think ESPN had a graphic that said Ukraine hadn't scored more than two goals in a WC match. Wasn't the first goal of the game their first ever in a WC?
Anyway, it was almost 3-0 going into the half, but alas, shot was off.

41:00 - Collision between players, both are on the ground and the ref is waiting for his choice to get up so he can card him. Yellow card goes to Dokhi. Ukraine with a hcance from the corner, headed down by Al Qadi. Corner for Ukraine, from the near side of your screen this time. Knocked away, but Ukraine maintains possession. Shot wide left from Ukraine.

39:00 - KSA player does a little head fake to distract the Ukrainian. Ball on side line, both player look at it. KSA guy looks to ref, Ukraine follows suit. KSA absconds with ball. Tricky. Now let's see that translate into something we can see on the scoarboard, eh?

36:00 - Goal Ukraine, 2-0. Rebrov with the netter, from a good bit out. Any NFL teams need a place kicker next year? It might as well have been on a tee. Zaid was beaten like a, well, he didn't see it coming I don't think. Or he slipped. Something. It was a good strike, but bad goalkeeping.

35:00 - Ukraine seems better able to mount an offense, in terms of establishing possession in the KSA half of the pitch and taking its time finding open players. No wonder I got 6.5-1.

32:00 - Goal kick from KSA after defender keeps a shot from getting on goal. Ball's been in the KSA side of the field for quite some time lately. As I say that KSA crosses over and might be mounting something. First two chances, nothing. Third not a charm either, Ukraine back with possession.

30:00 - Ukraine throw-in leads to another deflection off a defender, this time at the other side of the pitch. Zaid handles it OK, defender put it up more than at the net.
Shep said bad weather levels the playing field, helps keep KSA in the game. He said Ukraine a better team. Sure, on paper. But so far in the WC? I dissent.

29:00 - Dokhi, the KSA defender who kept the game from being 2-0 right now, shoots high of the net. Give him credit for taking the shot though. Throw enough at the wall, some might stick. Or at the goal, some might go in, for those needing help making that connection.

27:00 - Lots of back and forth so far without many sustained possessions. ESPN tells us no team has advanced to the round of 16 after losing by four goals in their opener, or something like that. Sometimes facts get in the way of truth. And the truth is, Ukraine is better right now. The scoreboard sayeth so.

24:00 - Rusol almost puts another one in, but this one would have equalized it. Corner for KSA, and ... it's a bit long, going for back post, but out and now a goal kick. When I get a chance to watch closely, some players seem to look timid about the damp field. I know I would be, but I don't own cleats.

23:00 - If you're on AOL IM and want to chime in to harass, I'm EasyMacWSU on there. But don't hit on me, I'm busy.

21:00 - Shevchenko's third shot of the match is handled easily by Zaid. The only goal of the match so far in the 4th minute was brought to you by Andriy (surprise!) Rusol, a 23-year-old with 24 caps and one goal coming into the match.
First yellow to Ukraine, Nesmachnyi, defender, #2.

20:00 - Hey, I HAVE been spelling Shevchenko right. That journalism degree is good for something, eh? (note to coworkers and bosses: I kid. Really. I love my job and all about it.)

17:00 - Shevchenko, barely onside, can't catch a ball through the box, picked by Zaid. Shevchenko smiles about it. Maybe they do feel comfortable up 1-0.

15:00 - KSA free kick, but a foul sends the ball the other way. Kariri runs under #22 for Ukraine. And the wave is going around the stadium. For shame, football fans. For shame.
Throw in for KSA leads to a Ukraine foul. KSA possesses, slowly trying to set something up. Loses it, recovers and a free kick misses everyone. Ball cleared.

13:00 - another Ukraine corner, head by Shevchenko (not even close to spelled right I think) but out on defender. Another corner, another ball knocked over the net, and a third straight corner for Ukraine.
Third time nearly a charm, another header from Shevchenko, off a defender's chest. Defender on the line, thank you very much. Extra for him.

11:00 - Really Glenn, I can watch this in HD? I didn't know that from the other 985 times I've heard it since 9 June. Thanks.
Save Zaid, and a quick effort the other way for KSA, but nothing. Now we're back in the other end, and Ukraine gives it back. For a team that lost 4-0 (and it really wasn't that close), Ukraine seems content with a 1-0 lead.

9:00 - Despite the rain, the game lacks fluidity at the moment. Zaid, KSA keeper, declined to catch the ball last time and opted for the two-fisted punch. Speaking of which, at least one Klitschko brother is in attendance this evening.
One hand quasi-save by Zaid. And back the other way for KSA. Good opportunity for a second, but a flock of yellow shirt defenders interfere, and goal kick Ukraine.

7:00 - Ukraine looks back on their heels under KSA pressure. Replay of the goal shows it went off the Ukraine guy's (I'll get his name) knee or leg in a bit of organized chaos that usually is a corner kick.
Ukraine has no Vladyslav Vashchuk, a defender, out on red card.

5:00 - Sorry, that goal came in the 4th minute. It is the Ukraine's first WC goal, like, ever. Wowie. They almost gave it right back on a free kick. And on the goal, Noor, the defender, slipped. Mother Nature conspires.

1:00 - KSA goal kick, quickly back to Ukraine, who plays nice and gives it right back. Sharing is caring. KSA keeper Zaid misplays ball, maybe slips on wet pitch, and Ukraine corner kick. Header off to the side, but off defender Noor. Another corner. Take two, and it's 1-0 Ukraine, with a goal in the 3rd minute. A dream start for Ukraine, Messing says. I concede.

Kickoff:
Game on. We've got an English ref, so we'll see who he dislikes more. The slick field is already evident less than a minute in. Let's hope we don't see too many stretcher runs. Or let's, you know, whatever works for you.


Still pre-game:
Much was made by the Deadspin faithful in the first Ukraine matchup of the parade of Andriys for those boys in yellow. However, the Kingdom (heretofore called KSA) has a seven-pack of Mohammeds on their side. So.

Pre-game:
I should now mention I laid a lil bit of $ on Saudi Arabia to win today, on Bodog.com, at 6.5-1. Not that it matters.

Anthem time:
I'm going to have to disagree with ESPN's talking heads in the studio. They're favoring the Ukraine, saying the Kingdom couldn't put their first game away when they had a lead. I disagree. They did not get drubbed 4-0. Go Saudi Arabia.
"The Ukraine got smacked by Spain," says everyone's favorite (ahem), Glenn Davis, retired Houston Astro. He and Shep on this match ... be glad you're following along here.

Welcome, kids, to Hamburg, Germany, the northernmost World Cup city this year. It's been raining, and through the game there's a chance of rain, temps in the low 70s. Who does that favor? *shrug*