You might be sitting there at your computer, saying silly things like, "Why would I need a live blog of a game between Angola and Iran? Isn't there an excellent Mexico vs. Portugal game right next door?
Phooey, we say. The Iran vs. Angola matchup has plenty of good subplots. Not least of which: Angola, with a big-but-still-reasonable three-goal differential to catch up with Mexico, could still sneak in the second round. (They need a two-goal win for Portugal and a two-goal win here.) And hey, it's Iran! When else does Iran make news?
Your live-blogger today is Whitney Pastorek, of Whittlz.com and a very active commenter on these here soccer blogs. (Comment often so she knows someone's watching.) So don't forget about this game! Come on in, follow along in the comments, and hey, let's be careful out there.
FULLTIME So, 1-1. That's how it ends. I'd make some remarks to wrap this up but my boyfriend Eric Wynalda is talking to me right now and I have to pay attention or he'll shoot me with the lasers that dwell in his dreamy, dreamy eyes.
Thanks for the opportunity, kids. Kick ass, and we'll see ya in 2010.
92:12 And it is now the time in the match when Glenn and Shep are just going to natter on about what this all means, you know, in the big picture. Apparently, Angola has inspired us all just by trying— "Just the fact that little Angola was competing with Mexico for a place is remarkable," says Shep— and Iran should be very, very ashamed.
And there's the whistle.
88:52 So Portugal has beaten Mexico, but who cares. Honestly. Now the Angolans are getting ME depressed. I mean, what's the point? All your country has to live for is this one chance, every four years, to not be in a civil war, and now you're getting run into the ground by some jerk Middle-Easterners, your fans are fat, white, mustachioed guys, and Shep Messing likes Iran way better.
Oh! Zandi takes down an Angolan guy right outside the box! Free kick Angola in the 90th minute! Mendonca will take it!... Right at Mirzapour. Boo. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that's about it for Angola's World Cup hopes.
86:00 Seriously: this has gotten as dull as the first half. La la la. Zeke gets fouled, Delgado will have a free kick from just left of the penalty box. Here's the cross... and Mirzapour gets yet another fist, plus a foul from Kali. Kali? Like the goddess? Well, that's certainly macho.
83:00 Shep seems to have settled on "Ay-ran," and Angola have clearly lost their will to live. Which is too bad. They are not giving 110%, they are not running all the way through first base, and they're letting Khatibi just drill shots straight at the goal from the 18. This is sad. Come on, Angola!! Is this how you fight your civil wars??
81:53 A programming note: David Hasselhoff will be crying on Cold Pizza, at the conclusion of this match. I know you'll all want to set your VCRs.
80:27 And now we're all playing a fun game called "Boot it around in the midfield and then send a long ball that no one can possibly catch up with b/c everyone is tired, and then boot it around in the midfield some more." Whee.
76:54 Some Iranian dude is lying face down on the field. Like I care. I'm still trying to figure out what those women were wearing.
So, I have to go see "The Lake House" later with my friend Missy. Maybe there's a way I can use what I learn from that movie to turn back time and help Angola here, but I doubt it.
76:03 And they show two very fetching Iranian women celebrating in the stands, wearing what appear to be modified, full-length aprons. Hott.
74:48 Mahdavikia with a corner... OH SNAP!! He puts it right on the head of the man formerly known as "Bob" but whose name I will now spell out because he just scored: GOAL, BAKHTIARIZADEH!! IRAN SCORES!!
73:54 Iran almost puts together an attack, but the cross just goes harmlessly off to the side...
72:48 Your "It's a Small World" dippy moment of the match: Khatibi helps Angola's new captain, Jamba, put on his armband. Where's Love? Shouldn't he be here for this?
71:54 Alas, it is not to be. Figgy is out, Rui Marques is in! So what does that translate as, like, "Mark Street" or something? I shall call him Mark.
71:39 Figgy gets taken down. Get up, little Angolese white dude! Get up! Shake n' bake!
70:02 Khatibi had a good chance but miffed it so badly that Ricardo didn't even bother to pick it up with his hands, just let it roll to his foot and stepped on it. That's cold, Ricky.
[note: I will be blogging the remainder of this half topless.]
68:19 It occurs to me now that placing one's fate in Portugal's hands— in soccer or otherwise— is just a bad idea. Historically. Meanwhile, Angola gets another chance, very much like the goal they scored, but Mirzapour is there.
66:56 Zeke gets a yellow card for what the slo-mo replay reveals as NOT touching the Iranian player, who actually takes an Olympic-caliber dive and plop, complete with arm flourish. Who was that? #21. Who's #21? I will find you, flopper!
66:24 Iran makes another substitution: Kaabi out, Borhani in. No!
64:43 Free kick Angola, and Figueiredo takes it... rather poorly. He flatly sends it to the top of the 18. That was stupid, leather. No wonder you were playing amateur soccer just a couple years ago.
62:44 Mendonca is just shooting like a madman now. I think Flavio is still in shock. Honestly, I just like typing Flavio. Flavio!
The Angolans in the stands are still going nuts, except for the fat white dude with the mustache. Will! What's your dad doing hanging out with the Angolans?
Shep just said "shake and bake." I'm not sure why.
59 And all of a sudden everything at once! Zeke crosses to Flavio— Flavio!!— who heads it over Mirzapour... AND INTO THE GOAL! ANGOLA SCORES!!!
56:42 Glenn and Shep are just totally bitching out Angola right now. If they're so smart, why don't they coach? Huh?? Oh!! Mahdavikia took a long shot, the ball wiggled, and Ricardo somehow managed to block it with his face! The rebound is cleared! Dang!
And we are informed that Mexico's Luis Perez just got a red card. Angola! Step it up! God may have closed a door, but somewhere he is opening a window! We're in Germany! That analogy worked against the Nazis in "Sound of Music," it'll work now!
54:36 Teymourian from Iran gets a yellow card. I'm not sure why. Oh. He got into a kerfuffle. Neither of these teams are real mature about the free kicks.
53:51 We've just been informed that Mexico missed a penalty kick. Hope stays alive! Hope floats!
I really wish Shep would make up his mind how he wants to pronounced Iran. Is it "Eye-ran"? "Ee-ran"? "Ay-ran"?
51:46 There is so much pride and joy in Angola, says Glenn. As opposed to, say, Canada, where they just sit there, really. Shep follows that with, "It's a country most known for 3 decades of civil war!" So if you're keeping track: Togo = magic, Angola = civil war. I know where I'm vacationing.
49:45 Ouch again: Akwa just limped off the field as Khatibi interferes with a little drop back to the keeper on the part of Angola... and Akwa is out! Flavio is in!! .... Flavio? Really?
48:35 Ouch. Mahdavika just smacked right into Delgado, like the way sometimes I try and walk through closed screen doors. It hardly seems like there should be a foul if he's not looking where he's going.
45:14 Yes, we just went back in time, but stoppage time doesn't count in the second half. Here we go! Hey Angola? How about putting together an attack or two? Very nice! Here they come! And my boy Mendonca slaps one just to the left of the goal!
Note: Angola has neither scored nor allowed a goal in 222 minutes. I'd just like to thank Will one more time for giving me this thrilling game.
HALFTIME Nothing to report. I fast-forwarded right through. Thank you, Tivo!
But seriously, here's what I'd like to see from these two teams in the second half:
Iran: Spell out "Go Angola!" on the field with your bodies.
48:09 Delgado on the corner, it's a beaut, right to the back post... but Akwa takes out the Iranian keeper and that's against the rules. Oh yeah. On the slo-mo you can see Akwa all but clothesline the guy. He's having a nice conversation with the ref right now as Mirzapour gets the stretcher.
Note: The ref— Mr. Shield, from Australia— chose to have a chat instead of tossing a yellow. Cringer would like everyone to know that he approves. Additionally, "Mr. Shield" reminds Cringer of the ballroom dancing teacher we had in 7th grade, who forced us all to foxtrot to "Kokomo."
46:38 Can this half be over now? It is dull. DULL, Shep! PS: love the announcers and their total hard-on for Angola's keeper, Ricardo. Meanwhile, Cabungula— AN ANGOLAN PLAYER WHO THE NY TIMES DOES NOT HAVE LISTED ON THEIR FANCY GAME TRACKER AND SO HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW HOW TO SPELL HIS NAME, NY TIMES??— has the best shot Angola's taken all day, saved only by Mirzapour's fists.
45 Mendonca— love that name— gets a yellow card b/c he sticks his foot in front of an Iranian free kick like a petulant 12 year old girl. Technically, the "c" in Mendonca has one of those little French things on it but I can't be bothered. Mendonca!!
44:12 A couple notes from the crowd: First of all, it's been brought to my attention that I have some ducklings, as well as kittenfluffs, in the audience today. Hello, my children.
Second: A nice man named PJ just asked, "What's with the microphones on the refs?" I bring you answers. They are part of a communication system between the ref and his linesman. Also, at halftime— and we don't get to see this, thanks to ESPN— they put on a mean performance medley of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" and "Brown Sugar."
41:05 And Mirzapour gets his own chance to fist, on a corner from Angola. He doesn't do it as gracefully, though. Sort of flailed like a hooked bass. Now Iran's coming on the counterattack... and nothing happens. Which is ok, really. Frankly, both of these teams have problems. I think it would be neat if Angola could make it to the knockout round, but the—
Hey! Akwa just almost scored a nice own goal there, but everyone was so confused that he'd kick it straight up in the air in front of his own goal that Ricardo had plenty of time to catch it. Which was dicey, b/c keepers can't catch balls that were kicked to them by the defenders... but I guess we'll call it a deflection and go on with our day—
Anyway, like I was saying, I don't see much about Angola right now that's gonna survive 10 minutes against an actual soccer team. (no offense, Iran.) (I'm sure you're very nice.)
38:35Zeke takes down Madanchi in the corner, Iran's gonna get a free kick... and make a substitution: Hashemian out, Khatabi in! Good. I am in favor of players with less syllables in their names. Because I am a racist.
The kick... FISTED! nice job, Ricardo. OH! After the fist, Iran puts it back in sharply and Ricardo makes a damn nice dive to save the ball, then scrambles and gets his own rebound AND draw the foul. He's like Dwyane Wade in there!!
37:26 Angola gets a couple free kicks in quick succession, but they can't seem to, like, kick the ball in the air, so nothing happens.
36 Ze Kalanga (really? you can be named that?) gets taken down by Iran's "M. Madanchi" (again with the first initial), who gets a yellow card. Cringer approves of this one— Zeke was on a sweet run. It was a good takedown, and good call by the ref.
34:21 Aw. The ball was last touched by Love. That's sweet. Touched by Love. I wish I was. sniff.
31:29 Ok, Angola's waking up. They're gonna get a corner. I like the way the Iranian goalie is "E. Mirzapour," as though there are just thousands of Mirzapours just waiting to get on the field.
The first corner is cleared over the line by Iran. The second corner is cleared over the line by Iran. The third corner is cleared over the line by Iran. Someone call Bill Murray. Ah. The fourth corner is fisted out.
29:17 Mexico just scored. Dang. Now Angola has nothing to live for again.
PS: to the commenters who are shocked I prefer Shep to JP: Remember that woman who had seizures every time she heard Mary Hart's voice? Yeah. It's kind of like that.
28:34 Akwa gets his first real shot on goal, right at the top of the 18. It floats high, but he needs more touches on the ball.
26:45 Bakhtiarizadeh takes a nice corner, and that's the last time I'll be spelling out his name. From now on, he is Bob.
25:14 Cringer's pissed: Shep not only pronounces it "corner KICK," he also says "hand BALL."
23:27 Daei— you're gonna keep hearing his name— shanks a header, while Portugal takes the necessary 2-0 lead over Mexico...
22:41 Daei takes the free kick off the Loco penalty and Ricardo makes another nice save.
21:30 Loco, fyi, is the one with the little patch of dreds on his forehead. And he's in some pain. Meanwhile, Mattais isn't coming back, and is being replaced by Love. The Angolan soccer team is very much like a Beyonce song.
19:27 Stretcher. Stretcher. la la la. I'm sorry this is so slow, btw— I'm blaming TRL for the bandwidth cloggery. You're not missing much. Oh, someone else is down now. Uh. Who is that? Oh, it's Loco, from Angola! Crazy! "When he regains his health," says Glenn, "he's gonna receive a yellow card." Cringer cringes.
18:09 Mattias tries to turn the corner and ends up on his ass thanks to some slimy turf and Kaebi... he's gonna need a stretcher...
13:15 Iran's substitute captain Daei makes a nice feed to Zandi who takes a point-blank shot! Right at the Angolan goalie!
12:51 Nosrati has left the game, replaced by Shojaei. PS WIll, I couldn't blog the game with the guy named Fred? YOU try casually spelling "Bakhtiarizadeh."
9:43 They keep talking about how much the Iranian team has been criticized back home. I may be an asshole for saying this, but I don't want to be on a losing Iranian soccer team...
Holy cow, this Iran/Angola game is so boring they just cut away for a Bonds-style gamebreak. We have yet to see an actual shot on goal here.
7:54 Iran's speedy left back Nosrati is down, clutching his hamstring...
5:30Oh, hello! Portugal just scored. Glenn reminds us that "this can get very, very intriguing." I certainly hope he wasn't planning on having it be dull as bricks before?
4:20Iran gets a free kick and... nothing happens.
2:25 Jamba takes down an Iranian guy and prays to the ref not to get a yellow card. He's got one already. Man do I love these cards. Cringer says there have been too many, but I just told him to shut up because everyone knows that already.
:54 Angola stages the first attack and... nothing happens. But Glenn lets us know they need to change their attitude. Shep reminds us that they need to not give up anything in the back and find a way to score goals. I am so glad our announcers know so much aboutt the sport in question.
:25 So, as Will mentioned, Angola's World Cup is not over— if Portugal can beat Mexico by two goals and Angola can beat Iran here by two, Angola can be the first African nation in the group of 16. This is why they've got the Portugal/Mexico game on at the same time: so no one gives up. Come on, guys! 110% effort! Run THROUGH first base!
Pregame: Howdy, kids. Time to blog this sucker into submission. Iran! Angola! Game on!
Ew, this Stuart Scott / Scott Van Pelt commercial where they rip off their suits is a bit unsettling.
I have no one here to use as a funny sidekick, so we're going to go ahead and anthropomorphize the ceramic tiger that sits next to my TV. Cringer will be commenting throughout as he sees fit. Please respect.
A couple things going right already: We've got Glenn Davis and Shep Messing calling the game. Thank god. If it had been JP "You Will Listen To Me If I Have To Kill You First" Dellacamera, I might have walked.