It is not entirely outside of the realm of possibility that Saudi Arabia could somehow sneak into the next round; they would need a (huge) upset win here and then ... well, they'd need a lot to happen. Meanwhile, Spain is already cruising into the Round of 16 and is (mostly) assured of the top seed out of the Group. So subplots are small, we'll confess.
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So, that's it. Spain take a half off and still easily beat KSA. They win the group and go through with the lovely Sheva and his Ukrainian teammates. Though KSA leaves with basically nothing, if there's any justice in the world, Mohammed Noor will be given an oil field or 4 when he gets home.
Sorry, readers, not even KSA will distract you any more. If you're on the east coast, lunch break! If not, back to work. Oh, and Prairie Home Companion? Not so much with the worth seeing. Mostly just really disappointing, because it could have been so much better.
Extra time: How on earth has the official gotten 3 minutes of extra time out of this half? Has he lost his whistle? The fans are whistling about the added time, though it's unclear (again) if they're disgusted Spaniards or merciful KSA supporters. Aaaand there's the whistle. Thanks for playing, KSA. Have a good flight home.
Extra time: Here comes Noor, bitches. OH! Al Temyat hits a nice crossing ball from the corner of the box; it's just beyond the reach of the magnificent Noor. That dude has not stopped running for a second, nor is he pausing pout like, say, Nedved likes to do, to make sure we all know just how hard he's trying.
90th minute: Another corner for Spain. Someone is hugging David Villa in the box. So much touching.
89th minute: Noor (who else) takes the ball the Spanish end line and lays it back perfectly for al Harthi, who thanks him by shooting the ball straight up. Noor has every right to mercilessly beat each of his teammates when the game ends. He rocks.
88th minute: Blah blah singing passing blah.
85th minute: The game has deteriorated into a hideous mess. Spain is fouling a lot because they can't be bothered to play, and KSA can't ever do enough with possession to actually threaten goal. Torres gets his shirt pulled in the box, and no one cares, not even him. He's thinking about his hair, and the ladies. Ladies love the giant, semi-dyed mohawk, don't you know.
84th minute: Foul by Noor. Is there an award for busiest player of the tournament?
82nd minute: Dangerous free kick from Massad's foul. It's one of those scary, untouched free kicks that turns into fairly impressive save because the keep is waiting for it to be redirected. Blondie slid over the endline making the save, but he's saved from giving up a corner by a phantom foul somewhere.
81st minute: As punishment for the crummy free kick, Sulimani is taken off and replaced by Massad, who instantly wins a free kick by jumping up the air and screaming when a Spaniard entered his airspace. Well done, sir.
80th minute: Oh for god's sake. Sulimani pounds it well-over the goal. Would you people make blondie make a save, please?
79th minute: I'll give you one guess who drove that last KSA attack. It's all-Noor, all the time around here. And, if it's possible for a team so much better than its opponents to humiliate themselves, Spain are doing a pretty good job of it. The last KSA attack was 2 on 8, and they won a dangerous free kick. Oh boy! Spanish keeper in action! He's telling them what to do with the wall and is being completely ignored. Excellent.
77th minute: Wow, the Spanish fans are seriously pissed. The whistles of disgust are nearly deafening. Well, now the Saudis are whistling too to protest a non-call on a "penalty," so it's hard to tell who is more angry. Just to be contrary, the announcers are saying that al Temyat's card for diving was undeserved. I have no opinion on the matter, because I've ceased to care.
72nd minute: Noor seems to have replicated himself at halftime: He's making every useful midfield touch by the KSA, as well as 90% of the tackles. Why, I may just cast my text message man of the match vote for him, because I want Julie Foudy to know what I think.
71st minute: And, in this game, KSA have their second and third corners, neither of which results in a shot, though the second was somewhat threatening.
71st minute: Sheva! Goal for Ukraine. Awesome.
70th minute: The bad news is that Reyes is off. The good news is that Tores and his mental patient-style haircut has come on to replace him. You've got to give him some points for taking his sartorial tips from Guti.
69th minute: Sulmani runs into a nice through ball from the midfield and hits a good shot at Canizares who flops helpessly but manages to get a fingertip on the ball. Corner #1 for KSA. They do nothing with it.
68th minute: Aw, Al Jaber just came off, mostly likely ending his World Cup career. He did score that one exciting goal against Tunisia, at least he has that to take home.
66th minute: Ah, it's Xavi. And Fabregas escapes the game cardless. Rob Stone is upset he was un-titillated by the lad. Rob, keep your personal life to yourself, please.
65th minute: Wow, even the Spanish fans are bored. If I'm not mistaken, they're wearing those sunglasses to disguise the fact that they're sleeping. Oh, here comes a sub! I can't tell who it is yet, but the racist Spanish coach is busy firing him up with all sorts of anti-Muslim slurs; he'll be on in a minute.
65th minute: You know what ad I really like? The Vonage one with the guy in the lobster suit. I feel no need to get Vonage, but does anyone know where I can get me one of them lobster costumes? Those things are hilarious.
62nd minute: KSA period of threat over. Spain are playing a game of "How Many Passes in a Row Around the Other Team's Box." The total at 45, they take pity and shoot.
60th minute: And, right on cue, he tries to settle a backpass and has it bounce 6 feet away. Canizares, you complete me.
59th minute: I want to see more of Canizares, the ancient Spanish keeper. His peroxided mullet combined with his knee pads and utter inability to settle the ball are making him my favorite clown of the tournament. David Beckham, you've been superseded.
59th minute: The announcers are trying to instill drama in the game by talking about defensive carelessness and pretending that giving up a goal will make any difference at all. To anyone.
57th minute: Whoa — the hideously-coiffed Spanish keeper just had to make a save off a reasonably threatening shot from long range. KSA have spent more time in the attacking half in the past 10 minutes than they did the entire first half. If I cared, I'd say something like "Get in, KSA!"
55th minute: Shit. KSA's decision to put together a coherent attack coincided with a)my unwise decision to accidentally unplug my airport, and b)My computer's decision to shut down due to low power, sending me scrambling for a power source. So I have no idea what happened, but it's still 1-0.
51st minute: KSA really want to attack, but whenever they try to throw numbers forward, they give the ball away and end up exhibiting more desperation than ... people who are really desperate. Uh oh, KSA keeper down. If Zaid goes out, they'll lose the player who has had the most touches today. Noor can't do it all himself, people!
50th minute: Oooooh David Villa (it's a little-known fact that Bob's his uncle) in alone wide, plays it back to Lopez who rips it low; well-saved by the keeper, leading to corner #29 for Spain.
48th minute: More of the same. Really, this is gorgeous football. KSA are standing in for cones, and Spain are just knocking the ball around at will. At the risk of sounding like a posing announcer, their interplay around the box is really wonderful.
47th minute: Whoa, for a second there I thought KSA were attacking. Forgot about that whole changing-ends thing.
46th minute: David Villa will come on for Raul, since they were both supposed to play just a half. It's offical: Soul Patch (or dirty lower-lip) for Bushy Hair.
In non-KSA-Spain news (thank god), the Portugal-Holland game on Monday should be fantastic. Two years ago in the Euros the Portuguese totally humiliated the whining Dutch (it was only bald colossus Jaap Stam that kept the score from being about 6-0) on their way to a second-place finish in the tournament. Actually, the game was sort of like this one — Portugal were that dominating. Really. Of course, if you ask Ruud van Horseface, the loss was entirely due to the officials. Freaking pussy.
Score in reality: 1-0. Score, in practical terms: 7045-0. Spain are toying with KSA, and there's nothing the Saudis can do about it. It actual makes me sad when I stop watching the pretty passing and look instead at the exhausted KSA players running their legs off in a desperate effort to not give up double-digit goals. If a tie meant anything to anyone, there might be SOME interest in the game, because KSA's countering (Read: Win the ball and slam it forward before you can lose it) is always vaguely threatening, in a half-hearted sort of way. But, since they'll only go through with a big win (*snort*) and a loss by the now-a-man-up Ukraine (*giggle*), there's really nothing here to keep us from wandering off.
So, it's the half. Educate us, Julie Foudy and your creepy eyes. (Oh look, the Portuguese flag just drifted by on the silly background screen. Mmm ... Figo.) Goody goody, more whining about the US game — what could be better than that AND Foudy at the same time? Be still my soccer-loving heart. Sigh.
Extra time: The announcers have commenced ignoring the game before them and are instead giving Ronaldo a tongue bath. Dudes, we know he scored twice. He's still fat and slow, and loads of fun to make fun of. Oh, it's halftime. Time to pee, excuse me.
Extra time: Crummy free kick from Reyes. KSA responds by hoofing the ball long and hey, a throw in across midfield! Go KSA! Oh, nevermind. Turnover.
45th minute: I think Stone just called an upcoming game a "tilt." Why is he still speaking?
43rd minute: Joaquin pulls about 4 semi-Cruyffs in the box, resulting in a gift-wrapped pass to Reyes, who has the keeper pretty much at his mercy. So he hits it at his feet, and the keeper gets down well to save it. As a chance of pace, Spain wins a deep throw in rather than a corner.
41st minute: Look, I know I'm taking about Reyes a lot and all, but the thing is that Spain is attacking down the left side about 95% of the time (which is another reason Noor has so much to do). Normally the lack of variety would be bad, but since it works almost every time, there's really no reason to change things.
40th minute: Off another long ball, Al Jaber has a half chance. Unfortunately, I took over his body at just the wrong moment and he tepidly passed the ball the Spanish keeper. Which was good, because he wasn't quite up off his rocking chair yet when the ball was struck.
38th minute: Rob Stone has stopped talking about the game (good) but replaced that mindless chatter with "witty banter" about the nutty Spanish announcers (bad). I just shot him, though, which should put an end to that nonsense. My own inevitable legal troubles are a small price to pay for temporary relief.
36th minute: GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL! Jesus, not much doubt about that one. Off a free kick from the left (stemming from a nice dive by Reyes, followed by a perfect ball into the box), Juanito heads a laser into the upper left-hand corner of the goal. The KSA keeper still hasn't moved.
35th minute: Noor, the only KSA player who is doing much that's very effective (most of it involving desperate defending), was just clipped by behind by Reyes, who was pissed to have the ball stolen from him. Noor's actually won the ball from him a couple of times, it's just that Reyes usually gets it back and therefore doesn't feel the need to hurt him.
34th minute: Doh! Al Jaber offside. Again. He can be forgiven for the offense, though — he's only been in the national side for 49 years and is still a little unclear on the rules.
32nd minute: Raul has a weak penalty appeal denied; insert American belly-aching here. Raul's hair is quite long these days — he clearly hopes the length will make us overlook his growing bald spot.
30th minute: Another great long-range shot from Spain results in another lame corner. Spain, those dudes in the box wearing read are on YOUR team. Their heads would be a good place to put these corners, rather than in the other corner of the field.
29th minute: Great strike by Albeda from a bit of in-the-box busy-ness by Fabregas, well-saved by KSA keeper. Yet another corner.
27th minute: You know, KSA actually are often a touch or two from a good chance. Their long balls (huh huh) forward are pretty good, it's just settling them and keeping them that's causing problems. There was just a card, by the way. And yes, it was bascially underserved. As if you had to ask.
24th minute: KSA coach Gabriel Calderon is annoyed by the proceedings. You and me both, Gabriel. He is, however, hiding his tears of humiliation well. It's only a matter of time before Gabe gets on the phone to start lining up his next job as a coaching mercenary (I'm saying it'll happen before the half.) I hear the US may need a gaffer soon ...
22nd minute: To their credit, KSA 5-man backline (a formation frequently implemented by teams that need a whole lot of goals) is working. They can't keep the ball, but they're effectively throwing themselves in the way often enough to keep their keeper from being too seriously challenged. Plus, Spain keep missing the goal.
21st minute: Reyes is pretty much having his way with KSA. Every time the ball ends up at his feet, he beat a defender or six. They're lucky he can't hit the goal.
18th minute: Arg. Reyes just missed a gift. Wide open in the box, he hits it right at the keeper. At least he looked good doing it.
16th minute: Oooooh. Reyes skinned KSA's right back, dumped it to Raul, which freed Joaquin for a great chance at the top of the box. He hit it over, possibly aided by the keeper's figure. Free kick, though.
14th minute: Aziz is done. Poor dude.
12th minute: Oh DIRTY. Raul picked up a floated pass on the endline, at the edge of the 6 yard box and tries to nut the defender. He missed the nut, but did get the ball through, though he was foiled by the keeper.
11th minute: Uh oh. Aziz's hurt, possibly because he tried to be fancy and yanked his hammie. The treatment on the sideline is the most action KSA has enjoyed thus far in the match.
9th minute: I spoke too soon! Noor actually executed an effective tackle and won the ball. Leading to, inevitably, a horrendously-executed free kick by KSA. Aaaand we're going the other way.
9th minute: Ok, seriously. This is already sad. Spain are bossing the midfield, and keeping the ball at will. Is it possible KSA forgot to send on all 11 players?
6th minute: Alert, Rob Stone said something sort of funny — and relevant! "Five minutes and still, no yellow cards!" In other news, Spain hasn't lost since 2004. As if KSA needed another reason to throw in th towel.
5th minute: Ooooh first chance for Spain. Raul lost it up top but things worked out conveniently for pretty Reyes to get in a dangerous cross.
Oh man. KSA are so screwed — it's taken Spain's new 11 all of 5 minutes to start kicking their asses.
3rd minute: For once, KSA's old man striker is not the most ancient player on the field. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Spain's new keeper, Santiago Canizares. He was born in 1902, and keeps a walker behind the goal, just in case.
2nd minute: Hey, first free kick of the game goes to KSA! They won something!
2nd minute: Yes, that's right: 11 new starters for Spain. Do you get the feeling they're taking this lightly? The sad thing, of course, is that KSA are, too.
1st minute: Ah, piss. No Shep Messing. I was praying for Shep to keep us entertained.
Welcome, everyone bored enough at work to read about Spain's b-team mercilessly thrashing the hapless lads from Saudi Arabia! I'll do my best to keep you up to date on the happenings, while simultaneously staring at the upper right-hand corner of the screen for updates on the efforts of my Sheva to make it to the next round. Which won't happen if they lose. Or tie, should KSA manage to beat Spain by roughly 32 goals.
Since he's carrying a yellow, Puyol has joined the masses on the bench. Defying all logic, however, similarly yellow-carded Cesc Fabregas is in the starting lineup. (If things get really boring, there's a chance updates will consist entirely of his proximity to the ball, and if he looks like he's thinking about whacking someone. You've been warned.)
There's also no Casillas, no David Villa, no Xavi and no Xabi Alonso. Yawn. In good news, however, Reyes is starting. Mmm ... cheekbones.