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The Ghost of Raskolnikov

By Paddydog | Miscellaneous | June 21, 2010 |

By Paddydog | Miscellaneous | June 21, 2010 |

Ever hear the one about the guy who does something wrong but gets away with it but the guilt eats away at him and affects everything he does until he finally implodes? Ladies and gentlemen, meet L’equipe de France, 2010. Star player is sent home, trainer quits, senior exec quits, players refuse to train and let the manager know via an open letter to the media … and that’s just in the past 24 hours. C’est une bitch, la karma!

Meanwhile England may not be competing very well on the pitch but they are mounting a good challenge to France for the title of “team least able to hold it together.” Wayne Rooney seems to think that fans who cashed in their retirement funds to come support him in South Africa should be happy he showed up. What? They wanted him to actually kick the ball as well? Well Rooney has a message for them: “Fuck ‘em all.” Oh and by the way that US goal that Rob Green let in? Turns out he was moping over his recent break-up with lingerie model, Elizabeth Minett. By the way, have you seen the commercial where the fans hold up cards to show a sexy woman to distract a goalie? The Spanish are claiming their goalie was too distracted by the sight of his gorgeous reporter girlfriend on the sidelines to be able to stop that Swiss goal. You know these guys make in an hour what I make in a year and I still deliver a good work product whether my relationship is going well or in the toilet.

I’m beginning to have great hopes for this tournament. It could really be the year that the minnows shine. It may not be good money for FIFA to see the big guys threatened with a Round 1 departure but I think it’s great for the game to see less dominance from the same top teams every four years. How about those Kiwis? Spectacular performance against Italy. Look at the Aussies playing with 10 men and holding their own against Ghana. Paraguay is looking very strong. Serbia scores against Germany. I’m still hoping Argentina goes far because I love watching the crazy (sadly it’s highly unlikely we’ll see an England-Argentina match at this point: that would have been a real treat). And wouldn’t it be great if this was Mexico’s year: They’re playing really well as a team.

Do we want to talk about the disallowed US goal v. Slovenia? Or do we want to talk about the bigger problem, which is the impenetrable old-boy network at FIFA that manages to turn every controversial call into an issue that clouds the sport? I’m not a supporter of bringing in the instant replay. It may be my age, but I think it would slow the game down far too much and open the door to challenges from the sideline which would be disastrous for the sport. But look, there are three officials out there (and a fourth watching on screen) and they’re wired these days, yet we have seen refs consistently refuse to seek feedback from their linesmen on what they saw before deciding on a call. Couldn’t we at least ask FIFA to require the refs to use their linesmen effectively? I think that would reduce the arbitrariness of these calls by about 70 percent.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.