21 June 2008

What a Relief! and yet, Oh, Dear!

So Croatia was undone by Turkey at the last moment (literally).  On the one hand, this is good news, as it means I'm free to root for Germany on Wednesday.  On the other hand, I see on the web that Turkey are supposed to be real bastards; apparently they rank up there with the Netherlands and Portugal in terms of on-field behavior (and they did get four yellows in this match just gone, which bodes ill).  Yet the general sense is that they are a worthy opponent for Germany.  Well, I'll be very interested to see how it all goes.

I cannot say the same for tomorrow's Russia v. Netherlands.  I think we can all imagine how I'm hoping that will go.

Here's a picture of Croatia's Luka Modric, whose scoring skills are prodigious, and who does a nice front walkover, as well.

In closing, I'd just like to switch the topic for a moment and say that I find it enormously distressing that Robert Mugabe is allowed to go his merry way in Zimbabwe.  The BBC has it as their top headline this evening that Morgan Tsvangirai may pull out of the election because of the violent fallout foreseen if he participates.  If that's not essentially blackmail I don't know what is.  I don't think anyone is surprised that there won't naturally be a "free and fair election" under Mugabe, but I find it terrible that nothing is being done to produce such an election, or even a version of such an election, by pressure.  No one is boycotting; no one is even lodging any kind of complaint, as far as I can tell.  I can understand a hands-off policy on dictators that one can't be sure are dictators, or dictators whose people seem to like the supplied dictatorship, but political naive that I am I cannot understand tolerating with quiet observation a dictator who is clearly a dictator, and whose people largely seem to hate him. Although, of course, it has ever been thus. Pinochet, anyone?

And you thought I was just a self-centered, soccer-obsessed bubblehead.

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