An extra bonus about talking to my aunt is that she agreed to record the remaining World Cup fixtures for me on her DVD-R player, beginning with a replay of the Italy - USA fixture that saw two goals, three players sent off, and a bloody Brian McBride in the opening 47 minutes. I sent her a schedule of the remaining group games, but as I haven't heard back from her yet I can only hope that she set the timer for yesterday's matches.
Ukraine is playing Saudi Arabia at 8:55 am. I'm awaiting the result with equal measures of trepidation and excitement. For those of you who don't already know, my mother's side of the family is Alsatian but immigrated to the United States from Ukraine. 3a Україна!
I watched the opening game between Japan and Croatia with Tsukasa and Kinto, her boyfriend, but despite the frenetic opening both teams faded away in the second half. Srna was the most dangerous player on the pitch and brought forth a refrain of "oh shit! oh shit! oh shit!" from Kinto on more than one occasion. I've noticed more than one person on my friends list commenting on Kawaguchi's good looks - today he made headlines for saving a penalty from Croatia in the first half. Full time, Japan 0:0 Croatia
Kinto was distraught with the result and put his full support behind Brazil in the next game. I was cheering for Australia and Gus Hiddink and spent more time shouting at the television as a result. Dida looked extremely sketchy in goal for Brazil, gifting chances to both Viduka and Kewell that could have turned the game around after Adriano's opening goal. The stadium in München was awash in gold and yellow, with a large contingent of inflatable kangaroos making the trip from Terra Australis to witness a close affair. Full time, Brazil 2:0 Australia
My hosts had errands to run after the match, which meant finding somewhere new to watch the final game of the day. I walked over to Josten's apartment, only to find that nobody was home, and then wandered around campus for thirty minutes wondering what to do. Min suggested trying a dorm, as the university's international students would likely have the game showing in one of the lounges, but with her flight to Alaska scheduled for the following day I decided to head home and hang out with her for one last afternoon instead. On the walk home I stopped by a Vietnamese restaurant next to our apartment for a bubble tea and noticed they had a big screen television playing the match between France and Korea (!!) A Korean family was there for lunch but left during the first half, which left myself and the elderly restaurant owner as the only ones watching the game inside.
Apart from Henry's early goal Viera had a shot cleared off the line that was all the American commentators could talk about until the start of the second half. If I didn't know better I would have thought Leipzig was a Korean city given the volume inside the Zentralstadion; it was loud enough to drown out the announcers at times. I wonder if anyone in Leipzig has considered establishing a sister city outreach to South Korea as a result of the game? Park Ji Sung scored the equalizer at 81' with crowd support, well-timed substitutions, and extremely dodgy keeping on the part of Fabien Barthez leading to an extremely tense finish. Full time, France 1:1 Korea Republic