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June 05, 2006

Netherlands 1 - 1 Australia

Yesterday's World Cup warm up match on Greek TV was the Netherlands versus Australia, a match which exploded into bad tempered life halfway through the second half.

Premiership ref Mike Dean was in charge, and I though he handled the controversial incidents well. The first was a penalty awarded to Austrlia. Dean let the game play-on after the foul to give Mark Viduka the chance to score. When he failed, the ref pulled the game back and awarded a penalty. The Dutch were furious, and as far as they were concerned justice had been done when Viduka hit the crossbar from the penalty spot. But that wasn't the end of it.

The ball bounced down and hit goalkeeper Van der Sar on the back, then bounced off the post, then bounced off Van der Sar again on the way out. In the group of players rushing to meet the ball as it bounced out from the goal, the first to get there was a Dutch defender, who kiplinged his clearance so that it bounced of Van der Sar a third time, straight to the feet of Tim Cahill who side-footed it home to equalise. I think, rather like England's recent spate of penalty misses, Van der Sar will be hoping he got all of his bad luck out of the way in the one game.

Only a couple of minutes later the ref got it spot on again, when he produced a rarity - a red card in a friendly. The Australian player, Luke Wilkshire, had given him no choice. Just two minutes after being yellow-carded, he scythed down Van Bronckhorst with a scissors tackle from behind. Again the Dutch were fuming, and the game finished far from being a gentle run-out before the World Cup. In the end the Netherlands lost three players to injury during the match.

I also got to watch a bit of Brazil versus New Zealand in the evening down at the Notos Internet Cafe. I asked if they could put it on, but I obviously wasn't watching it sufficiently enough for them whilst I was also working on the laptop, as at half-time they turned it over to some boxing that nobody was watching. Ho-hum.

Notos may not turn out to be the best venue to watch the World Cup - so far my shortlist of venues only consists of Galini (home of Das Boot) and Remezzo, plus possibly Hippocampus near our house, which has two TVs as well as two geese, and I guess it will have the matches on in the afternoon.

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