I was reduced to tears, for serious.
Argentina--my Argentina--was robbed of all civillised decisions at their quarter-final clash with 2006 hosts, Germany. With all due respect to the latter, whose team has improved tremendously since four years ago, the Slovakian ref made it oh-too-easy for them to clinch the win.
Of course, Argentinean coach Jose Pekerman must also be held partially culpable for the loss. Removing two creative and influential attacking players in Riquelme and Crespo and substituting them for the defensive strenghts of Cruz and Cambiasso was nothing short of stupid, really. I mean, fine, Cambiasso is known for his goal-scoring capabilities, but only sporadically at best. And Julio Cruz? So what if Argentina was leading? Everyone in the world knows that a one-goal cushion doesn't spell comfort these days. And it's not like you're cursed with England's problems--you've still got terrorising weapons in Messi and Saviola, for crying out loud!
Anyways, I digress. What I really wanted to rant about was the ref. Could he have made it even more obvious that he was biased to the hosts? I'm not saying that the Germans didn't deserve to win, but I am saying that Argentina deserved more justice.
In my frustration, my father (who was on neutral ground) shed some light on me. "Do you think the fact that non-Europeans can never do well when the WC is held in Europe is sheer coincidence? The referees have been doing this for decades, my dear."
Take a moment and think about it. It's sick, yes, but it's the truth. Sigh.
That game was the last straw, and now I'm completely disenchanted with the WC2006. I didn't even feel anything when I saw England perish to Portugal, especially upon finding out that the ref appointed for that match was Argentinean. A commandable choice, indeed, given the long hate-hate history behind England and Argentina in the World Cup.
Someone call me when true fair play is back, please?