France continued its remarkable run to the World Cup Final with a 1-0 win over sniveling Portugal.  The match was a bore.  Neither side was convincing in attack, the goal came on a penalty and the only real Portuguese chance came courtesy of a huge gaffe by Barthez. 

Feel the passion:  French fans singing their national anthem during the last minutes of the game.  Always like when fans do this. 

Feel the passion II:  Budding Portuguese star and falldown boy, Ronaldo, getting booed every time he touched the ball.

Legends of the hug:  The two greats, Figo and Zidane, hugging and exchanging jerseys after the game.  Then Figo fell to the ground and rolled around like he was stung by a 200lb bee. 

Tone of voice:  Portugal’s incessant whining throughout the game exemplified by their coach haranguing referee after the final whistle.  Take it like a man Big Phil.  You lost.

Art Deco:  Portuguese midfield ace made a brief appearance early and then Deco disappeared for 80 minutes.  A lot of credit needs to be given to Vieira and Makelele for constantly breaking up the Portuguese attack. 

Overall, this game was not entertaining.  Portugal never attacked with the desperate intent needed to equalise.  France looked tired and content to sit on its lead in the 2nd half.  Even with the speedy Henry and Ribery up-front, they didn’t mount any meaningful counterattacks.  Something TTL never understands as teams almost never lose a 2-0 2nd half lead yet never really push for that 2nd goal.  Very disappointing (and understandable considering the huge stakes) that in the knockout stage teams are playing not to lose rather than to win. 

After 62 matches, 3,123 fake dives, 141 goals scored, 514 stretcher appearances, 3 billion kegs of beer drank and 39 tons of sausage consumed, the World Cup Final is set with France-ItalyItaly looks to be in pole position to capture its 4th WC title. 

Enjoy the off days. 

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