"All white is all right!" I like Adrian Healey, by and large, but I hope he's sitting up tonight, thinking about what he's done. That was as bad as "The amber waves of grain are into the quarterfinals!" or whatever Jack Edwards said back in 2002, I've mercifully forgotten.
Announcers, before each game, should go through a mental checklist of painfully obvious puns, and make sure they avoid them strenuously. Let intern headline writers come up with "Portu-gol!" or "Reign in Spain!" or "Greece Is The Word!" or "Ghana With The Win!" or "Ivory Coast - 99 44/100 Pure Class!" or "Chile Reception For Honduras!" or....
I know. I feel ashamed of myself, and I'm not even on television. Generally, these are moments fans will live and re-live in their minds over and over for the rest of their days. They don't need a too-clever announcer saying "Everything's going to be All White!" or "Baby, it's All White now!"
Of course, for all I know, ESPN New Zealand ended the England-US with "Yanks a Lot For the Draw!"
Anyway, even though Winston Reid and Shane Smeltz have about as much to do with MLS as famous New Zealander Django Fett, I'm still going to claim league scoreboard. Ryan Nelsen, Tony Lochhead, and Simon Elliott learned everything they know about the game from MLS (this might actually be true in Lochhead's case), and that expertise was more than enough to beat Slovakia, 1-1.
Actually, now's a good time for me to apologize in the name of all Galaxy fans for running Simon Elliott out of town...even though I would never have dreamed of booing him, I loved that guy. Well, I didn't like his shots. I mean, Christ, I'm surprised he never killed anyone.
Here's the thing about Simon Elliott - we all know right know he's clubless, and right there he joins a very select group of players who made a World Cup squad without being contracted to a club. (I'm counting the USSF as a "club" for the 1994 World Cup, and I think FIFA records do as well.) (I'm using Wikipedia for my research here. Why? Because FIFA.com is worse than no help at all.)
I had thought, with two unattached players, New Zealand had set an all-time record, but in 1986 Canada apparently took no less than six free agents, which is a record I predict will stand for all time. Canada went three and out with no goals, unsurprisingly. Elliott and fellow Kiwi orphan David Mulligan have already done better, although Mulligan has yet to see the field.
Now, literally everyone in the entire universe will support New Zealand on the 20th against Italy. Sure, it would be a minor upset if New Zealand were to win and take control of the group, but stranger things have happened.
Wait...no. Nothing stranger has ever happened, ever. But it would still be nice. Besides, in the entire history of the World Cup, Italy has never beaten a team with MLS players. True fact.
Apparently this was a day to celebrate the little guy. Because Brazil couldn't be bothered to show up for work, one of the world's most disgusting regimes has a propaganda victory. I'm sure it's worth the famine and repression to make sure People's Hero Ji Yun-nam and the rest of his playmates were being suitably pampered. Assuming the state media doesn't claim Kim Jong-il won the game with a hat trick.
I just don't get how you can look at a North Korea sports team without sharp stings of nausea. Who's next, Zimbabwe? Burma? Arizona?
Oh, wait, North Korea is an underdog? Okay, I guess I'll cheer for them! Yay!
Brazil should have humiliated them. I realize they were saving themselves for Portugal and Cote d'Ivoire. (I apologize for leaving that carat thing off "Cote," but life is too short to open Microsoft word and copy the symbol.) I realize this was the intelligent way to approach this group - half-ass it against the patsies, and get the results against real competition. I realize they saw the earlier game and decided they didn't want to waste their goals, so to speak.
Not interested. I hope Brazil misses the next round on goal differential. That won't happen either, but it would be nice for someone besides Germany and North Korea to show up to this tournament with a modicum of motivation. You're on the clock, Spain.