Skyfall

Yeah, that's officially a big negatory on South American dominance.

So Holland gets this incredibly easy group, then they get Slovakia and Uruguay in the knockout rounds - God! Talk about getting to the World Cup Final through the back door!

Semifinal games are usually incredibly compelling - it's finals you have to be careful of - and this one was no exception. Uruguay's going to get a lot less sympathy than they deserve. It's one thing to miss Luis Suarez - popular opinion seems to be that he deserved his red card - but Uruguay weren't deep enough to want to go to war without Diego Lugano. They played extremely well anyway, and a 3-1 scoreline would have been misleading and cruel.

And of course, van Bronckhorst's goal was one of those goals that give rise to poetic vamping along the lines of "This is why we watch this, the most beautiful of games, for the sublime poetry and grace of a shot struck unto perfection makes one feel blessed to have tasted one small morsel of greatness" etc. etc. In the words of Filter - hey, man, nice shot.

No one cares, but I thought the go-ahead goal was onside. E venison. I'm amazed Darke and Harkes kept yammering about it...wait, no, I'm not. I've actually liked Darke this tournament, but he was as bad as his partner today.
"I think any football player in the world would have done what Suarez did. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to complain for two hours about diving and not once consider the irony."

That guy Diego Forlan is pretty good, too. I wonder how he'd do on a big club.

But I feel like being a spoilsport, and not simply because of the whole cheating thing. This Guardian article is a good example of what we've heard about Uruguay's return to the upper echelons of the World Cup:

Also, a favorable bracket. This could have been the United States playing today, for heaven's sake. At least Holland beat somebody you've heard of before the tournament began.

I still don't think we had the defense to defeat Uruguay. And if we had, well, with van Bronckhorst and Robben in that kind of goal-scoring form, I think our Holland semifinal would have looked a lot like our Argentina semifinal eighty years previous.

But who knows - maybe a team without Uruguay's hideous reputation could have gotten Mark van Bommel sent off, and we'd have been up a man, and...no, they still would have thumped us.

I'm going to try to get with the program regarding this Holland team, and look beyond van Bommel and de Jong on Sunday. Sneijder and Robben are thrilling to watch, I suppose. And if van Bronckhorst doesn't decide to renege on his decision to retire, that's a pretty compelling story.

Besides, if Holland plays Spain, there's going to be a whole lot of tension between those two teams. You know the Dutch still remember the Council of Blood, and you know Spain wants to get back at their old colony. In fact, I almost hope Holland doesn't play Spain, because you hate to see the game overshadowed by old nationalist grudges like that.