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The Saudis can samba too

World Cup Diary

OIL VS. DYNAMO

GAME 32, GROUP H, JUNE 19, 2006 --HAMBURG
SAUDI ARABIA 0, UKRAINE 4
FINAL

Neither team out of this competition of course: a good score for either means a chance in the second round. It's a battle for second place, as Spain's advance seems assured (if they maintain the level of play they displayed in their 4-0 rout of Kiev's boys) UKRAINE JUST SCORED! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL ON A CORNER KICK HEADER! AND THE MATCH IS BARELY 3 MINUTE OLD!

That looked like a crotch kick into goal, not a header. Or a header of a different kind (are the kids at camp? Can we talk?)

4... The Saudis respond with a well-played free kick into the box, directly onto a Saudi boot for a shot just above the crossbar.

A draw will not help Saudi Arabia as they still have to face the Spanish goal machine.

10... Ukraine all over the ball. The yellow men of Kiev are playing like they know second place is theirs to claim away from the muezzin men.

14...Oh! Is that another ball that almost went into the Kuranian goal? The ball was kicked in, didn't quite make it into goal though, excellent defending by the Saudis. I'd like to see that replay again...

19... A Ukraine player got a Saudi finger in the eye, he's walked off the field, Saudis have a brief man advantage, the Ukrainians just play clear-the-ball.

20... The great Ukrainian Shevchenko, from whom we've been expecting plenty, finally comes alive with a shot smothered by the Saudi keeper. But he gives away what could have been a terrific counter-attack on a silly Saudi turn-over, overpassing the pall to a striker who looked to have a clear chance at the Saudi goal.

24... The Saudis just missed another chance on a well-placed corner kick, slammed just wide of goal by Al Montashari

27... Long-sailing attempt by the Saudis again, from way outside the box, shot about two stories above goal. If they're going to be trying their lonmg-rangers they might as well zero in on target.

Saudis' Ahmad Dokhi and Ukraine's Shevchenko, going global

32...Come on Saudis, the game is till in your reach: rgw Ukrainians are not on their game (not that we've seen much of the Dynamo game on these fields). This is still the team that got crushed in its opening match, its eminently beatable, and the Saudis are playing as if it was Germany or Italy. No need.

35... GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! UKRAINE

Rebrov takes a short pass from midfield, he's not that far from midfield himself, down the righ-center Saudi wing, he squares, shoots, and the ball rockets into the upper-near corner of the Saudi goal. He shot it as if it were a free kick, above an invisible wall, and the keeper had no chance (even from that distance). One of the better goals of the tournament (we haven't had too many of those in the last few days).

42... Ukraine have kept up the pressure since their second goal. Corner for Ukraine. Saudis fouling more.

Rebrov unleashed

45... Good to see: The Saudis are still at it. They looked refreshed when they came out of the locker room against Tunisia, they look unbowed here despite the score. They have nothing to lose, they'll be back in 15 minutes with more. The game isn't over.

half-time...

These Saudi guys need to refresh, reboot, and come out swinging to have "a little un-mullah-like fun" in the second half (to quote Geraldine Brooks).

Then again, if we're into quoting, "There is no fun in Islam" (Ayatollah Khomeini, in a 1979 radio broadcast). I see eteraz has joined us. He'll fill you in.

Saudis: "If our team keeps this up, we're renditioning them to our own black sites"
Blatter: "Where the hell are those girls I ordered?"
The guy behind them: "Heck of a cool colonoscopy shot."

Second half...

46... And just like that, GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL UKRAINE, GOAL SHEVCHENKO 3-0 UKRAINE

50... Let the prayers begin for the kingdown of Saudi Soccerroos. Should I resume my chess match with my daughter? Ukraine though is on a mission to score at least two more goals: one to erase its 4-0 humiliation by Iberian boots, one more to put goal differentials back to its advantage, if the muezzin powers manage an unlikely recovery (against Spain? no chance). The Tunisia-Ukraine match will actually be the deciding second-place match in this group. The Saudis for their part must be thinking that they'd like to avoid another route like the kind their suffered four years ago, compliments of Germany.

A Saudi just tried to mimic Greg Louganis in the Ukraine box and won himself a yellow.

57... Ukraine on a slower-paced attack, but still attacking. Can't say the Saudis have given up, but they don't seem to have that much to give.

61... The Ukrainian keeper was a few miles from his goal, betting on a Saudi ball going out for a goal-kick. Instead the Saudis managed to kick it back into play--too bad for them, no one there to make a goal of it. But the Saudis are still trying: they're sensing that it's either this or a Mission to Kandahar.

In case you were wondering about Kristen Pazik, Shevchenko's wife, here she is.

63... Can't say this isn't an exciting game: and yet another bare miss by Ukraine, a superb shot by Kalinichenko that flirted with the crossbar. Actually the replay shows the ball didn;t just flirt with it. It was a full-on slam. Now we have the Saudi keeper writhing on the pitch, holding his back. He's up again.

68... Shevchenko owns the Saudi penalty box now.

71... A yellow for who? why? Kariri... but why?

Shevchenko and Kalinichenko combine for a one-two shot, saved by the keeper who may not be recovered from that earlier injury.

Ukraine on the attack again. They've had 14 shots to the Saudis' 5; none of the Saudis' shots have really found the goal zone, seven of Ukraine's have been well-targeted. The ukranians aren't giving up, but neither are the Saudis.

We just got word that a Ukranian emissary paid the Saudis a visit during half-time and distributed pictures of Kristen Pazik. The distraction worked. No word on whether Kristen was veiled, or whether Shevchenko was in on the tactical pimping.

77... The Saudi attackers have stopped playing. The Saudi team is folding up tents. Oil production is resuming.

AND THERE IT IS, UNQUESTIONABLE YOU COULD SEE IT COMING ALL THE WAY FROM KIEV, GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL 4-0!

84... Shevchenko sprinting down the far wing, glancing up, seeing Kalinichenko virtually parallel in the middle of the box, unm,arked, you could read the play like a huge glinting ad on the Times Square jumbotron: Shevchenko slammed a perfect pass to Kalinichenvok, who slammed it with the kind of finishing power not even the great Oliver Khann could have stopped in his prime.

91... The Saudis almost had themselves a chance, but Kariri is taken down in the box, the ref says forget it, the Saudis try again, another dive, another forget it, and would you believe it, the Ukrainians are still pressing for that fifth goal. But that's it. 4-0, and Ukraine's game against Spain might as well have been a set up for the punch-line at Saudi Arabia's expense.

 
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And Kristen says thank you for watching.


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