Things are improving! Unfortunately I scheduled my day around the defensive Portugal-Ivory Coast fixture and missed most of what seems the best game of the week between Brazil and North Korea. Maicon, the rightful heir to Roberto Carlos and attacking Brazilian fullbacks of the past, now has the goal of the tournament. With the match still scoreless in the 55th minute, he zipped down the right side and, from an improbable angle, sliced a vicious little ball past the Korean keeper into the side netting. Some are arguing that it was a mis-hit cross, but the way he turns on the ball says to me that he clearly meant it. If you didn't see it, you can judge for yourself here.
* Meanwhile, Slovenia's Andrej Komac has guaranteed a victory over the United States on Friday. I'm guessing the "Komac guarantee" in soccer has precisely as much potency as the much more frequently deployed "Karp guarantee" in beirut. I would like to see Clint Dempsey go for Glory in this match as often as possible, though.
* Back at home, American conservative talk radio hosts have deliberated a bit and decided that they still don't like soccer. Glenn Beck says Barack Obama's policies are "the World Cup... of political thought." SNAP. And G. Gordon Liddy argues that the entire enterprise is dubious because "this game ... originated with the South American Indians and instead of a ball, they used to use the head, the decapitated head, of an enemy warrior." Man, I need to listen to right wing radio more often.
* FIFA stat of the day: not only does Maicon have the goal of the tournament, he also leads all players in total passes attempted (108) and total completed (80). Even though I promise to root against the Brazilians in the knockout round, they do play a snazzy brand of possession football.
* Finally, if you haven't seen it, this was sent in by alert blog reader John Marvel: USA 1, England 1, with legos.