Italy 1, Australia 0 (FT)

(Fabio Grosso makes a meal of it, and not an appetizing one, either)

93 minutes in and you can look at Lucas Neill’s decisive trip (above) one of two ways ;

a) you can’t possibly put yourself into such a position where a penalty might be called at that moment, especially for such a soft challenge

b) not since Chevy Chase picked up the pain killer addiction has anyone so carefully fallen over themselves as Fabio Grosso.

The first half of this match had a strangely Princetonian basketball vibe to it. Only without the precision or innumerable references to back-doors.

I’m pretty certain the massive exposure afforded to Giorgio Chinaglia this week is going to make him the Shelby Lyman of 2006.

Despite Shevchenko missing the first of his side’s penalty kicks after extra time, the Ukraine have advanced, putting 3 past Switzerland’s Pascal Zuberbuehle, while Oleksandr Shovkovsky provided the goalmouth heroics.

There’s no (head) but(t)s about it ; Luis Figo will be available to face England on Saturday, despite raising the ire of Nick Stone.

Having already advocated the employ of video replay, the Guardian’s Sean Ingle found Portugal/Holland to be “a cynical fandango of cheating, skulduggery and rampant play-acting.”

At this rate, the World Cup final – one of the great events in any sport – will be played between two reserve teams. That can’t be right.

Immediately after Portugal’s victory, Blatter played the blame game, saying: “I consider that the referee was not at the same level as the participants, the players. There could have been a yellow card for the referee.”

He should be looking closer to home. Last night’s farce was largely of his making.

Yes, the referee made some mistakes – missing Luis Figo’s head-butt, for one. But generally he applied Fifa’s pre-tournament directives on foul play, unsporting conduct and timewasting to the letter. He was only obeying orders. Blatter’s orders.

U.S. international Oguchi Onyewu’s poor performance in the World Cup is said to have put Middlesbrough off their plans to acquire the defender.

Former Duke hoops starlet Brian Davis (above) and Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks are reportedly in talks to purchase DC United from Anschutz Entertainment. Since neither have been accused of barbecuing a dog, this sounds like a safe move for community and the MLS alike.