The time for anticipation has come and gone. It's time for participation. Not ParticipACTION, mind, although the excitement of this match surely has Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod keeping fit and having fun by going at it like bunnies.
I'll be enjoying the match the only way I know how: by drinking and providing biased, racially insensitive, trivial and occasionally insightful analysis and play-by-play for my legion of anonymous internet fans. Or anybody else who finds my blog (one visitor yesterday came here looking for 'haitians fucking').
The match isn't for hours, but I need to do the legwork now, as I have a wedding to attend to this afternoon. Not my own, or that of anyone I know, but purely a professional engagement. The good: I get paid. The bad: I can't get a headstart on the pre-game drunk that will be needed to take the edge off when Brazil grabs a few early goals.
Here are the deets:
Qwest Field, Seattle, USA
7:30 pm local / 9:30 pm CT / 10:30 pm ET
No live TV coverage
Streaming options (will update closer to kick-off)
I'll be drinking the surprisingly alright MGD, a brew I had always scorned until I was forced (by lack of choice) into downing a few at a small town bar in Altona. If nothing else, it goes down easy, like Cristiano Ronaldo.
I should mention that Sportsnet will be carrying the match here in Canada, but not until 10 a.m. Sunday morning. As much as I love the Jays (and I do, it's a weakness), it's unconscionable that the network couldn't find a way to get this game onto one of its 6 or 7 thousand digital channels. Not to mention the risk of eternal damnation you'd be taking by skipping church.
We'll catch up later. . .
T minus 1 hour or so: The stream that I have the most faith in is this one. MyP2P has a plethora of options, although most involve installing P2P applications. The trusty CSA fixture page is available, as well as the PDF match tracker, although neither has updated yet.
The local rag found a way of sneaking a mention of this match into a wire service blurb about Adrian Serioux punking out David Beckham, but most of my friends and family, save for the ones I have told, are blissfully unaware of Canada taking on the world's best in soccer.
A reminder to readers new and old that you are welcome to leave your thoughts, whatever they might be, in the comments.
T minus 40 minutes: Lineup for Canada:
Onstad, Hastings, Klukowski, Serioux, Stalteri, Nakajima-Farran, Hutchinson, de Guzman, De Rosario, Friend, Radzinski
I guess the back four (right to left) would be Stalteri, Serioux, Hastings and Klukowski. Hastings and Kluka could flip.
The order the players are listed makes it look like a 4-4-2 with Friend and Radzinski as forwards:
Stalteri - Serioux - Hastings - Klukowski
Nakajima-Farran - Hutchinson - de Guzman - De Rosario
Friend - Radzinski
Realistically, we won't be seeing Radz play as an out and out striker. Nsaliwa had better see some playing time, or I'll bust a nut.
Brazil lineup: Julio Cesar, Gilberto, Maicon, Juan, Lucio, Josue, Diego, Julio Baptista, Mineiro, Luis Fabiano, Robinho. Gulp!
The feed is showing Sportscenter in Spanish right now, meaning we're watching ESPN Deportes. A good sign.
T minus 10: They just showed a tale of the tape of sorts, noting Canada's single trip to the World Cup, compared with 18 for Brazil. The feed looks like it should be of decent quality. The picture's a bit grainy, but it doesn't cut in and out, which is key.
Anthems now. A good shot of some Canadian support.
1st minute: We're underway. Canada in all red, Brazil in their yellow shirts and blue shorts.
4th: Nothing too dangerous in the early-going. It's not one-way traffic, but Brazil definitely has the edge so far. It's Hastings in the middle, with Kluka on the left at the back.
I spoke too soon. Robinho abuses Stalteri, then sets up Diego who slots it in. This could be a long night. One beer down already. 1-0 Brazil.
9th: It looks like a 5 man midfield, with Issey and Radz wide, and De Ro, De Guz and Atiba in the middle. The guys just finished a "Maicon Douglas" / "Michael Douglas" conversation.
11th: FUCK YEAH! GOAL FRIEND! Long ball from Klukowski, who has been perfect so far, and Friend outjumped the keeper for the ball. BONERS!
14th: Friend, De Guz and Kluka are nailing it so far. De Rosario is getting less time than he is used to and losing possession too often.
19th: A nice spell of possession for Canada there. De Guzman is playing deep in his own end a lot, but he is needed there. He is so calm on the ball; Spain has been good for him.
It appears that some no good Brazilian punk has kicked Klukowski in the chest. I hope he stays on, he's been great. He has a nice set of wheels to go with his left foot.
22nd: Robinho tries the same trick that worked on Klukowski on the other side, but Mike isn't buying his shit. At the other end, Issey misses on a fucking breakaway!
Minutes later, Radzinski and Friend combine well, resulting with a shot into the side netting by Rob.
28th: There was a brief shot of some Canadians warming up, including Nsaliwa. Then a Brazil corner that Onstad easily claims.
33rd: De Guzman forces a good save after some nice combination play with Friend providing the final ball after some razzle dazzle from De Rosario down the right. Onstad matches with a great save of his own, off Maicon (I think).
36th: I've been pimping Klukowski so far, but he just got skinned. Canada was saved by some swarming defense, and a bad bounce or two. Radzinski has done some nice work in this match, especially defending.
Nakajima-Farran has had two excellent chances to cross from a dangerous position, and hasn't hit the ball more than 2 feet off the ground either time.
42nd: Friend was bossing the top of the 18 as he does in Germany, and sent in Dwayne who had his shot stopped. Canada has some trouble clearing a little later, and Baptista blasts way wide from a dangerous spot.
44th: Luis Fabiano scores on a cross. Onstad got most of it, but it trickled over. FUCK!
On the bright side, Canada has still had more good scoring chances than Brazil. Brazil have been the better team, surely, but Canada could easily have 1 or 2 more in this match.
Robinho just misses from well out in injury time.
2-1 Brazil. At the half. Time to breathe.
My friends could not have chosen a worse time to show up. Who knows, they may not be my friends by tomorrow. I'll try to keep the liveblogging going in the second half, even if it means going hermit on them in my room. (I should point out they have no interest in watching soccer, and are trying to commandeer my computer to watch months-old episodes of The Office.
52nd: I've performed my social duty and I'm back. It's still 2-1. I'm looking into any half time subs. The one half time remark that I wanted to make was that Hutchinson's name wasn't called often in the first half. Not sure if it's the system or he was a little bit off.
Radzinski may be getting on in years, but he still has great wheels. He's been using them to great effect closing down attacks on the wing.
55th: BONER X 2. Goal de Guzman! Friend and a Brazilian defender scrambled the ball, and then Julian absolutely blasts it with his right foot from 25 yards.
Another thing I wanted to mention in my half time thoughts: I know this isn't the best team that Brazil can field, and Canada is surely more up for the match than Brazil, but holy shit. Is this Canada I'm watching?
Company left, and my roommate joined me to watch the game. He was into it enough for me not to bother him by flipping windows constantly. I took note of things at certain moments, and will try to share:
63rd minute: A horrendous backpass from de Guzman is picked up by Robinho who runs around Onstad and slots it in. This is exactly the kind of mistake we made too often in the last qualifying cycle, so lets hope Julian has got it out of his system. I seem to recall Julian misplaying a ball against Estonia in the snow that resulted in a goal, but I won't hold that against him.
Nakajima-Farran made a similalrly dangerous pass about 10 minutes later, but Stalteri got to it.
Brazil made a bunch of subs, as did Canada.
The Canadian subs were:
74: Marcel de Jong for Tomasz Radzinski. I was geeked because as soon as #2 hit the pitch he made a run that ended with a half chance for Canada. The announcers persistently mixed up Nsaliwa and De Jong, even though they shared that the clearly white #2 was from Malawi.
78: Nsaliwa for de Guzman. The terrible giveaway aside, Julian was great. It's nice to see that scoring for Canada wasn't a one time thing (Costa Rica in GC '07). Nsaliwa had a mazy run soon after as he got into the box and shot just wide.
80: Jaime Peters for De Rosario. Peters didn't show much once he came on, though really wasn't given the chance to.
82: Bernier for Hutchinson. Bernier took all set pieces from this point (there were 2 or 3). It is interesting that the whole midfield setup was subbed off except for Nakajima-Farran, who played well, but doesn't have the pedigree of the others.
It ends 3-2. 90 minutes ago I would have been thrilled with the result. But losing by a goal scored like the one Robinho scored is disheartening, even if the opponent is Brazil.
The revelation was Klukowski. While Stalteri, Serioux and Hastings were solid, though with occasional lapses, Klukowski seemed to blunt nearly every attack down his wing, while using his speed to get involved in the office. He hit the delicious long ball that tempted the goalie enough to come off his line and allow Friend to head over him. Maybe it's not fair, but I don't see Brennan winning the job at the left back spot for WCQ.
I'll collect my thoughts and come back later.
Scratch that. I just remembered that I have to be up to perform an airport drop off in less than six hours, so that will be all from me tonight. The evening ends with me comfortably buzzed, and cautiously optimistic about Canada's near future prospects. Even though the match this Wednesday with Panama is a better and more important gauge of Canada's chances in qualifying, this match was exciting and encouraging (and briefly infuriating and demoralizing at the same time).
Allez les rouges!
Much, much later . . .
CBC report: Game Canadian side drops friendly with Brazil.
By normal standards, the comments from readers on this story are surprisingly well informed, although the one reader who called it a 'depleted' Brazil side should take note that the Canadian team, missing guys like Hume, Hirschfeld, McKenna and Brennan (2 surefire starters and 2 key bench players), was equally shorthanded.
I'll try to post a link to a torrent of the match as soon as one becomes available.
torrent: Canada vs Brasil
I'm not sure yet which broadcast (and which language) is recorded here because I haven't finished downloading yet. I assume it's not the English Sportsnet feed but I could be wrong.