pfim wrote:Good news about the red card situation is that Pope will be out for this game...
Indeed. Conrad for Pope needed to happen at HT.
When the Italian coach pulled Totti, the announcers were confused (not hard for them); it made sense to me- Totti already had a yellow, and has a reputation for diving and petulance (both of which are cardable offenses) with a ref who turned into a hanging judge. And I'm hardly any sort of expert on soccer, nor do I hold myself out as one- but I've played enough Championship Manager to know to pull guys with yellow cards before they pick up a red card.
Lippi removed a liability to give his team a chance. With Pope carrying a yellow and the ref throwing cards around, Arena could have protected Pope (and his sagging reputation) by subbing him out. Unfortunately, I think Arena is trying to emulate Lloyd McClendon by showing a complete inability to understand the situation and adjust accordingly on the fly with no in-game strategy at all. I'd say he was being Sven-esque, but Arena at least got a good performance out of the boys today, which is more than Sven has done this tournament.
Here's hoping the US can put in a strong performance against Ghana, regardless of the result. If they play well and lose to a determined side, so be it. If they come out flat and sleepwalk, there are problems.