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Argentina Beats Brazil, 3-0

Final: 3-0 Argentina. The Argentines dance in a circle and then salute the fans. The Brazilians don't. I'm not sure the protocol here, but there was definitely no line of players shaking hands after this one.

The Argentines will face Nigeria in Saturday's final, after the Africans pounded Belgium 4-1 today. The competition moves from Workers Stadium to the National Stadium, aka the Bird's Nest, which could make for some additional electricity. And both men's and women's finals promise offense; the four finalists combined for 15 goals in their semifinal games.

[And many apologies to all who saw the faulty headline. Completely, totally, 100 percent my fault on that one. The original headline said 'Brazil vs. Argentina,' and in my rush to get down to the mixed zone I just put in a 3 and a 0 without changing the order. Not a good feeling, and I'm sorry. But no, I wasn't drinking, and as it turned out they shut down the mixed zone due to the crowd so I didn't make that, either.]

90th minute: Finally an Argentine sub, Sosa for Riquelme. One minute of extra time. When Argentina lays back, the crowd boos. When they want, the Argentines still find attacking space. As well they should.

84th minute: Yeah, like I was saying. Reserve Thiago Neves sweeps the leg against Mascherano, and he's sent off. Brazil down 3-0 on the scoreboard, down 11-9 on the field.

81st minute: And that was inevitable. Red card for Brazil's Lucas, with a pretty nasty tackle from behind on Mascherano. This could get embarrassing. Players bunched together, pointing fingers. Actually, I guess it already is a bit embarrassing.

79th minute: Ronaldinho attempting to do it all himself, loses control. Sorry for confusing references to fake fans; there's one large section, behind one goal. Crowd just announced at 52,900.

77th minute: And with the cheering Argentine media crowd now gone, Dan gets an awesome seat. Brazil getting chippy.

75th minute: Messi to Aguero, who gets pressure from behind by Breno and goes down. Ref gives the penalty. WIth cameras flashing everywhere, Riquelme puts it right at the keeper, who dives left helplessly. It's 3-0 Argentina.

74th minute: Press release: "Because of the extremely high numbers of journalists attending the Argentina V Brazil game, admission to the press conference will be by ticket only. Preference will be given to journalists from Argentina and Brazil."

72nd minute: Brazil a third sub, with Jo in for Diego. If one more media member poses for a photo in front of me, this blog will likely come to a close. Messi flirting with yet another breakaway. Tell MSNBC not to cut away again, because more fireworks are coming.

70th minute: Spectating tip: Never count on a bucket of popcorn and four rolls from a Chinese soccer stadium to be dinner. Brazil showing all sorts of creativity on offense, which was entirely missing until the deficit. Messi goes through four defenders but no shot.

68th minute: Yeah, that was the same crowd that was just chanting for Argentina. If the referees teamed up for a goal, the crowd here would cheer. Have I mentioned that members of the press stood and went nuts for both Argentina goals? Sporting culture outside the U.S. is a bigger adjustment than the food or transportation.

65th minute: And wackiness continues. Ronaldinho beats the keeper cleanly but finds wood on the free kick, the rebound is crossed and slotted in (no replays, sorry), Brazil sprints back toward the mid stripe and the PA system starts playing the celebration music, but it's offside the whole way. The crowd boos.

65th: And Argentina picks up a yellow on the free kick. They don't announce yellows here. That's nice.

63rd minute: Dangerous cross by Rafinha knocked out by Garay. Corner doesn't develop, but Argentina's Pareja picks up a yellow.

60th minute: Messi nearly breaks free. Brazil substitutes: Thiago Neves for Hernandez, and Pato for Rafael Sobis. The crowd's chanting "Ar-gen-tin-a."

58th minute: 2-0 Argentina. Sustained offensive brilliance by the Argentines or a passive Brazilian defense? Either way, it started with a free kick that wasn't kicked, with Di Maria and Messi skirting around the perimeter unmolested. Finally a cross from Garay (I think) to Aguero, who had plenty of net to look at and didn't make a mistake.

54th minute: And now Brazil is alive; a cross from Rafinha to Ronaldinho is just a hair too far and is punched away, and then Rafael Sobis beats the keeper but finds the post. Then they're back again, and Rafinha's dangerous attempt floats wide. The crowd roars. Brazil apparently needed the deficit to get creative.

53rd minute: Goal Argentina. Di Maria sends a left-footed drive into the box, onto a charging Aguero, who attempts to get a foot on it. Tough to tell on the replay, but looked like it was the hip that did it.

51st minute: Fake fans try to get crowd into it, fail. The speedy Aguero briefly sees space on the left, but he's closed out by three defenders. Argentina's speed, though, has been obvious several times.

48th minute: Rafael Sobis on a nice run, but he's offside.

47th minute: Stadium could really use some Hungarian handball fans. It's dead again. Media members busy posing for photographs, further limiting my view. Neither team can string possession together.

SECOND HALF

End first half: After one minute of stoppage, still no score. Bring on the weird mascots and soccer cheerleaders. "Another fabulous performance," the PA promises.

Argentina 2-0 shots on goal, 4-3 shots, 3-0 corners at the half.

PA announces gold medal standings, with China on top. Not much reaction from the crowd.

Man walks buy wearing signed Messi jersey and media pass. Nice.

Cheerleaders focus on small group of Brazilian supporters during their routine. Smart move.

First half yellows for Argentina's Zabaleta, and Brazil's Breno and Hernanes.

I'm no cultural anthropologist, or whatever, but the reaction Ronaldinho is getting here feels similar to what Kobe gets every night at Wukesong Gymnasium; touching the ball is enough for either to draw roars. Of course, Kobe dunks a lot more than Ronaldinho.

Maradona again on the big screen, talking on his cell phone. He waves. More cheering.

44th minute: Repeated lackadaisical play by the Brazilian back line. This game screams 1-0 Argentina.

43rd minute: Long left-footed try by Brazil's Hernanes soars high.

41st minute: They say America has a highlight reel culture, but Chinese Olympic crowds are worse. Dead silence in between pleasing plays.

And now Messi with sublime work in front of the net. His left-footed try is pushed wide by the keeper. Argentines keep possession, and the fans chant for Messi. Set piece from the right corner is again handled by the keeper.

39th minute: Oddly orange full moon overhead, or nearly full anyhow. Ronaldinho nearly springs Rafael Sobis down the left side. It's another night of heavy humidity. Brazilians keep gambling on defense. Di Maria and Zabaleta more nifty giving and going, but nothing doing.

35th minute: Marcelo cross to Rafael Sobis, who gets a head on it but without direction.

32nd minute: And here's the best chance thus far, as Messi is tripped up just outside the box on the right side. Riquelme's try goes straight into the wall, and after some ping-ponging a cross skirts dangerously in front of the Brazil net. No one home.

31st minute: Marcelo creates space on the left flank for Brazil, but launches his bid far off target.

28th minute: Brazil's Rafael Sobis goes down, and when he eventually gets back up the fans thunderstick their approval. Maradona gets a big cheer on the big screen and waves.

26th minute: It's sort of depressing to realize that I'd have a much better grasp on this game if I had stayed at the office. The wave gets interrupted by media seating, and the fans boo the media.

A little give and go from Messi to Gago and back draws oohs and ahhs, as does Ronaldinho dribbling through three Argentines, although both plays fizzle.

24th minute: Turnover by Brazil's Anderson without any pressure draws boos, but the crowd then launches into a "Brasil" chant.

Did you know that at Olympic soccer games anyone who orders a Coke has to wait while the staffer pours it out of the bottle. It's not the speediest system. Yeah, that's right, I still can't see.

20th minute: Brazil's Breno gets a yellow on what looks like a tough call. Fans start doing the wave. The free kick is handled by Renan.

17th minute: Argentina corner kick grabbed by Renan, the Brazilian keeper.

12th minute: And Messi fires wide from close range for Argentina.

8th minute: Since I can't really see the field, I can tell you this:

Every time Ronaldinho touches the ball, the crowd goes wild

Brazil has had the better of the scoring chances, and there's a lot more yellow than blue in the crowd.

Strangely, there are pockets of empty seats scattered throughout the stadium, although virtually none of the fake yellow-shirted fans. And I haven't seen a media crowd close to this size.

Pre-game: So apparently this soccer thing is popular. Who knew?

Not to throw my boss under the bus, but for two weeks I've heard about how no one really cares about Olympic men's soccer, even the hardcore footie fans, and how the women's tournament and the Mr. Clean Sid Breem Hakeem Kareem Dream Redeem Team were both bigger deals.

Then I tried to get onto a media bus to go to Workers Stadium 90 minutes before the game was scheduled to start. No chance. Packed full. Media members hanging out the door and filling the stairwell and trying to jam their way in. A second bus came. That one quickly became standing room only. Easily the most diverse and biggest media crowd I've seen heading to any venue.

I was at the U.S.-China men's basketball game, which had all the buzz you could want, and it was nothing like that. Not even close. Once we got here, more mayhem, with media members trying to force their way into the media section, the Chinese security guards insisting it was full and threatening arrest, reinforcements stepping in, etc. We all got up just before kickoff, and the game is now underway, although I can barely see anything from my seat. But I will provide live updates here, and welcome your thoughts below.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 19, 2008; 8:59 AM ET
Categories:  Olympics  
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Comments

Games in on MSNBC, Telemundo and Olympic soccer channel.

Pato begins the match on the bench. If he gets in, I think he could make the difference in this match.

Posted by: Fan | August 19, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Dear God, why don't they just start Pato?

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | August 19, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Dan, appreciate the coverage. Finally an honest eye can see which sport worth the media attention, huh? Good thing you figure this out and brings the truth of the great game of beautiful football.

Posted by: td | August 19, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Dan, for those of us stuck at work, we really appreciate this blog, even if you can't see what is going on too well, given the crowds and your location. Keep us the good work.

Posted by: Dsmac | August 19, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

And that's exactly the way to throw your boss under the bus.

A bus with media hanging on its doors at that.

Posted by: StetSports.com | August 19, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"The crowd's chanting "Ar-gen-tin-a."

Looks like it's taken the natives about 60 minutes to realize that Ronaldinho is a lazy has-been and Messi is the business.

Thanks for the live updates Dan.

Posted by: Kev | August 19, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Why is MSNBC showing commercials during the match?! We missed the second goal!

Posted by: Louise | August 19, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

thanks man, your blog keeps us in the loop.

Damn you argentina.

Posted by: from the office | August 19, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Why is MSNBC showing commercials during the match?! We missed the second goal!

Posted by: Louise | August 19, 2008 10:26 AM

Wow - that is seriously bush league. Way to go Mouthpiece of the Chinese Government, errr... I mean NBC.

Posted by: Kev | August 19, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I thought that there were no fake fans there. I'm so confused, but it happens a lot.

Posted by: Sherry | August 19, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

thanks for the update, massively appreciated

Posted by: Izzy | August 19, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

AR-GEN-TINA, AR-GEN-TINA, AR-GEN-TINA, AR-GEN-TINA, AR-GEN-TINA, AR-GEN-TINA, AR-GEN-TINA, AR-GEN-TINA.
GRANDE AGUEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo !!!!

Posted by: Marcos | August 19, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

FWIW, the Olympic Soccer Channel has been awesome. That is when I'm not working and at home watching it. Wish they would just put the day's game on a continual replay loop, but it's off the air in the evenings. Jerks.

So it looks like the Fox Soccer Channel hosts can continue saying that the Brazilians have never won a gold medal in soccer.

Posted by: Kim | August 19, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

So it looks like the Fox Soccer Channel hosts can continue saying that the Brazilians have never won a gold medal in soccer.

Posted by: Kim | August 19, 2008 10:38 AM

That sound you hear is 187 million Brazilians yawning and mentioning their 5 World Cups. :-)

Posted by: Kev | August 19, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

This Guy talks more about Brazil than Argentina....
Bro Argentina is prob the only team in the hole world that Brazil RESPECTS WITH FEAR, and we are known to kick their ass if we feel like it. And the same goes to Arg. Brazil is the only team in the entire world that ARG respects.
You are watching 1st WORLD CLASS FOOTBALL...
And when is everyone going to realise that Messi is just MEssi ... thats it.... there are in my opinion better players, Aguero is one of them.

Posted by: Antonio | August 19, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Dan:
Thanks for all your coverage.
Did you write a book on football?

Posted by: Vikram | August 19, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

74th minute: Press release: "Because of the extremely high numbers of journalists attending the Argentina V Brazil game, admission to the press conference will be by ticket only. Preference will be given to journalists from Argentina and Brazil."
.........................................

But this policy will work in your favor when you cover the women's final on Thursday, won't it?

Also, wasn't Maradona's cellphone rather oversized? It looked almost like the proverbial 80s-vintage brick.

Posted by: The Jeff | August 19, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

That sound you hear is 187 million Brazilians yawning and mentioning their 5 World Cups. :-)

Posted by: Kev | August 19, 2008 10:44 AM
.........................................

It is precisely because they have five WC titles, but no Olympic gold, that at this point (or under the circs, 2012), a gold medal would be a big deal to a lot of Brasilians.

Posted by: The Jeff | August 19, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Vamos vamos Argentina!!!!

Posted by: jpAcosta | August 19, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Jo was pretty terrible. ronaldhino is lazy. the argentinians were diving all over. Great game, though.

Posted by: chris | August 19, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Argentina

But we are

PENTACAMPEƵes

Posted by: Adriana lima | August 19, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Washington Post is self-cannibalizing with competing matchday threads.

Posted by: Starbucks | August 19, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Shouldn't that say Argentina beat Brasil?

Posted by: Mr Falklands | August 19, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

So is anybody going to fix the headline? Bueller?

Posted by: Andy | August 19, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Another game where Argentina teachs Brazil to play FOOTBALL

Posted by: Sebastian Velez | August 19, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Shouldn't that say Argentina beat Brasil?

Posted by: Mr Falklands | August 19, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Please rephrase your headline!

Posted by: Carolyn | August 19, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Aguante Argentina.

Posted by: Will Rod | August 19, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Argentina won. Change the headline, for goodness sake!

Posted by: Donald | August 19, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully we'll win the gold medal again!

Posted by: carlitox | August 19, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I am my voice to the screans: fix the headline Dan!!

Posted by: A Hardwick | August 19, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

so who beats who? It is confusing.

Posted by: lincao123 | August 19, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

hey, washington post!!!

are you stupid or what? cant you change such a ridiculously wrong headline?
thought you were professionals.

Posted by: joao | August 19, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Who beat whom?? You guys are high on something there??

Posted by: michael | August 19, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

How Does Brazil Beat Argentina, 3-0, when Argentina scored all three goals in your "Blog?"

My Brazilian wife wasn't too happy when I called her on her commute to let her know Brazil won 3 to nothing, only to contradict myself when she asked me who scored for Brazil...

Seems it was all Argentina.

Fix your Dang Headline, Dude.

It really can't be that hard.

Posted by: Are You Drunk? | August 19, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I don't get soccer. It's just a bunch of 5 foot 5 inch shrimps running around in shorts, running after a weird ball. Now American football, that's a sport. Why doesn't our national soccer team just start a bunch of our 7 foot, 400 pound lineman. They would clear the field of the opposition making way for our "smallish" 240 pound running backs to ram the ball into the net..............................

JUST KIDDING! and waiting to see what kind of reaction I would get.

Futbol is the greatest sport in the world and much unappreciated here. Maybe someday, the US can beat Costa Rica and Mexico consistently and compete seriously in the World Cup!

Posted by: IGNORAMUS | August 19, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Dewey Defeats Truman?

Brazil Beats Argentina?

Washington Post gives Steinberg Promotion?

Steinberg Fired From Post for Drinking in China?

Posted by: The Air Over There | August 19, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I don't get soccer. It's just a bunch of 5 foot 5 inch shrimps running around in shorts, chasing a weird checkered ball. Now American football, that's a sport for real men. Why doesn't our national soccer team just start a bunch of our 7 foot, 400 pound lineman. They would clear the field of the opposition making way for our "smallish" 240 pound running backs to ram the ball into the net..............................

JUST KIDDING! and waiting to see what kind of reaction I would get.

Futbol is the greatest sport in the world and much unappreciated here. Maybe someday, the US can beat Costa Rica and Mexico consistently and compete seriously in the World Cup!

Posted by: IGNORAMUS | August 19, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I cannot beleive the way in which this guy reports the match. It was an absolutely Argentina dominated match and this guy is typically Americanised in his bias. There are much better things happening outside the stupid world of America.
To call the game of football as soccer, and call a game as American football- where hands are used, not the foot, - best synonym for Stupidity

Posted by: fotobirajesh | August 19, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Another game where Argentina teachs Brazil to play FOOTBALL

What?????

Last years, Brazil won three games against Argentina........

Posted by: luana | August 19, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"Have I mentioned that members of the press stood and went nuts for both Argentina goals? Sporting culture outside the U.S. is a bigger adjustment than the food or transportation."
"Spectating tip: Never count on a bucket of popcorn and four rolls from a Chinese soccer stadium to be dinner."
---------------------
Dan, are you aware what sport you're watching at and what best teams' fans or their local media usually do? Kobe, Terminator and popcorn culture may not apply for every sport/spectacle in the world. Breaking news: they do not apply for the most popular sport in the world, either.
Get a clue or switch to other sport coverage :) Basketball, mabye?

Posted by: Luke | August 19, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't get soccer. It's just a bunch of 5 foot 5 inch shrimps running around in shorts, running after a weird ball. Now American football, that's a sport. Why doesn't our national soccer team just start a bunch of our 7 foot, 400 pound lineman. They would clear the field of the opposition making way for our "smallish" 240 pound running backs to ram the ball into the net..............................

JUST KIDDING! and waiting to see what kind of reaction I would get.

Futbol is the greatest sport in the world and much unappreciated here. Maybe someday, the US can beat Costa Rica and Mexico consistently and compete seriously in the World Cup!

lol I was about to yell a colorful paragraph @ you...but its all good...its gonna take a while before the US can compete seriously in the world cup...basically a whole cultural view change...and a reality check...whatch the game agains Guatemala on Wed Aug 20th(tomorrow) Im guatemalan so I hope we beat the US...lol

Posted by: cokshura | August 19, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Why does soccer always bring out the d-bags? We call it "soccer," not "football." Get over it. It's not a big deal. And they screwed up the headline there for awhile, but it's not the end of the world. Sheesh.

Posted by: Andy | August 19, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Completely my fault on the headline, everyone. Apologies. Was in a hurry to get down to mixed zone, but that's all on me.

And apologies also if I gave the impression somehow that the Argentines weren't the better side. In whole, that was pretty obvious, but when you're just trying to post quick highlights with a limited view of the action, it might come out garbled at times. I trust our full match report, by Les Carpenter, will be satisfactory.

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | August 19, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Andy:

"Why does soccer always bring out the d-bags?"

Well, it brought you, so I can see your point.

"We call it "soccer," not "football." Get over it. It's not a big deal."

You are correct, it is not a big deal. WE call it whatever WE want, get over it. Football, Futball, Soccer, whatever. It's only american football fans that get upset. Football/Futball/Soccer fans don't care.

"And they screwed up the headline there for awhile, but it's not the end of the world. Sheesh."

It mattered if you were an Argentinian or Brazilian fan.

Posted by: greent | August 19, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Your report is about the most confusing coverage I've seen. Is there some point to starting at the end and writing your way to the pre-game?
Try to write a report that makes sense.
What is this 44th minute 1-0 but no score at half? Do your job and write about the game not your complaints about your seat.

Posted by: WalterG | August 19, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

greent - Takes one to know one. You're also factually incorrect. Foreign commentators constantly complain that Americans call the game "soccer" instead of whatever term they think is more internationally appropriate. For example, go back and read the post above from fotobirajesh. (You probably haven't seen it yet since you seem to mouth off without knowing what you're talking about.) Assuming it's legit, I'd love to hear your explanation for why you believe an anti-soccer American wrote that post.

You're a perfect example of what I'm talking about -- the d-bag soccer fan who has to have everything his own way, arrogantly condescending towards anyone else. "WE" do this? Who talks in the royal we anymore??

Posted by: Andy | August 19, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff Dan. I have to ask, though: What is it about you covering soccer and you getting hungry? You're not at RFK, so it's safe to eat something.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | August 19, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

what a beat down, Ronnie is done, just give him a cupcake and point him in the direction of the nearest Haagen Dasz

Posted by: Thora | August 19, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chest, I'm gonna just talk to you, because you're the only one speaking a language I understand.

Anyhow, I'd be happy to eat something, if there were a something to eat. The choices are popcorn, ice cream, bread, potato chips....possibly yogurt. Possibly sausage. Snickers bars. Not much more. And the concessions are all located outside. It all seems constructed to minimize sales. Extremely bizarre. And it's like that at every venue.

Suffice it to say, you can eat much, much better at an RFK event, which is about the first time those words have ever been typed.

And if anyone would like to point out that it's my job to report on Brazil's defensive failings rather than the concessions, let me just say this: suck an egg. If I'm not gonna report on those concessions, who will?

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | August 19, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Your report is about the most confusing coverage I've seen. Is there some point to starting at the end and writing your way to the pre-game?
Try to write a report that makes sense.
What is this 44th minute 1-0 but no score at half? Do your job and write about the game not your complaints about your seat.

Posted by: WalterG | August 19, 2008 1:41 PM
..........................................

This was a live in-game blog, not a report after the fact, such as you would read in tomorrow's paper. Live bloggers often add to the top as the game progresses. Matchtrackers do essentially the same thing, presenting the most recent action at the top.

Also, read in context, "This game screams 1-0 Argentina" is the blogger's gut feeling about how the game may turn out as of the 44th minute, not a report on the actual score at that point in that match.

Posted by: The Jeff | August 19, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Who talks in the royal we anymore??

Posted by: Andy | August 19, 2008 1:46 PM
..........................................

According to an observation attributed to Mark Twain, among others, the only people who should be talking that way are members of royalty and people with tapeworms.

Posted by: The Jeff | August 19, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Steinbog's followup story:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2008/08/argentina-brazil_and_the_super.html

Posted by: The Jeff | August 19, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

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