With the knock out stages starting today there is certainly a bit more tension in the air, personally I really enjoy the do or die nature of the knock out phase. I haven't managed to catch all the games, if I were unemployed I am sure I would have, but from what I've seen there has been some decent football and some real surprises. Italy going out was a great moment, I despise their negative approach to football and it really shows what a fluke it was that they won the last world cup. Domenech's complete and utter ineptitude was shown as the French effort collapsed onto its face in spectacular fashion, it's always good to be reminded just how important a decent manager and team spirit is, individuals on their own do not make a great team.
One thing that has struck me has been the general inability of the referees to control the games as far as the cheating is concerned. Personally I think it is an impossible job for them without the use of video technology, more officials won't help, most of the mistakes I've seen have been from well positioned referees and officials. Certain teams are just so damn good at cheating these days that referees have no chance. Spain's diving, Italy's feigning of injury, there are so so many examples of it. Torres is one of the worst cheats about, his going to ground yesterday and staying down as if shot to get the Chile player red carded was utterly disgraceful. It's such a shame that FIFA have done nothing at all to tackle this problem in our game. It's time for video referees routinely, it's time to retrospectively ban the cheats. I've lost count of how many times I've seen players going down holding their heads when they have no been touched there, it really is getting beyond a joke.