Rick Telander and Rick Morrissey share their thoughts

Could Spain have lost to Brazil on purpose?

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LONDON--I watched the Spain vs. Brazil game here at the Basketball Arena, because it preceded the U.S.-Argentina game, which I would be writing about. Sitting tin the stands taking in the game, I started rooted quietly for Brazil as it made a comeback against the higher-rated Spanish team. Under-dog rooting is always fun.
Back Brazil came, too, making some terrific fast break plays and playing tough defense on Spain, which had led at one point baby as much as 11. Brazil outscored Spain, with its Gasol brothers and other NBA regulars, 31 to 16 in the fourth quarter, on some terrific fast break plays, sticky defense, and good rebounding, winning 88-82. Blimey! Well done, lads!
Then the buzz started soon after among the sports guys--what if Spain threw the game? Well, not exactly threw it, but didn't want to win? Didn't give its all at the end? Hmm, Spain sure did look ugly at the end, missing shots, etc.
But lose on purpose?
Why would the players do that? To get into another bracket for the lose-and-you're-out games that follow the group round-robin play. Spain now plays France, not a bad team, but certainly not the United States, which is in the other bracket. Spain can win two games and make it to the gold medal game Sunday, likely against the U.S. If it had beaten Brazil, it would have had to play the U.S. in the semi-final matchup. Now the winner of Brazil-Argentina gets that dubious honor.
These Olympics have already had the badminton lay-downs by China, South Korea, and indonesia. And there was some manipulating in women;s soccer, though not as severe or obvious. But this? This would be a mess.
Can there please be some way to stop this nonsense? Even the possibility of it? Can it simply be made so that losing always is something you try to avoid, the way it should be?

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This page contains a single entry by Rick Telander published on August 6, 2012 8:21 PM.

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