The red card that will be seen around the world!

TERRY JONES

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

Do you think, before this is over, Edmonton will get a good crowd, good game and outstanding atmosphere all combined together into one excellent experience?

It hasn't happened yet.

Last night the atmosphere, which has been mostly missing here at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, was wonderful as Chile met Portugal before 24,687 fans far more crazed than your average Canadian crowd.

With possibly every Chilean ex-pat within 300 kms providing most of it, including a host of them jammed together, bouncing up and down in one corner of Commonwealth Stadium, the first glamour game of the event here was the first game to have anything resembling the feel of a real World Cup experience.

And there was even an international incident on the field late in the game when Portugal's Mano decked Chile's Christian Sepulveda to bring out a red card and lead into a video clip which will be seen around the world today.

Over the years, that one clip will likely be seen by more people than end up watching every minute of this entire tournament.

Portugal's Zequinha lost all self control at the call and pulled the red card out of the hand of referee Mohd Salleh of Malaysia.

He, too, was red carded.

Portugal ended up with eight men out.

But then Arturo Vidal, one of their top two players, was red carded. And he's out for the next one.

There was pretty much everything involved in this game other than a game.

OK, a 1-0 Chile win sounds like it was worthy. But the scoreboard was an illusion.

Portugal didn't get a shot on goal until the 89th minute. And that one was from 35 metres out and was simple houskeeping for keeper Christopher Toselli who should have brought a lawnchair.

In the first half Portugal didn't have a shot on goal, a shot at goal, a corner kick, a free kick and only 35% of ball possession.

"Even in the worst moment, we could not imagine what happened in the first half," said Portugal coach Jose Couceiro.

"That's the worst I've seen this team play.

"Even in my worst dreams I never thought we'd play a game like that.

"In the first half we played very badly. The way we played in the first half we deserved the result. I'm very frustrated and very sad. In the first half we weren't there. We weren't playing."

He called the red cards "embarrassing for the team."

If Portugal had shown up maybe we'd have watched a great game like the Spain-Brazil overtime match or the Czech-Japan shootout packed crowd of 10,000 in the small stadiums on the West Coast the night before.

Here Wednesday a crowd of about the same size in massive Commonwealth Stadium saw a terrific tilt between Austria and Gambia.

No crowd. No atmosphere.

For the two Canadian games last week, half the 30,000-plus couldn't get into the stadium in the first half against Austria and half were chased away by rain and the sorry state of the Canadian team for the second half of the other against Congo.

No game. No atmosphere.

At least this was the first game that a big crowd watched from beginning to end.

Maybe Saturday for the quarter-final here between Spain and the Czech Republic it will all come together. Maybe Wednesday for the winner of that versus the winner of Austria vs USA.

Whoever comes out of this side of the proceedings from here, it's now becoming a good possibility they'll end up facing Chile in the final.


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