Monday, July 10, 2006

World Cup over, U.S. team no longer looking so bad

Hey, we tied Italy, the eventual World Cup champs. Not too shabby, eh? And congratulations, by the way, to the Italians! Your stoic brand of soccer was an extension of your subdued, laidback nation and people. And for that, you are to be commended.

The Italians are such cold fishes. But their
breasts are real, so, you know. That's something.

By the way, I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard Joe Sports Fan comment over the last two weeks that Bruce Arena was toast. And they're all so cynical about it, like they've been soccer fans this whole time and know the entire backstory. But really, they're just faking cynicism so they don't have to explain what they don't know. I was chatting with someone about it, and he was like "yeah, dude, the U.S. coach is totally gone." And I was like, "why?" And the guy - who couldn't even remember Arena's name - basically had to back off and say something like "because the TV told me so." Way to go, man. We may not have mastered soccer, but when it comes to acting like an expert when you really don't have any idea what you're talking about, Americans have cornered the market. You basically just have to repeat a lot of phrases like "please understand something" and "listen," and "let me put it to you this way." Too bad there's no World Cup of Delusional Self-Righteousness. But then again, some may argue, every day in America is the World Cup of Delusional Self-Righteousness. So....huzzah!

Bizarre postscript: Superstar Zinedine Zidane, who got kicked out of the final for head-butting somebody and basically killing his team's chances, got the Golden Ball Award for World Cup MVP. WHAT???

- Washington Post
story on World Cup
- Washington Post story on Arena
- Random, brilliant link of
World Cup model cards. Let me direct your attention to Croatia.
- Story on
Zidane getting Golden Ball

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Lukas said...

Everything I know about football (sorry, soccer) can just about fit on the back of postage stamp. But I know this, the US team lost to Ghana. Two nil, so not a fluke. And as for the Italians, there were less than 20 people on the pitch that game, and worse teams have made it to the final (last time round Germany stumbled into the final as if by accident), but few are lucky enough to see penalties.

Alright then, two postage stamps. And at least before the tourney Sven Goren Ericsson said he was leaving whether England won or lost. He's probably not to bothered they lost then...

Jason Pyke said...

"World Cup of Delusional Self-Righteousness" LMAO. I need to start randomly browsing blogs more often. This is hilarious.

ombudsman said...

Lukas, you're forgetting the Dempsey goal against Ghana, which was pure classic stuff. For a few minutes there, tied at 1-1, the US looked like the really just might advance.

Scott, I think Achenblog summed it up best re: Zidane's headbutt when he said something like, "Outside of boxing, it doesn't occur to most athletes to use their head as a fighting appendage. The head contains the brain, in most people."

I'm not so shocked that Zidane won best player, although I thought Cannavaro made an equally good case. Zidane is a soccer hero, one of the most gifted of his generation. And journalists, the people who vote for Golden Ball, adore him because he is the rare mixture of an incredible talent and a good story - he's an algerian immigrant who grew up in a hardscrabble neighborhood equivalent of Compton in xenophobic France, learned to play soccer on concrete, and as a young man led France to its first ever World Cup trophy in 1998, and Euro championship in 2000. It's very rare for a team other than Brazil to dominate on the international stage like that, and for Zidane to return and play this well at the age of 34 to me is the same as if Jordan had somehow led the Wizards to the NBA finals in his 40's.

MSH said...

Yeah, Zidane is awesome, but he basically killed his team's chances of winning the World Cup. I can see where one could argue that they wouldn't have been there without him in the first place, but still. That's like Kobe Bryant fouling a guy on the three point line to go down by two, then airballing the game-winner with three other guys wide open. Just an unprecedented display of bed-crapping.

By the way, I heard the Italian guy told Zidane he was a "dirty terrorist," and that's what set him off. You have to love those Italians, and their time-honored tradition of clean play in all phases of life and society.

ombudsman said...

I read that many journalists had already turned in their votes before the end of the match, so that certainly had a lot to do with it. Zidane lost it, and surely hurt his team's chances, but I'm not positive that the outcome would've been different had he stayed on. Italy didn't attack even with a man advantage- they seemed to be playing for PK's the entire overtime. I think they had a hunch just how awful and over the hill Barthez would be and figured they had the edge with Buffon in their net. Still, penalties are a crap-shoot and there is a lot of luck involved. Trezeguet took his well but the crossbar didn't favor him as it did Zidane earlier in the match. An inch of spin in the opposite direction and the outcome may have been different.

I think there's a good chance that Matzeratti's comments were racist, even though he is denying it. The French team is one of the few non-homegenic sides in Europe, and its players have frequently been a target of racist fans & players. There's video of Spain's coach instructing his team that they "are better than those monkeys." Henry has had bananas thrown towards him while on the field. It really makes you wonder- for all the griping we do in America about immigration, handling foreigners is probably one of the few things we do relatively well.

MSH said...

Update: lip readers are now saying the Italian guy called Zidane the "son of a terrorist whore." Especially classy considering Zidane's mother is apparently quite ill. Again: the principled Italians take the subtler but richer rewards of the high road.

ombudsman said...

Wow, that is incredible. A racist joke and a yo mama joke all in one! Kudos to Zidane for thus far not saying anything about the incident. What language do they have in common? Was it English?