Category: World Cup 2006

Sublime Soccer

sublime ( ) adj. Characterized by nobility; majestic. Of high spiritual, moral, or intellectual worth.

We are now in Day 2 of the 48 hour hiatus between second round matches and the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup, and I’m having serious withdrawal symptoms. Seems like a good time to review a couple of the more beautiful goals so far in this tournament.

I believe Argentina is a serious contender with a good chance of advancing to the final. Mexico, however, pushed them to the limit, and as many have commented, if you’re going to go down in the World Cup, you might as well die from a golden goal like that of Argentina’s Maxi Rodriguez.Read the rest

The Italian Way

Yesterday I wrote about the Brazilian Way and today I turn my attention to the Italians. The Italian Way, simply put, is to hit the deck hard and often.

Probably one of the most troublesome aspects of soccer that casual observers and newcomers notice and comment on is the propensity for players to fake fouls. In soccer parlance, this is called “diving,” and although it isn’t limited to soccer only, in no other sport is it done with such theatrical flair. Typically, a player hits the deck with the slightest touch (or no touch at all), rolls around on the pitch writhing in agony, and is attended to by a bevy of trainers armed with a mini-ER and a stretcher.… Read the rest

The Brazilian Way

brazil 2006.jpgIt’s one thing to pull against the Brazilian National Team in this year’s World Cup (they are the New York Yankees of international soccer after all). It’s quite another to disrespect their style–something that no self-respecting and knowledgeable soccer fan would ever do.

With 5 World Cup titles to their credit and a roster full of stars, including the “world’s best player” in Ronaldinho, who play for top clubs throughout the world, The Little Canaries back up their braggadocio with perhaps the most fluid and creative style of play ever to grace “The Beautiful Game.”

Many Americans naturally assume that these positive results must flow from a well-organized system that, like any successfull American enterprise, spits out world-class football players like an well-oiled assembly line spits out widgets.… Read the rest

A Kiddy Shield?

usa kids.jpgYou may have noticed that whenever the players take the pitch in the World Cup, they always seem to emerge from the tunnel holding hands with innocent looking children bedecked in colorful, cheery kiddy-kits who escort their assigned player and remain with them through the playing of the respective national anthems.

So what’s up with that? I always figured it had something to do with promoting the idea of international brotherhood and goodwill, which of course is perfectly personified in the round, chubby, cherubic cheeks of little children carrying bouquets of flowers.

But then Eyegal (who always seems to see through my blindspots) came up with an interesting hypothesis: … Read the rest

The Great Equalizer

Fact: Ghana is a relatively small, west African country with a population of just over 22,000,000 (49th in the world) and a GDP of $51.8 billion (77th in the world). Yesterday, they declared a national holiday and asked that all industries cut back on power usage, thereby saving enough juice to power the nation’s TV sets so that more of its citizens could watch the USA-Ghana World Cup match.

Fact: The United States of America is the world’s premier superpower with a population of 298,217,215 (3rd in the world) and a GDP of $13.05 trillion (Number One). Yesterday, most of its citizens were not aware that their National soccer team was playing Ghana in the World Cup, and even if they did know, they didn’t care.

Read the rest

Plan B–Anybody But Brazil

africa_worldcup_germany_2006.gifA few folks have expressed an interest in learning who I will pull for should the U.S. National Team fail to advance in this year’s World Cup.

Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ve been giving that some thought since, I regret to announce, I believe the U.S. will not defeat Ghana today and that the Italians will most likely draw vs. the Czechs (I do hope I’m proven wrong, though). After due consideration, the following list represents the top five teams I will support should the Stars and Stripes fold and go home:… Read the rest

O Say Can You See?

O say can you see,
By the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d
At the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d,
Were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare,
The bombs bursting in air
Gave proof thro’ the night
That our flag was still there.

Playing a man down in the second half and fending off an Italian attack that in the final minutes of the match resembled a reenactment of the Battle of Fort McHenry, the Stars and Stripes did indeed survive the perilous fight which played out at Fritz-Walter Stadion in Kaiserslautern, Germany this past Saturday.… Read the rest

I Hope They Got Their Orange Slices

Kids soccer.jpgQuestion: What happens when the US brings its “best team ever” to the pitch to take on the Czech Republic on the world’s biggest soccer stage?

Answer: They hand us our “scalp.”

“Disappointed” hardly does justice to the mood of US soccer fans across the country this morning as the grizzled, Czech veterans (four starters over the age of 30) utterly dominated and dismantled the Red, White and Blue 3-0 in yesterday’s opener for both teams. For you futbol-challenged folks out there, 3-0 is the approximate equivalent of 30-0 in American football, and in this case the match wasn’t as close as the score indicated.… Read the rest

It’s a Beautiful Day for a Stomach Ache

ussoccerstore_1895_12437467.jpgDue to poor planning on my part, I’ll be working today as the United States takes on the Czech Republic in World Cup Action. Of course the DVR and computer are set to record the match, but it still won’t be the same as watching live, and I’m sure I’ll know the outcome of the match before I get off work.

Hello? What was I thinking? According to this commercial, it’s a beautiful day for a stomach ache, and as tempting as that may be, I’ll try to resist. Pray for me, please.

According to “the experts,” (the same ones that say that soccer is almost as good as…”you know”), the United States will be lucky to stay on the pitch with such Czech stars as Pavel Nedved, Jan Koller and Milan Baros.… Read the rest

Why the World Cup Matters

p1_Ronaldinho2.jpgOn this the opening day of World Cup 2006, my friend Jason Bybee at Already & Not Yet asks a pertinent question: Does anybody care?

Americans, with their provincial love of “home-grown” sports, high-scoring, slam-bam action and jiggly, twenty-something dancers in next-to-nothing outfits, for the most part have never developed a taste for the nuance and intricacy that enliven the soul of “The Beautiful Game.” Jason went on to ask, “What am I missing?”

After counting to ten and taking a short walk, I returned to my keyboard and typed this reply:

It’s an aquired taste, and when it comes to taste, most Americans don’t have very much.

Read the rest

Ole, Ole, Ole…Oh No!

field shot.JPGSeveral of us made a mad dash north on I-65 last night to Nashville to watch the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team take on the Moroccan National Team in the first of a series of “send-off” matches leading up to the World Cup in June. We were part of “history” according to the PA announcer–26,141 flag-draped, red, white and blue-painted, “USA, USA”–chanting soccer fanatics in Titan Coliseum–the largest crowd to ever watch a soccer match in the state of Tennessee. Actually that’s not quite correct since the happy throng also included about 10,000 or so red and green clad Moroccan fans who swayed and chanted to the steady beat of a well-stocked percussion section.… Read the rest