In a way I’m glad the World Cup is over – it is a tremendous distraction to me and causes me to watch television way more than usual. Of course its great fun to watch soccer at the highest level. Heck its good to watch soccer on TV at all in this country. I wish ESPN would broadcast more European soccer, maybe a game or two each week from the English Premiership or something. But the World Cup is the best it gets.
A few more thoughts:
* I was disappointed that Italy and France were the final two teams as I don’t particularly care for either. I was hoping that Argentina or Brazil would make it through. It is interesting that the US team earned a hard fought tie with the eventual champions, and even controlled the game before the cards started flying at the end of the first half. Perhaps that will be of some solace after a disappointing performance. For that matter, Italy needed a dubious penalty kick call at the end of regulation to get past Australia. France had a much tougher draw through the elimination rounds, having to play Spain and Brazil along the way. I was almost pulling for Zidane, France’s retiring legend, in spite of myself, until he completely lost his mind and got ejected in the final mintues of overtime.
* I think one reason Americans who did not grow up playing the sport don’t appreciate it (besides the fact that they just don’t fully understand it or give it a chance) is the fact that there is not as much scoring in soccer as in other sports. Another reason is the frequent diving and rolling around trying to get a call or even a card. Lastly, as I read elsewhere, in soccer the referee can exert a decisive influence in the match, as happened too often in the first two rounds of this WC.
* I think the best goal of the tournament was the one that put Argentina past Mexico. The second best was the goal that put Italy ahead of Germany in the semifinal. Great stuff.
Soccer is a fantastic game. Though there is less scoring the action never really stops – the game has a flow that other sports lack. While it isn’t perfect, I really think that more people would appreciate it if they just gave it a real chance.