Wednesday, June 16, 2010

World Cup Thoughts

In no particular order.

  • The only time the incessant drone of the vuvuzela stops is when somebody scores on South Africa. Unfortunately, this means I have to root against South Africa.
  • The diving is still out of control, despite FIFA's "attempts" to fix the problem. What we need is a four day yellow card binge that puts lots of players in jeopardy of missing future games. I would rather watch a World Cup with no star players, a lower level of play, and no diving, than one with Ronaldo and Drogba rolling around on the turf every 3 minutes.
  • Clint Dempsey's gift goal to give the US a 1-1 draw with England was a perfect example of bad luck combined with poor technique from the goalie. Dropping to a single knee to make a low save is dangerous because it severely limits your post save mobility without positively impacting your overall size in net. Either come down with both knees and legs splayed, almost a soccer version of butterfly, or stand up so you can move if you need to. A happy medium is a losing medium in goaltending.
  • Diving is particularly deplorable to American fans because we're used to watching hockey. During the Stanley Cup finals, players from Chicago and Philadelphia played with serious injuries, including a pair of broken feet and countless broken hands. The sport encourages physical behavior that lends itself to injury, but when a player loses 7 teeth, he's back on the ice in 11 minutes. When a player falls to the turf clutching his knee after the slightest of taps, nobody is impressed. Fix the diving.
  • The low scoring group stage is doing nothing to improve the viability of soccer to the American public. People complain about hockey, where the score is frequently 3 or 4 to 1 or 2. Soccer is way worse. I'm not sure how to fix it without fundamentally changing the game, but I've watched enough 1-0 and 1-1 games already to last me a lifetime. I spent three hours in a bar in Italy watching 3 simultaneous games and saw 0 goals. Maybe make the nets bigger?
  • I don't care what anyone says, a plastic horn is not "culture." It's irritating.

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