Sunday, July 11, 2010

Futbol 2010 — The Final Wrap

The big game was ok, but for me not all that exciting, since, bathing in the cool waters of perfect objectivity, I didn’t give a toss which side won, and also because it took a couple very long hours before Iniestra finally delivered the coup-de-grace to a game that almost went into penalty kicks. And if it does that, you might just as well flip a coin to decide the winner. For the rest of this game one could think each team was more interested in accumulating yellow cards than goals.

The game also clearly demonstrated a couple weak points which afflict the World Cup competition. First, if you take the world’s best players and put them on the field to go against each other, it’s going to be very hard for either team to score, which is what everybody wants to see happen, myself included.

Second, if you really wanted to have an authentic competition, you’d have to let the teams play one another for two out of three, or better three out of five games, to make some kind of reasonable determination which team was superior.

And that’s not considering the fact that most professional teams enlist players from different countries. So the whole idea of nations competing seems a bit farfetched, although that’s of course what attracts the fans. You can put on your war-paint and demonstrate your patriotism or revel in your repressed tribalism without anyone actually being killed.

What’s funny is to watch the players in the lineup during the national anthem: almost none of them know the words. In this respect the Dutch were absolute champions: every man-jack one of them had been trained to lustily sing forth the words to the Dutch national anthem. The tone-deaf Spaniards stood there stone-faced when their turn came.

Now the events of today will quickly sink into oblivion, in 2-3 years no one will even remember who won the 2010 world cup, and then in Spring 2014 distant drumbeats will be heard from across the ocean and from south of our borders, at first faintly before the vuvuzelas rise in chorus, and then the whole damn thing will start up again.

Paul the Octopus now seems have gone 7 for 7. I wonder if Paul also predicts horse-races?

A gay friend of mine makes mention of the fact that both Netherlands and Spain permit same-sex marriage, which shows I suppose what a big distance the U.S. has to go to catch up with both countries in other areas as well as futbol. (And World Cup host country South Africa also provides full marriage equality.)


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