So, the World Cup is over. I am currently feeling symptoms of withdrawal. No more sneaking out of work to drink beers and watch soccer? No more discussing all of the games and the drama with friends and coworkers? No more watching hot, sweaty men exchange jerseys? This was the first time I've followed a World Cup from start to finish. Last time around, the 5AM and 6AM game times prevented me from watching a lot of it live, and back in 1998, I don't know what I was doing, but I wasn't watching World Cup. This time, I loved it all....USA's tie against Italy, France's masterful play against Brazil, Ronaldinho's smile, Rooney's nutstomp, Christiano Ronaldo's wink, the English inevitable chokejob in PK's, the diving Italians, crazed fans from all over the world, amazing goals, and Zizou, headbutt and all.
Here are some thoughts on the tournament:
-Like I mentioned before, FIFA needs to do something about all the diving. It's become too much a part of the game.
-I hope the US gets better. It's not necessarily the coach's fault, but I think Bruce Arena should have used more young talent instead of sticking with players like Landon Donovan. McBride, Keller, and Clint Dempsey were the only players who performed consistently well for the Americans. I'm guessing that Dempsey won't be playing for the Revolution for too much longer...I'm sure one of the top European clubs will be wanting to snap him up.
-Kudos to Mayor Menino for throwing a World Cup party and broadcasting the game in City Hall Plaza. "Boston is an international city," said Mumbles. "Nothing has illustrated that more than the excitement of the World Cup."
-Did you catch Bill Clinton in the audience? Coolest Former President Ever.
-As for the match itself, although I love Italians, I don't like their soccer team. I can't stand their whining, cheating, and diving tactics. I'll give them this, though: they do have a stellar defense (only 2 goals allowed through the entire world cup), and those tall forwards are deadly on corner kicks. Plus, they're fairly easy on the eyes, even if their D & G ads border on the homoerotic.
-I like France's coach, because he's just so very French, but I don't think he should have subbed for Henry or Ribery.
-The headbutt heard round the world. So, maybe the Italian deserved it after giving Zidane a titty twister and allegedly making some sort of racist remark about Zizou's Algerian heritage ("dirty terrorist" is the current rumor), but it was a bad thing to do. Not because it was "vicious" or "classless" (Don't you love how the broadcasters kissed Z's butt all game and did a complete 180 after the headbutt? It reminded me of Joe Buck freaking out when Randy Moss fake-mooned the crowd.) but because he let his teammates down. He KNEW it was a guaranteed red card and he did it anyways. He's the captain, and he missed the end of a World Cup final because he couldn't control his temper. So, yeah, it was stupid, and it sucks that it happened in his last game ever. Seriously, though, a headbutt? Ridiculous...yet 100% badass.
-Goodbye, World Cup, I'll miss you. See you in South Africa in 2010.