Monday, July 10, 2006

The Endless Season

The World Cup was predictable. Seven of the eight teams that made the quarterfinals were favored to get there. The eighth team, Ukraine, was considered a dark horse in the tournament and had good backing in the pre-tournament betting. At any World Cup held in Europe, you can bet that the final eight will consist of Brazil, Argentina, and those European countries where the top professional leagues play.

The matches continued their tradition as mostly low scoring affairs. That is the way the sport is played. Every now and then the fans complain, but if their team wins every game 1 to nil on the way to the championship, all is forgiven and forgotten. Quite frankly, I find American football incredibly boring at times with it's few seconds of play followed by what seems an interminable amount of time in the huddle, marking penalties, timeouts, and long commercial breaks between plays. No wonder American football fans watch the games with a six pack by their sides. For long stretches of the game, there is nothing else to do.

If anything makes the World Cup not as good as it can be, it is the long football season that begins in the middle of August and continues until the middle of May. The season includes league play and cup play at the club and international level. The players assemble at the end of May to play a few friendlies and get used to playing with each other instead of against each other. By the time World Cup play begins, the players, almost to a man, are hurt and worn out.

Yesterday's final match seemed a war of attrition after the first 20 minutes. The contest might have been about who could survive the heat, exhaustion, and the knocks of the long year. Players looked as if a lone penalty kick was the ultimate physical challenge. Maybe, for some, it truly was given what they have suffered each week for a whole year.

Oh well, no sense dwelling on the past. The new season starts in a few weeks!


At 7:22 PM, Blogger Anvilcloud said...

It was fun for me to watch what I did. It is quite compelling, but it would be better if there could be a tad more scoring. And as dramatic as penalty kicks are, I don't think they are a good way to crown a champion. I have no idea how to solve the problems, however.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Lynn said...


I agree about the penalty kicks. Maybe, they should go back to sudden death. Keep playing until somebody scores.


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