Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Copa Mundial 2006: Fin

Honestly, I'm at a loss for words. For Zidane to end his international play with a header a la Sonic the Hedgehog yet still win the Golden Ball award for MVP of the tourney is just incredible. A shame, really, for him to have done so well all tournament and then to have, in my opinion, doomed his team to failure. Sure, he couldn't get a call to go his way all match, his age finally started to show and Marco Materazzi must have said something amazingly "poignant" to have earned such a response.

But the truth is Zidane snapped and there's no excuse for it. My only hope is that he will be remembered for on the ball brilliance like a week ago against Brasil or in 2002 in the Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen (sp?)than for a few seconds of anger. Maybe Materazzi did call him a "dirty terrorist" as a few reports have claimed. Yeah, that would make me mad--but not headbutting-mad.

What makes me (nearly) go ape is that Materazzi has the cowardice to denying ever saying such a comment by saying "It is absolutely not true, I did not call him a terrorist. I'm ignorant. I don't even know what the word means." Wow. I'd have left it to the first sentence. Better yet the second as well... But the pinnacle of uber-stupidity is to claim ignorance of such a topic. How far away is Madrid from Italy? Not far I'd guess. And it was, oh maybe a year ago, when the train station there was bombed horrendously. What did the news agencies he watched call that? Maybe he just thought the terrorist camps in Afghanistan were "progressive day care experiences." Sports celebrities are always the worst liars (yes, you too, Bonds) but they get away with it and we watch with bated breath what they'll do next because they are celebrities. Disgusting.

Anyway, the past month was filled with much more than one isolated event. Italy played the better game overall and deserved to win. There, I said it, even though I wish it weren't true. They played the stonewall defense that, proverbially, does win championships. As a converted defender to midfield/forward I think such statements are extremist hogwash but who really cares, right? Although France had some great challenges on goal, Buffon was great and his backline somehow shut down Henry and Zidane (and Malouda who was surprisingly brilliant and more than made up for his defensive shortcomings in past games that somehow did not hurt the team's run to the final). And everyone in the stadium knew that Italy had a huge advantage should things go to penalties with they having one of the best men in the world between the sticks (although that maybe subject to moral question after this whole Serie A scandal is finally uncovered--Juventus in the 3rd division next year? wow, I think I heard that wrong - anyone know if that may be true?).

I have to say that despite all the cards and excessive drama of this year's Cup, I very much enjoyed the show. Might some rules change before we all party in South Africa in 4 short years? I've heard some opinions of changing the offside rule to take effect only in the goal box (interesting but would only create more suspect calls), using video replay or a chip in the ball (according to adidas that's already possible), adding another referee so that each only has to run half the field (would require one head ref to be the tiebreaker for close calls), or even increasing the goal size (maybe I could hit a shot on goal then...). Regardless, as a purist of the game I am quite bothered by the talk of needing to change the rules to make the game more interesting and exciting to watch. FIFA, don't bow to pressure to make this more like "United States" sports! However, when the childish abuse of the "fair play" unwritten rule of kicking the ball out when a man goes down ESPECIALLY when it was a dive all along (Cristiano Ronaldo I'm calling you out, among others) something must be done. Funny how the whole "Joga Bonita" Nike ad campaign seemed to have a great grassroots futbol following but really did nothing in the way of inspiring internationals to ascribe to such ideals. Ah, dreaming of utopia...

To end on a high note, here are my highlights of the past month (in no particular order):

Ronaldo getting the goal record despite being "fat" (hey maybe he is, but I can't say anything...he's still got a deadly shot and can garner great respect from any defender)

Germany's coach Klinsmann celebrating every goal like he's about to explode...and vehemently showing disgust with each foul and the like. Honestly I'm not sure how outwardly passionate he was before, but if that's what San Diego can do to you, sign me up!

Unwittingly taking a vacation during a time when I had the opportunity to watch 2 full games a day for a week straight (and all of them live!)

Maxi Rodriguez' game winning goal against Mexico which was the essence of trapping and shooting perfection

Riding the Ghana bandwagon when the US was, well, subpar at best...

Except the Yanks' valiant tie against the eventual champions. Getting sprayed with beer at the local British pub George and the Dragon in Fremont after Beasley's goal...which was then taken back pretty much epitomized the moment brilliantly. It was wonderful until I realized what happened: both the stains on my jersey and McBride's obstruction penalty pretty much deflated me completely. Now I owe the handful (here's hoping!) of readers who would love to call me on this one: I eat my words fully that I choose Italy to choke again this tournament and was proved wrong in the biggest way possible. Here's to predictions!

Finally, the chance to post my ramblings on my favorite sport here has been a great joy. ¡Muchas gracias to the Brothers Crushed! Now bring on the other football--GO HAWKS!!

posted by El Jefe @ 6:04 PM  0 comments

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