Saturday, June 26, 2010

Are you ready for some futbol?

So while I may be an angry ranter, like Hitler with his Alpine walks and Stalin with his...OK, maybe Stalin was just a hideous despot lacking any pleasant hobbies...and for all that I'm not so sure that we're going good places and, hey, what the fuck are we doing in this handbasket..?

It's a sunny day in Portland and the U.S. men's soccer team is playing in the Round of 16. So I'm going to take the day and enjoy the pleasures thereof, and I hope you will to. Today, on my shift, the MilPub is going to be a sports bar, the waitresses will be in the respective national team jerseys and the big-screen TV tuned to ESPN for the kickoff at 11:00am...

For those of you who have been following the World Cup, I append this silly little video. For those of you who haven't, the "big controversy" this year has (other than the usual moaning from keepers about the match ball) been the constant droning of something called a "vuvuzela", which - for all attempts to turn it into some sort of South African cultural thing - is just that damn cheap plastic crap horn that has been an irritating feature of sporting events since the 1970's. Every match this year had been accompanied by these frigging things, and it's gotten to the point where vuvuzelas, and hating vuvuzelas, has gone viral. Here's the funniest "vuvuzela video" I've seen; for your entertainment, ladies and gentlemen, the Fellowship of the Vuvuzela...


  1. That video is brilliant, though when you talked about "big controversy" I immediately thought of the refs who took away 2 US goals.

    I'll be watching the game today and kicking back with some drinks as well - mainly homebrew. (Chief, being from Portland, isn't homebrewing some kind of state requirement for citizenship?)

    So I'll raise a glass of honey hibiscus wheat to all of you and Team USA!

  2. So many chances, just couldn't close the deal. And why can't we keep the ball out of the net in the first 5-10 minutes? Just like I said in '94 and '02, maybe next time.

  3. Okay, I'm back from SoCal vacation...and with a sunburn, relaxation, and a few more vexations from the vacation it seems the media is on a soccer feeding frenzy.
    I don't watch much football...two strikes from overpaid players pretty much killed that interest for me, and I don't watch much baseball, either...another whiney group of overpaid players, and I hate to say it...but...well, nice soccer team y'all go t'd be a shame to see it turned into another "professional" strike worthy pass-time.'s not just that it's soccer, its just I'm tired of sports in America.
    I'll go see semi-pro baseball, and semi-pro least those games are being played because the guys love the game...but professional sports...I'll pass.

    btw, if I cheer for anyone it's MEXICO!!!!
    Pacifico for every goal, and a shot of Patron for every win!
    If they make it an amateur sport I'll probably get interested...if it is professional, I'll take a pass...still, go Mexico!

  4. Well...I thought we had a decent run. We need to be realistic about soccer; we're Slovakia, not Argentina or Germany. So to get into the Round of 16, well...that's a good thing.

    That said, I have to agree with bg that it was disappointing to see Hoard so badly beaten on the first Ghana goal. You're a professional keeper, you stop that shot. Period.

    The second goal was pure brilliance (with a little help from some dodgy US defending), and there's not much you can do about brilliance.

    I was very surprised to read Sunil Gulati's comments today. I don't think Bradley is any Alex Ferguson, but the man did a solid job with what he has. Sunil, before you flap you gums about forwards not scoring...where's the forwards you promised us from Project 40, eh? Altidore was fine, but the only really dangerous scorer was Donovan, a holdover from the 2002 squad.

    Anyway, tough loss, especially after the incredible finish to the Algeria game.

    One thing I've been shocked by is the number of terrible refereeing errors in this year's World Cup. I don't remember anything this bad - obviously bad, bad as in "Jesus wept, I could see that from my couch in Portland!" bad. The two U.S. non-goals among them, but also the shockingly bad call on the Lampard goal against Germany and what should NOT have been a goal for Tevez (the first one) against Mexico.

    Interesting, speaking of that, how Tevez' night against El Tri mirrored his coach's famous outing against England in 1986.

    A little of the foot of Tevez, a little of the blindness of Rosetti...


    I've just become a fan of Paraguay!



  6. Lets face it; the U.S. football team doesn't deserve `to be in the quarter final. The quarter final is for the eight best teams, or at max. eight of the 15 best teams.
    The U.S. football team isn't in the top 15, has never been.

    The technical and tactical differences to real top teams are too big.

    The U.S. football team draws from a base of football players some of whom have learned football in college. Players from classic football countries learned football at such young age that talent scouts look for 10-14 year old boys.
    Top football nations have a whole infrastructure of talent academies, football fields everywhere, fan clubs, youth clubs, several leagues of semi-pro and pro teams, trainer schools, referee courses and institutes at sports science faculties.

    Meanwhile, the only professional U.S. football league is pretty much a project under development - still growing. Young boys usually get taught basketball and baseball before they get taught football - if they know anyone who understands the concept of "offside" in football.

  7. Sven: The U.S. would have "deserved" to be in the quarterfinals (if they had gotten there) the same way any other team "deserved" to be there; if they had beaten Ghana. They didn't, so it's a moot point.

    But if the U.S. isn't "in the top 15", where is England, then? Where is Norway, New Zealand, and North Korea?

    I agree that we may not "deserve" soccer greatness if you look at it as a province of national support. We suck at loving the game, and our national sports apparatus is, as you point out, not well designed to produce good players.

    But "deserve"?

    I talk about this more at GFT, but I have an issue with the way FIFA allocates places for the finals. Look at this year. Why was New Zealand even there? Asia really had no decent sides once you got past Japan and South Korea and not even then, particularly.

    Giving CONMEBOL three places? Giving Europe 13? Why did Italy "deserve" to be there, given they way they played once they got there? France?

    I realize that FIFA wants revenue and that everyone who loves football wants to go to the finals. But there just doesn't seem to be a good sporting reason to have 32 teams there, regardless of who is or isn't "deserving".

    But as far as "deserving" a place in the Round of 16, the quarters, semis or the Final?

    If a team gets an invite to the Big Dance - regardless of whether they should or not - and, once there, outtangos another team that has a bigger reputation, that team "deserves" to go as far as it can. Frankly, I'd rather have seen the U.S. go or Ghana go through than Italy, Paraguay, or some other of the dire, conservative, boring sides that turned up this year.