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World Cup 2010

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I almost fell out of my chair when I saw Overstreet posting a sports thread. Then I watched the video and realized it's a Bono commercial. The world makes sense again.

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:)

I gave up on caring about sports a long, long time ago. I'll watch basketball if I have time to really relax, but as soon as I start really actually caring about a team, I quit.

I invested so much time and energy in rooting for teams in my childhood and teen years, and it so often led to disappointment and stress and a wish to get those hours back. And in high school, I found that the competitive intensity at my school's basketball games and tournaments led to some attitudes and emotions that, later, left me feeling guilty and ashamed. Looking back, I have real doubts about the benefits of the competitive spirit prevalent at those events; we weren't just supporting our teams, but we were rooting *against* the other teams in some pretty ugly ways.

Sometimes I wonder about America's obsession with sports, and how that affects the us-versus-them dynamics in political "non-dialogue" in this country.

I'd rather invest them in things that "feed" me... like art and the outdoors. But that's just me.

And if you want to quit caring about sports, move to Seattle. That'll kill your interest in a real hurry.

Edited by Overstreet

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Blocked in my country (and others?) due to copyright.

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Sometimes I wonder about America's obsession with sports, and how that affects the us-versus-them dynamics in political "non-dialogue" in this country.

You'd be surprised at the sports fandom among many decying what you decry at the moment. As a counter example, you'd also be surprised at how prickly Jonathan Chait

can be on the subject of Michigan football.

I'd rather invest them in things that "feed" me... like art and the outdoors. But that's just me.

I am coming somewhat to your POV here, however, two things. Sports is becoming more something that a man should be familiar with and know a bit about, but no need to

be obsessed unless the 'Wings have a chance to do some post season damage, and

As to things that feed me: just about the most beautiful thing in this world is, after heroic defense breaking up attack after attack, a wonderous 40 yard boomer that just

arches into the goal in an epic soccer match. The only thing more beautiful is the goalie reaching against all odds and gravity to deflect that glorious and wondrous shot.

HUP NEDERLAND!!

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Yahoo fantasy sports has pickem contest. I've set up a group (also inviting people from outside A&F) in case any of you want to compare yourself to my typical North American ignorance of the game. Group: 9691 Password: fifa

FWIW, I know not to pick NZ or Australia to do much, but I am picking US to finally win a game or two.

Edited by Darrel Manson

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Yahoo fantasy sports has pickem contest. I've set up a group (also inviting people from outside A&F) in case any of you want to compare yourself to my typical North American ignorance of the game. Group: 9691 Password: fifa

I just may throw my ignorant hat in the ring. However, this link goes to a review of the film The Father of My Children. I hope this isn't some sort of John Terry scandal pickem contest...

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Oops. Obviously I was trying to trick people into that review. (Good movie, btw)

Here's the correct link (and I've corrected it above.)

Edited by Darrel Manson

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I am picking US to finally win a game or two.

Well England are looking like they should do quite well...so you'll probably pick up three points off us in your opening game...

Besides you did well in 2002.

Matt

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No discussion of the England USA match? I was expecting my absence (due to holiday) to be missed. Fair result in my book. After fantastic qualifying, our tournament is going really badly. Capello has gone from hero to public enemy number 1 in record time. Odd.

Matt

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And yet with the tragi/comedy of the French, no one but the English seem to be concerned with the English troubles.

For me, the suspense is thrilling. This year it would seem that Argentina is cast in the role of the Netherlands. The Dutch demand all Cup campaigns to be as it was in '74 and '78, their high watermark. Smoking everyone in their way 'til a tough, well fought final. They always seem to flash out after a sterling group campaign. Most big players start slow and build to a peak in the knockout rounds. It would be nice if The Orange behave as Germany and Italy have in their successful Cups of the last 20 years.

That said, I'm waiting for a big team to show up Argentina's lack of defense.

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Yes the French situation is unbelievable isn't it? I think the concern with our plight is very much limited to here. The French, Italiians, Germans and Spanish have all had problems of their own.

And teams have won by being brilliant all the way through. The Germans of Italia 90, the French in 1998, Brazil in 2002.

People keep moaning about the tournament, but I think it's the best in years. I have no idea who is going to win, the semi-finalists could be made up of anyone. I mean what a spanking the Portuguese gave the North Koreans today. Compare that to Brazil's feeble 2-1 and there's a final match that will be fascinating.

I hope at least one African team makes it through to the last 16 though...so long as it's not Algeria...

Matt

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And teams have won by being brilliant all the way through. The Germans of Italia 90, the French in 1998, Brazil in 2002.

But, it is a bit hazy, but I remember a struggle or two to win early for the Germans in particular. My suspicions of the group round are really through a Dutch prism. They usually cruise through joyfully to a buzzsaw in knockout.

People keep moaning about the tournament, but I think it's the best in years. I have no idea who is going to win, the semi-finalists could be made up of anyone. I mean what a spanking the Portuguese gave the North Koreans today. Compare that to Brazil's feeble 2-1 and there's a final match that will be fascinating.

Oh it's been quite good despite some odd booking calls. Yes. First matches are never an indication of anything anyway. When did unintentional penalty box handball calls become manditory red cards? Penalty kick yes. Always. Yellow card, maybe. But automatic red card? I don't remember this rule, but I find it hard to keep up on a weekly to monthly basis here in the U.S.

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I'm sorry.

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So a late goal for the US see them edge England out of 1st place. Relieved, but a little gutted. The US probably deserved it though to be fair.

: I remember a struggle or two to win early for the Germans in particular.

Well the won the first two 4-1, and 5-1 and then with (almost) nothing to play for they drew with a much fancied dark horses Columbia. Then they beat those pesky Dutch (with Rijkaard and was it Klinsman? sent off for spitting / reacting - that's from memory), Czechslovakia, and were lucky to make it through to penalties against England (totally unbiased of course). Then saw off the holders Argentina in a dull and one sided final. Not quite brilliant, but pretty convincing in world cup terms.

Matt

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USA Soccer's habit of giving up goals early on in games only to rally late has been much discussed, and it nearly went that way again when Algeria struck the crossbar today in the opening minutes. It reminds me of the episode of Top Gear where the hosts turn normal cars into stretch limos, and James May says that Jeremy Clarkson's crazy pulley-sled system for pulling passengers all the way through the stretch hatchback to their seats was an "ingenious solution to a problem that should never have existed in the first place." Somehow the USA devises amazing solutions to self-inflicted problems. They've been one of the most entertaining teams in the tournament so far.

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Wasn't the US match today fun? Drove me crazy, but damn it was fun!

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Watching the highlights made me feel a little better about how we blew a far easier path to the semis. One of the semi-finalists will be from USA, South Korea, Ghana or Uruguay. I fancy the latter quite strongly, but for us to get there we will now have to beat Germany and then Argentina. I was quite gutted especially as we had a goal disallowed for offside and hit a post. But then seeing the US did the same thing made me think it was fair enough.

Matt

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D'y'know I tutted when I saw your post: this kind of thing was done to death over here a few years ago. Every half and full time analysis was punctuated by shots from cameras in different pubs in different parts of the country capturing the reaction of random supporters. I've been thoroughtly glad not to see it at this world cup.

But...but, this one was actually good, quite moving (almost). I'm not sure it's because it was the absolute last minute and it wasn't just a goal but qualification when being knocked out looked on the cards; or whether it's just because Americans do exuberance so much better than us Brits, even with a few beers inside us; or whether it's because I'm not directly emotionally involved with it as I always am during England matches (if it's half time and we're only one up I'm tetchy - who wants to see a bunch of sozzled, over optimistic morons leaping about like idiots, you'll jinx us); or whether it's just because it's another nation, who aren't one of the big nations but still loving the wonder of the world cup; who knows. But thanks for posting it.

That said, I can't believe that you not only qualified ahead of us (into the easiest quarter of the draw) but that you also do corporate goal celebrations better than us. Bastards.

In other news, the Italians are out as well. Have to say I'm glad. Not only is it the first time ever that the two finalists have gone out in the first round, but the Italians are always, ALWAYS, flukey, grabbed a last minute goal even though we defended for the entire game, jammy so and sos. The tournament will be better without them.

Matt

Edited by MattPage

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Then they beat those pesky Dutch (with Rijkaard and was it Klinsman? sent off for spitting / reacting - that's from memory

EGADS MAN! I just caught this. Be careful what you say. Klinsman was a hero for Germany as captain and last time as coach. I like you. You're a good sort. I'm one of the few Dutch rooters who would give you a break on this. I don't remember the game BTW. I just know klinsman and am an admirer despite myself. Unless you are talking of their standing against Portugal in '06 with nine. Still though, klinsman wasn't wearing Orange.

Question Matt: Over here one hears of class distinctions with respect to sport in England. Football is the working class avocation. Rugby and Cricket for middle and upper middle classes. You play rugby. You enjoy football. Is explanation needed, or is this a misconception?

Edited by Rich Kennedy

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Can't believe you don't remember such an epic match!

Actually I did make a mistake, it was that other German 1990 World Cup winning centre forward turned marginally more successful coach Rudi Voller who got sent off for the Germans. But it was Rikaard that did the spitting. I don't think many Dutch would dispute such a clear fact

and
are, of course, on YouTube.

As for the distinction, it's oft repeated, and I don't know if it ever was an accurate generalisation (I could believe this might have been true 100 years ago or so), but in my life time, football has always been the preserve of all (except perhaps the upper classes). Rugby Union is a little more favoured by the middle class, but still has a good following amongst the working class and my team mates were always a mix of both. And Rugby League was predominantly a working class thing, though today it's got a good following amongst both.

The middle / working class divide is VERY blurred these days anyway.

Matt

Edited by MattPage

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You play rugby. You enjoy football.

English people 'enjoy' football in the same way that a heroin addict with a life-sapping ten year habit 'enjoys' their daily fix. They are rubbish at football.

The England team should be coached on a rota system by local Scout leaders from now on, and only players from the Conference and below should be allowed to play. Also, newspapers and TV stations should be banned from covering any of the games, and only relatively uninterested pensioners should be allowed to watch the games. These measures should be in place for about a decade, and by the end of the decade, I would hope, anything would be sort of 'reset', and we can start again.

That's my modest proposal for the future of English football.

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All those years of living with Matt obviously paid off then.

Was kind of sorry to see the US go out on Saturday, although glad to see an African team in the last 8 - keeps the tournament alive.

But England - what a disaster. We have been awful this tournament. We've not been so embarrassed since 1988's Euros.

3 poor group games and a thumping in the second round. The ridiculous disallowed goal might have made some difference, but the Germans would still have thumped us. They totally outclassed us. Here are some problems:

1 - The Premier League is overrated: we are not as good as we think we are.

2 - Our best player was clearly showing signs of fatigue

3 - Technically we are just not good enough

4 - Our manager failed in numerous ways

5 - We seek short term solutions where long term thinking is needed.

The key statistic for me is this:

Only 2,769 English coaches hold Uefa's B, A and Pro badges, its top qualifications.

Spain (Euro champions) has produced 23,995,

Germany 34,970

It's true that Italy (29,420) and France (17,588) had worse world cups than us, but those are blips on otherwise impressive records.

Those other countries have 10+ times the number of properly qualified coahes we have, reaching right down to grass roots level. There's one qualified coach for every 812 players in the UK, In Spain that it's one for every 17 player - or pretty much one for every team in the country.

Injuries didn't help us, but our defence was just awful today, AWFUL. It's our heaviest ever defeat in the World Cup finals or something. I'm totally humiliated to have thought we had a slim chance of winning the tournament 3 weeks ago.

I hope they keep Capello, and that he's honest enough to take a long look at himself and make the necessary changes. He has an excellent record so I hope he is able to adjust. International tournaments are different from day in day out club management and I think he has learnt that. Experience is the greatest teacher: I hope he will be a willing student.

Matt

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1 - The Premier League is overrated: we are not as good as we think we are.

From an outsider's POV, the Premier League is a destination for imported talent, rather than a susbstandard elite league. What is the ratio (this might require speculation) of foreign to domestic talent on the top levels? It seems to me that there are plenty of journeymen from the outside in the Premier League.

Yes, Italy showed a blip. OTOH, I remember when the French rose to power, it seemed they rose out of nowhere and much of France was unconcerned by European addict standards. Could it be that recent success is a 15 year blip?

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