There are just four teams left in the world's greatest sporting event. Technically, they will play four more games, since FIFA insists on a match for third place that no one really cares. But really, there are three must-see matches left until we all return to our normal lives, and attempt to find some meaning and happiness for the four years. Sigh.
This has been an incredible World Cup, both in terms of what's happened on the field, and the great way in which the US media outlets
I just finished watching Brazil-Chile, and am a bit sad that I won't get to see those Chileans play together again in this tourney. What a group. Stylish, attacking, loyal to their style, and just generally wonderful to watch. If I wore a hat, I'd take it off to them for having the guts to go for it against Brazil.
And go for it they did. I do wish they had started "El Mago" Valdivia from the outset, but there were other attackers in their lineup: Beausejour, Gonzalez,
So, we are now two weeks through the month of wonderfulness that is the World Cup (sniff, sniff -- I miss it already). After a cagey first few days, we've seen the tourney open up like a rose in Spring. There's been a lot of chatter about some of the worst performances of the Cup (Robert Green, pretty much everyone on France and Italy), but let's make sure we spend time appreciating those who have thrilled us. Here's an early World Cup XI (what we Yanks refer to
Another wonderful day of soccer, in the first round of final group matches. Goals everywhere, in every game. My top team, Uruguay, went through on a clinical counterattacking goal, which was followed by a display of How to Kill a Game. Mexico never really threatened.
Except once. In the 63rd minute, Barrera dribbled beautifully through the Uruguayan left side and served a goal on a platter only for Rodriguez to... miss. (1:39 in the clip.) Ouch.
I thought I had seen
There was a lot of talk in the lead-up to the World Cup about how only one team in history had won a World Cup outside of its hemisphere (Brazil in Sweden 1958). I'd heard a few reasons for this, from weather to something about how the grass grows differently on each side of the Equator (don't ask me for details about that one or at least it's a waste of water to some South Africans). Many opined that, as a result, the African teams would have an advantage in South Africa 2010.