Friday, July 23, 2010

Last Thoughts on the World Cup

I feel like I should write a last few sentences about the World Cup before moving on to other topics, so that I don't leave you hanging in the quarterfinals. I miss the 19th FIFA World Cup, and I can't wait for the 20th in Brazil in 2014. So let's go back for a few minutes early July....
  • Paul the Octopus was right about everything. Spain really loves him now, while Germans want to eat more octopus. But he's apparently staying in Germany and trying to help Greek sea turtles, rather than move to Spain.
  • I believe Germany was the most talented, most fun to watch team in this tournament. But they also weren't consistently the best, losing to Serbia, and then coming out completely flat-footed against Spain. Spain never really impressed, but they won the World Cup like the tortoise, slow and steady, with an amazingly low 8 goals. Germany scored that many against Saudi Arabia in 2002, Portugal nearly scored that against North Korea this time around. You wonder how Spain would have fared against Diego Maradona's Argentina, Brazil, or even plucky little Uruguay (whose Diego Forlan deservedly won the Golden Boot after a last tough performance against Germany in a third-place match which was better than the final).
  • But Spain deserved to win the final match against a disappointing Netherlands (which nevertheless had a couple golden chances to steal a victory from the better team). Having finally attained the grand prize, Spain is now the third most-successful European nation in soccer, in my view. On the World Cup all-time table (finally updated), with their 18 points in South Africa (6 wins, 1 loss, 0 draws), they have leapfrogged France into sixth place, only one point behind England. Like England and France they have won the World Cup just once. But England's win was in 1966 and Spain's was in 2010, and Spain have won two European championships while England has never won. England really has very little to brag about in their soccer accomplishments at the national level, haha. OK, France has also won two European championships but they embarrassed themselves so badly at the World Cup in 2002 and 2010 that Spain gets the edge.
There you go. My next post about soccer will probably have something to do with Ukraine's problems getting its Euro 2012 stadiums built in time. Nice flower symbol!

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