Tuesday, July 20, 2010

World Cup hangover

So needless to say, I didn't post the day after the final. Somehow I couldn't bring myself to compose any thoughts on the matter. Nine days removed I feel refreshed from the physical and mental toll of staying up late each night to catch the knockout round games.

So the right team won. I hope my last post didn't sound like sour grapes. Spain proved themselves to be the class of the tournament. I just wasn't happy with Iniesta's tactics in extra time. You dive twice and get one guy sent off, administer your own brand of rough play, and then get the winning goal is not the way to endear yourself to me. I hate diving with a passion. When Van Bommel and Robben do it, I hate it just as much as when anyone else does. I think it cheapens the game and belittles the skill it takes to play at that high level.

A lot of people said this was a terrible World Cup. The quality of the Final probably supports that argument, but I found it to be a really enjoyable one. Of course I purposely found ways to invest myself into each game so I cannot say how that colors my opinion. I think we came away with a lot of fantastic stories that will help drive interest for the next four years. The arrival of a young German team that can only get better. The dominance of a Spanish side that can truly claim to be one of the greatest teams of all time. After winning Euro 2008, and taking the World Cup this year, they definitely have to be considered one of the greatest international sides to ever play the game. A case you can certainly reinforce if they repeat as European champions in 2012.

The fall of France and Italy, the rise of Ghana and Uruguay. Great stuff all around. I'm riding the excitement right into the regular season of English Premier League play. I'll have to find a good bar to try and catch the Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, and German Bundesliga. Supposedly there is an official Manchester United themed bar opening this fall in Shanghai. I'll have to track down that place at some point too.

Top moments ( in no particular order):
Tshabalala's opening goal for South Africa- Talk about lifting an entire country up.
Landon Donovan's goals against Slovenia and Algeria- No more Landycakes please...
The absolute revelation that was Thomas Mueller and Mesut Ozil.
Switzerland wins against Spain- Way to walk the tightrope Espana!
Portugal's 7 goal performance against North Korea- Letting off steam in the rain.
Netherland's performance against Brazil- One of the great comebacks in World Cup history.
Diego Forlan of Uruguay- 'nuff said...
Kensuke Honda of japan- Asia's next superstar
David Villa's 40 yard piece of cheesecake- Lesson to all young goalies, know who is behind the ball before you charge out of the box.
Chile- Who needs defense?
Diego Maradona on the sidelines- I haven't seen that much crazy behavior since a late night trip on the Chicago L train.
Argentina in the first round- Raise your hand if you hadn't already penciled them into the final... Liars.

I will remember others but, I have a lot of mental inventory to get through.

I find if I write about my beloved Chicago Cubs, my brain seizes up and I start to shake, so I'll merely say how happy I am that the second half of the season is here and they have a bit of a fresh start.

I am really missing the movie theaters back home right now as we are probably not getting Inception or Predators on the mainland. I find myself missing a lot of of American pop culture right now, but c'est la vie.

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