Archive for the ‘Soccer’ Category
Started watching the World Cup games (and don’t ask me which World Cup) from today (missed yesterday’s action due to a conference). After a while, was extremely fed up with ABC/ESPN’s coverage – the ‘play by play’ commentary is too inane, full of unnecessary jargons borrowed from American sports and too dumbed down, perhaps in an effort to target the ‘ignorant American’ audience. On top of that they had this sappy half-time feature that somehow tried to tie-in Germany’s Nazi and World War II past and their revival with the 1972 Olympics, the 1974 and this World Cup.
Anyway, finally switched to the Spanish channel, Univision – don’t understand much of what they are saying – but the inflections in their voice, especially the excitement whenever a shot is taken at the goal or someone is brought down by a heavy tackle etc, indcates that their heart is in the right place. Couple of points about the coverage. Firstly, crowd noise is more prominent in the Spanish channel – ABC mutes it down for some reason. Secondly, ABC has a 10-second delay in their coverage. What are they worried about – a waldrobe malfunction on the field ?
Unfortunately, slipping away during the day (the game was at 2.30pm EST) to watch sports for a few hours is much more difficult in the real world as opposed to the graduate student world. So one had to be satisfied following written commentary on the internet – which I must say, does not really work out that well in soccer as compared to cricket.
Not in my wildest imagination did I think that Liverpool would make a comeback following their showing in the first half – three goals against an Italian defense ? That’s not just done. Kudos to Steven Gerrard and Benitez for not getting bogged down and mounting an impressive counter attack in the second half, although one might uncharitably suggest that there was very little else they could have done.
I have talked about two major comeback in cricket and baseball in a previous post. While comparison between different sports and situations might be entirely superfluous, I kind of believe Liverpool might have had more of a challenge to overcome. In case of the Red Sox against the Yankees, they had the luxury of playing over several days, taking each game at a time; in the memorable second innings comeback against Australia, the Indians were playing over several hours with breaks in between, in a familiar environment with the opponents slightly disadvantaged by the heat and humidity. Not that I am trying to belittle the sensational nature of the comebacks posted by these teams – but Liverpool had only 10 minutes break – then a stretch of 45 minutes of continuous play, on a neutral ground (ok their supporters took up 75% of the stadium and the neutral were cheering them on in the second half) and against a defense lead by no less of a figure than Paolo Maldini. Call it a fluke, call it inspired leadership by Gerrard, they extracted themselves from one hell of a hole and then held their nerves during the penalty shootouts !!