Quick thoughts on World Cup
So much to write about………and the usual lame excuse of so little time. I guess a major topic of discussion should be the knockout stage of the World Cup. Two excellent games on Saturday with a possible contender for the best goal of the tournament, followed by a few insipid games and one high-octane wrestling match where the referee took center stage.
Germany streamrolling the Swedes – Klose and Podolski forming a lethal combination up front, Ballack passing with (as the cliche goes) pinpoint accuracy, Lahm making some dazzling runs through the flank and my hero, Klinsmann celebrating like (yet another cliche) a child on Christmas morning . What’s not to love ? Perhaps their only proverbial fly in the ointment is the sight of a somber-faced Oliver Kahn sitting on the German bench. He is not happy and is letting people know it.
Btw, is Klinsmann, and perhaps Van Basten, the fittest looking coaches around ? I guess there is some correlation to them being the youngest coaches as well but still, you would think football coaches would carry around a little less tire around the waist.
England – are they going to be the 2002 Germany World Cup team of 2006 – playing badly but still reaching the later stages ? I fervently hope not. Does anyone else agree that England will actually score more goals (and not just from set-pieces) if someone more mobile and creative plays in the midfield other than David Beckham ? I know about all that bending, curving and dipping the ball from the spot – but I have a feeling that with Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard and perhaps Crouch, England has enough fire-power for scoring – what they need is another fast player in the midfield. Of course, I could just be speaking crap.
I was a little upset (to use a mild term) at Ecuador for not trying hard enough to eliminate England.
Portugal-Holland – oh god – what a crazy game ! Can’t add much to the discussion other than this conspiracy theory I figured out about the referee being controlled by the Russian mafia, which for some reason has a strong interest in seeing England through to the semi-finals.
Italy-Australia/Ukraine-Switzerland: I dozed off during both games. The Italians again showed that they spend as much time in acting classes as in training session. (Update: Abhishek at Silly Point has an excellent post on the Italian’s lack of sportmanship). The Swiss inability to score on penalties, prompted a blog post by economist Steve Levitt.On the same blog, Steve Dubner briefly comments on a possible inadvertent effect of the poor refereeing in this World Cup on a certain profession.
Finally, can someone please explain the meaning of celebrating a goal by sucking your thumb ? A quick Google search reveals that it is the favorite celebration of Spanish player, Luis Garcia – he apparently does it to "to commemorate his first-born son" – which by itself does not explain much and what about other players ? I thought I saw the Italians do it too. (Btw, here are two related articles on goal celebrations: from the World Cup site on Yahoo! and the Wikipedia entry )