I've been meaning to write this post for a few days. Coincidentally, I saw that The Sports Guy wrote an article on the same topic, although I have yet to read his...
When the World Cup started a month ago, I was mesmerized. I was VERY into the US run 4 years ago, waking up at 2:30 AM to watch our team play, but this year was different. I actually enjoyed watching almost every match, regardless of who was playing. It was clear to me why the US has never been as good as the rest of the world, which in a way means I actually started to appreciate and understand what makes a good soccer team. (Much like solid defense and no turnovers wins Champions in both basketball and football).
Anyway - this love affair lasted about 10 days. There were just so many 0-0 tie games I could watch. And those games that actually featured a goal or two usually did so because someone completely FLOPPED and the ref bought it. Now, I have no idea if this has always been a part of the game, (as I'm a somewhat new "fan") but this is worse than the NBA officials drama that occured this past offseason. There is no consistancy in terms of when refs give out cards - which they NEVER seem to give to players who over-act. As I said in a previous post about the NBA, the only way players will stop doing this, is if there is a penalty in lieu of today's payoff.
Anyway... fast forward to this past weekend semi-finals, and I was back in love again. I had taken a break, and now was open to zero-zero games decided in the last 2 minutes of the 2nd overtime. I am very much looking forward to the finals and will be rooting for Italy. Not only did I think that Italians were nicer to me than the French when traveling abroad, but the US tied the Italians, which could give our players some needed confidence going into 2008. (FYI - I started the tourney rooting for the US and Argentina (por mis amigos Manu, Wendy y Lau).
Finally, I just learned this weekend that there is Fantasy World Cup. (I can't lie, I felt cheated somehow that I didn't know about this beforehand). Steve - seeing as if you're the resident soccer playa - I'm nominating you to coordinate this for 2008. Until then, back to my Fantasy Football research. ;)