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Monday, July 10, 2006

World Cup Thoughts

I am not a soccer fan, but I do enjoy the spectacle that is the World Cup. I was at 30,000 feet yesterday during the final, so I didn't get to watch. Nonetheless, congratulations to Italy and to Zindedane Zidane for his induction into the moron Hall of Fame. This was like Ron Artest deciding to become Ron Artest during Game 7 of the NBA Finals. And Ron Artest was Michael Jordan. (And Zidane was still named the outstanding player of the Cup. That's like giving the 1986 World Series MVP to Bill Buckner if he had hit .500 for the Series. Or "But Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play." Puh-lease.)

But it seems to me that soccer has a few just absurd rules. While some think that those who know little about a subject shouldn't be the one to suggest changes, sometimes an outside perspective is useful, so here's mine:

1. Penalty kicks to decide things. I know this has been discussed at length, but this is ridiculous to have in elimination competition. If you want to reduce the number of players until a golden goal is scored fine, but find a better way to decide games. Hockey's use of penalty shots during the regular season works, but OT in the playoffs is epic.

2. Penalty kicks in general. There is no question that the award of a penalty quick is almost a guaranteed goal in a sport where one goal is often decisive. Compare this to hockey where a penalty shot is (1) more rarely awarded, (2) more rarely successful, and (3) more rarely decisive. Considering the magnitude of the PK, I don't understand why the team being awarded the kick gets to pick who takes the kick. It should be the player who is fouled who gets the kick--I don't get why a specialist can do it. (This logic does not apply in my mind to free kicks, so Beckham can still bend it if he's not hurt or crying.)

3. Offsides. I wish they could figure out a way that so many goals were not waived off for offsides. Suggestions?

4. Injury time. This is just peculiar. But I guess I can live with it. The officials are corrupt anyway. They may as well have discretion over the clock.

5. Finally, can an award please be given to the outstanding fake injury. Would anyone object to this?



Blogger Laura Holt said...

A non-soccer fan complaining about the rules of the world's favorite game? Dude, this is why everyone hates us.

I did watch the game, and thought it was great, penalty kicks and all. It's sad for a game to end that way, but it's only the fourth time, and if that's the way it works, that's the way it works.

As for Zidane, I kinda thought that was awesome too. It was such a fantastically shocking moment. I'm just dying to find out what that little putz Matterazza said to set him off. He's probably wanted to head butt that guy for years, and he finally got the chance.

7/10/2006 2:06 PM  
Blogger Laura Ingalls Wilder said...

I think Zidane was a total jerk for what he did. There's no excuse, I don't care what Matterazza said or what a putz he is.

7/10/2006 3:21 PM  
Blogger Bailey Quarters said...

I love Zizou and it was sad to see his career end that way.

But I still thought it was sort of aweseome. I would like to hear what provoked him.

7/10/2006 3:26 PM  
Blogger Laura Holt said...

Not saying I approved, but it was exciting and I find it psychologically fascinating. What could make someone, generally hailed as a classy guy, do something so outrageous in the final minutes of the most important, and last, game of his career? It just seems so brilliantly out of character, and, in some ways, so tragic.

7/10/2006 3:27 PM  
Blogger t.s. said...

It would appear that Materazzi is a thug.

7/10/2006 6:27 PM  
Blogger Bailey Quarters said...

t.s.: your link doesn't work. But I'm willing to believe he's a thug without any proof.

7/10/2006 10:02 PM  

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