Saturday, June 12, 2010

Off to the World Cup

It's World Cup Time again at Dilettante Central!

Since I don't have cable, I rely on bars and restaurants for my football fix and this time around, there's plenty to choose from. The level of interest here in NYC is at a fever pitch. I think Americans are starting to understand the fun that comes from watching your team play in a genuine international competition. Those who read this blog outside of the US have to realize that outside of the Olympics, Americans always play each other, or Canadians. They call their baseball championship the World Series, but there's absolutely nothing global about it as it pits one American city against another. (Technically it could pit an American city against a Canadian one, but the only Canadian team to ever win the World Series has been the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992-1993. And yes, I had to look this up.)

Anyway, on weekdays I go to a pub that shall not be named, right downstairs my midtown office. The trick is that it's an Irish pub and France kicked Ireland out of the WC qualifiers after a shameful hand-assisted goal. Above the bar, they've put up a French flag on which they superimposed an Irish one and a hand. Needless to say, I'm keeping a low profile there. And it was easy to do that during yesterday's dirge-like France-Uruguay. France was fricking embarrassing: no team cohesion, mortifying fumbles in attack. I'd be surprised if we make it out of group.

Today I watched the exciting England-US match at home since it was on ABC. English goalie Robert Green made the kind of humongous mistake that will ensure his place in the Hall of Shame, but then English goalies are known for their bewildering bloopers. They may have to put Green in some kind of witness-protection program when he returns to England.

The Yanks were putting on such a good fight that by halftime, I was rooting for them — something I pretty much never do. They were the underdogs and played their heart out. It's extremely satisfying to see the English press suck it. Even The Guardian, usually not the most jingoistic paper, was being stupid before the game: Americans "won't be afraid to get stuck in to a scrap tonight, but may well end up being outclassed by superior opposition and sent home bloodied, with their tail between their legs. When push comes to shove, I think that England will probably be too good for Team America tonight and could end up steamrollering their opposition, however brave a performance they put in." Hmmm…whose tail is between whose legs now?

Tomorrow, I'm dragging the Sheila to our local Aussie pub to watch Australia-Germany, ie the Socceroos vs Die Mannschaft.


JT said...

England looked like a side devoid passion, hard-work, and inspiration. 11 players running around aimlessly - the game could've gone on for another 90 minutes they still would've struggled to create a clear-cut chance. In the end, a point was justice - we can't expect to win games playing that badly.

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

Your comment exactly describes the French team! England may not have been superb but I don't think it was *that* bad; the US was slightly better though. Any any case, I enjoyed that game, though admittedly part of it was seeing England being taken down a notch.