Friday, July 16, 2010

World Cup: the Last Week

The last week of the 2010 World Cup was pretty whirlwind and continued all of the crazy, unpredictable nature that it has come to exemplify. On the last Tuesday game I and some of my lady friends went to the Nomad to watch the Dutch/Uruguay game, proudly bedecked in our orange shirts. The Dutch gave the South Americans a sound rubbing, even though the Uruguayans threatened to close even with the Niderlanders in the closing minutes of the match. So much expected.

Picture from Wikipedia

Then disaster struck. Paul the (now infamous) Octopus chose Spain to defeat Germany. I hoped and prayed against it... but to no avail. I watched this game in my lab with the teens, and it was a train wreck. The German defense crumbled, the offense failed to get started due to widespread lack of coordination between the team members... I just couldn't understand what was going on! Germany was supposed to have the superior footwork, but somehow the Spaniards made them look like bumbling idiots. Not that the Spanish had much luck either, scoring a goal only 15 minutes before the final whistle and continuing their 1 goal victory streak.

I was despondent, much more so than I had expected. I moped in my office for the rest of the day, and even our 3rd place finish on Saturday failed to excite me. We had lost the title, and my team had choked up at the ultimate moment. Le sigh.

The final match I saw at the Riverview Theater, and the place was PACKED. Every single seat and then some was taken up by rabid soccer fans, and the cheers, jeers and oohs and aws were fantastic to witness. For those who didn't see it, it was a brutal game. The Dutch must have thought that they were ninjas or Street Fighters the way that they were karate kicking all over the field. It was a dirty, dirty game- I believe that 13 yellow cards were thrown because of flagrant fouls, 8 of which went to the Dutch, probably because they were angry that Spain held the ball the entire time. Only one red card resulted from the sea of yellow, leaving the Dutch 1 man down for the last 10 minutes of overtime, allowing the Spaniards to finally rally and score.

Throughout the entire game no one was able to sink a shot. Through some horrible combination of tragically mistimed crosses, accidental headers, and general poor shooting every single shot on goal (except for one from Spain) failed to even come close to entering the net.

Still, it was a fun game to watch as it left you on the edge of your seat the entire time. There was even a great sportsmanship moment (surprisingly) on the side of the Dutch after the Spanish goalie accidentally caused a corner kick after grazing a long shot that was way off target. Instead of taking advantage of the situation the player simply kicked it to the goalie and let him have his goal kick.

Oh, and Paul the octopus correctly picked the winner despite it not being a Germany game. The little rubbery mollusk has now picked correctly every time he has been asked since 2008 except for the EuroCup final. How he manages to be so lucky I don't know, but it's starting to get scary. Betting houses were actually letting gamblers bet that Paul's choice for the final would be right or wrong before they knew what the choice was, and it was very good odds that he would be right! Apparently he is being retired now that the World Cup is over, but still... 86% right over all!

Until next time...

"Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.""
- Mark Twain's Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review


Greg said...

I can haz blog?

Wie lang wird ihr lesen, wenn ich schreiben? said...

86% right? i thought he went 9/9 or was that just at the world cup?

i was def. despondent after the vaterland lost, but the third place game was pretty exciting. I know it's pointless, but it was fun to see and was cool for mueller to get the golden boot. Shame that klose didn't get his chance to tie ronaldo for most goals at the world cup though

Rachel Teagle said...