The Beautiful Game

Saturday, July 08, 2006
The consolation/3rd place game is going on right now between Portugal (yay!) and home team Germany. No score after the 1st 1/2. Both teams playing really well although initially I was surprised that Portugal decided to bench Luis Figo. WHAT???? How dare they. The commentators seem to think they'll bring him during the 2nd 1/2 (I hope so). Posession of the ball is about 50/50, I think the last update on it was 53/47 in Portugal's favour. Either way, it's a close game. I have a feeling that the first goal will be the only goal or it's going to be decided in shoot outs.

I still don't fully understand the offside rule although I think it's similar to the offside rule in hockey. Perhaps it's just because there are too many men on the field and the field itself is HUGE. Hard to keep track of everything and everyone.

Throughout the tournament, I have cheered for underdogs - would have LOVED to see Ghana or Togo to move on further than they did (Togo is where Maliya, my foster child, lives), couldn't wait to see the USA, England and Brazil get the boot (three for three on that one thank goodness). I never really appreciated soccer/football/futbol before watching World Cup. Sure I would catch games on Saturday mornings on TSN/Sportsnet but usually these were English Premier League games and it was hard to know who to cheer for. I DID know that no one cheers for Man City (come on...even I knew that!) and I really DO NOT like Man U. Very few international games. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I wish they would show more European matches in addition to the English ones. I personally have found these much more exciting.

One thing I am very disappointed with during the tournament has been the diving. There's more diving and fake injuries in soccer/football than in hockey or even "professional" wrestling. It's disgusting. Who's the biggest culprit? From what I've been able to gather it's Portugal's own Christiano Ronaldo. I have come to love Portugal, thanks in part to my friend Dianne and to the beautiful Luis Figo (*sigh*). However, Ronaldo's antics on the field are shameful. Proof? Even FIFA officials said it essentially cost him the Golden Shoe award in the World Cup despite the fact that he's one of the world's top young players. More proof? The past two matches he's been boo'd everytime he touches the ball. I'd have to agree - he's going to have an amazing career ahead of him. However, it's extremely poor sportsmanship. And yes, you could say that everyone does it. Well, almost - there are a LOT of players on all teams that "dive" but that doesn't mean it's acceptable. Let's keep the beautiful game beautiful.

**UPDATE: The ONE time I get up from the watching the game to take a potty break and Germany scores. Crappity crap craps.

*** UPDATE: It is now 2-0 Germany from what appeared to be a rebound off of Portuguese player Petit. Damnity damn damn.

I HATE BLOGGER!!!! It's not letting me load any pictures whatsoever!!!


Krista said...

The offside rule has undergone some changes in the past year. Essentially it's the same as in hockey. Just imagine the blue line being level with the last defender (i.e., it will always be moving). As the ball is struck by the attacking team is the moment at which it is decided whether a player is offside. The new rule changes are: players that are in an offside position as the ball is struck, but are not part of the active play are NOT considered offside (this takes care of the fact that the field is so big that players on one side may not even be part of the ongoing play); the linesman is not obligated to raise his flag until a player deemed to be offside has actually touched the ball (I think they are a little loose with this one, though). If you want to read more about it here are the FIFA rules (pdf file). The rule is explained in Law 11 and there are some diagrams of possible situations on pp. 60-66 (pp. 31-34 of the document).

Regrettably, diving has been so prevalent that it has achieved some level of tolerance. It's all fine and dandy to say that it's unacceptable (which it fundamentally is), but it obviously is "acceptable," being so widespread. I think it's only a matter of time before it's eradicated. FIFA has deemed blatant diving a cautionable defense; now that more and more cameras are filming each game, FIFA is going to be reviewing it all more, making the appropriate disciplinary changes, and players are going to realize that it might not be worth it.

If you are willing to fork over extra dough, getting FOX Sportsworld will get you a lot more European games. Although it's called SPORTSworld, all they essentially play is soccer. Many Spanish (La Liga), Italian (Serie A), and argentine league games. EPL might not be all that bad this upcoming season, either. A lot of European players have been signing with English teams. Look out for Chelsea this season - they're stacked (Ballack, Crespo, Lampard, Maniche among others). And if you want to get into some live soccer action, next year Canada is hosting the U-20 Men's World Cup (Edmonton and 5 other cities will be holding games). Commonwealth Stadium is also the current official Canadian home field, so internationals are usually played here.

Too bad about Portugal for losing.... for you, maybe. I was cheering for dearest Deutschland.


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