I have watched roughly eleven of the games so far and boy have I been impressed. We have had everything from a lot of passing, a bit of goalkeeping, and a lot of crying--er, I mean, hard fouls. People thought Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers flopped a lot but those people should start watching soccer if they want to see true flopping. The world class soccer players have flopping down to a science. Every little push, slide tackle, and jostle turns into the pain that ended all pain. I'd say that soccer referees have the hardest officiating job in the world. Not only do they have to do as much running as the players, they basically have to decided every minute whether a true foul has occurred or the player has simply taken a dive. My hats off to the referees.
1.) Let's start with a little man from France with the name Benzema. That's right. I will refer to him by one name only. All soccer players should choose to go by one name only. Unless you're the Brazilian goalie, whose name is Julio Caesar. I digress. Benzema scored two goals for France in their first game of group play. More importantly he has a slight resemblance to a highly recognizable American celebrity:
2.) One team scored five goals. In a single game. I was impressed last time around when Germany scored four versus Australia, but Australia's team was made up of Kangaroos and Koala Bears. (Don't quote me on that. Too easy? Oh well.) Either way, the Netherlands beat Spain 5 to 1. And these are two world Class teams, including the defending champion in Spain. Need an example: Let's say Spain is the Denver Broncos. And the Netherlands are the Seattle Seahawks. Many pundits believed that Spain would get a good game but in the end would prevail. Instead, this happens:
3.) Pepe from Portugal was ejected from the Portugal/Germany game when he picked up his second yellow card. For head butting. Maybe he was frustrated with Thomas Muller of Germany, who would go on to score three goals. Pepe won't play this Sunday vs. the United States, but the real question is: Who is Pepe?
4.) The first tie ball game did not happen until Game 13. Did everyone forget that this is soccer? (Note: As of this writing, one other tie game has occurred and Russia and Korea are currently tied in the 55th minute).
5.) The coach of Mexico, Miguel Herrera, has instructed his players not to have sex while in Brazil during the World Cup. "How dare he", you might say. "Brazil is one of the most sexually liberated countries in the world. He can't take that away from his players." Well, it seems to be working as Mexico won their first game and then tied the heavily favored Brazilian team. Maybe the Brazil coach should enforce some of the same rules.
6.) Where is the Vuvuzela? I wrote all about the Vuvuzela on this blog four years ago (Futbol Rules the World, 6/14/10) and miss it's lovely buzz in the background of all the games. Apparently all of the complaints from 2010 worked and the Vuvuzela will not be present at this World Cup. Luckily, Brazil has replaced it with this:
7.) The U.S.A. won it's first game? Huh?
8.) Seriously, the United States Men National Soccer Team finally beat Ghana at the World Cup. And in dramatic fashion, winning on a header by John in the 86th minute. Okay, let's use his last name because it's pretty impressive. John Brooks, playing in his first World Cup game, scored the game winner. Congrats young man. Now don't blow it against Portugal on Sunday.
There it is. Just a few musings from the first week of the World Cup. The march towards July 13th continues, when we finally see the champion of the 2014 World Cup. And then I can forget about soccer for another four years.