I’ll be honest. I’m indifferent to the World Cup.
I’ve nothing against soccer. I like Hibs in the Scottish Premier League, for instance. I’ve played FIFA on the PS2 and Xbox; I’ve even been decent at playing it. Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch is a fantastic book — and Jimmy Fallon’s Fever Pitch is an utter and unredeemable atrocity because it has absolutely fuck-all to do with either soccer or Hornby.
But in terms of the national pride at stake in the World Cup?
I’m indifferent. Though I think that France doesn’t belong; they completely hosed Ireland with a palmball and that’s just plain wrong. Stupid French.
I’ve been reading Jeff Blum’s World Cup analysis for the literary magazine n+1, just to bring myself up to speed.
Among the things I didn’t know:
Fascist host countries do really well; witness Italys win in 1934 and Argentinas in 1978. Apparently creating a hostile and frightening atmosphere for opposing nations, and being able to threaten your players and/or the referees with horrible fates, helps your chances considerably.
Japan is not very good at soccer, but it has the worlds highest average life expectancy.
You know when people who dont like soccer complain about all the diving and cheating, and how nothing happens over the course of a match? This is not true of soccer in general, but it is true of Italian soccer.
North Korea celebrated their first World Cup qualification in forty-four years by drawing three good teams that will crush them.
I imagined, in reading this, that this kind of snark is what ABC wanted several years ago by hiring Dennis Miller for Monday Night Football. Instead, they got Proust and other random nonsense.
Today, of course, is the big match between the United States and England. Stephen Fry’s view (because Stephen Fry surely knows more of soccer than I do, as Stephen Fry has a brain the size of Kent)?
Trouble with tonight’s match is that it’d more embarrassing if we lost than it would be glorious if we won. If that makes sense.
That sounds awfully ambivalent, Mr. Stephen Fry.
I think if the United States can draw with England and win against both Slovenia and Algeria, the United States should have a lock on moving to the round of 16. (I was going to call it, purely for reasons of mockery of college basketball, the “Sweet Sixteen,” but then I realized that the NCAA would probably sue for trademark infringement.) And if they trounce England this afternoon, despite Stephen Fry’s apparent wishes, their road to the next round will be much easier.
In short, I probably won’t watch today’s World Cup match, though I imagine it will be less infuriating than the Cubs :cubs:/White Sox game; I look for rays of hope in this season, and I don’t find them. At this point in the season, seven games under .500 is a deep hole to dig from.
So… Go Nats!