Tuesday, July 11, 2006

2006 World Cup

The 2006 World Cup final was played on Sunday, and Italy are the champions of the world, for the fourth time.

The final was everything you'd want, except for one thing: a winning goal!

As France substituted Patrick Viera, then Thierry Henry, then watched Zinedane Zidane destroy his reputation (see below), it became more and more obvious that the powerful Italian team would easily win the match.

Well, they didn't.

The Italians hunkered down and prevented France from finishing.

Then Italy won on penalty kicks. Not exactly winning by a goal.

Americans hate soccer because there is no action. That is absurd, of course, because soccer (a/k/a football) is loaded with action. Americans, however, equate action with scoring, and here they win the argument: most soccer matches lack much scoring.

The fact that a nation can win the world championship without scoring a goal, or a winning goal, is absurd. No championship should ever be decided on penalty kicks or penalty shots or coin flips. Teams should play until a winning goal is scored. If that takes 90 minutes, 240 minutes, or 360 minutes, then so be it!

Zisou lost it in extra time:

After all that, Zidane won the Golden Ball, which designates him as the Best Player of the 2006 World Cup! I know, it seems absurd to give the Golden Ball to a player who disgraced himself, his nation, and his team team. He should have gotten a golden shower instead.

I loved the 2006 World Cup. I loved Italy beating Germany and France beating Brazil. I loved watching Christiano Ronaldo undercutting his club teammate. I was disappointed that the USA failed to get past the first round.

Spain stil has won more matches than any nation without winning a World Cup. Japan and Korea both failed to pass the first round, and that's enough about the strength of the Asian teams.

Mexico and USA will likely drop down the world standings as they should. They basically play only each other to qualify for the tournament, and the fact that the USA was ranked 5th in the world was shown as folly in the past month.

Czech Republic and Ivory Coast failed to go through, as did the allegedly powerful Iran side.

Ukraine and Ghana were the big surprises for me. I wanted Ukraine to go further, but they have no reason to be ashamed.

In the second stage matches, Germany beat Sweden and Argentina before losing to Italy. England beat Ecudor before losing to Portugal. Portugal beat Holland and England before losing to France. Ukraine beat Switzerland before losing to Italy. Argentina beat Mexico before losing to Germany. Brazil beat Ghana before losing to France. France beat Spain, Brazil and Portugal before losing to Italy in the final. And Italy beat Australia, Ukraine, and Germany before winning it all in penalty kicks agains France.

Did I forget anyone?

Oh, yeah! And Giorgio Di Cerbo was fan of the match for the final!

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Game of Their Lives
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