Three things no one cares about anymore were on glorious display in Moscow yesterday. The injustice of the penalty shootout, the silliness of a non-champion team contesting the Champions League final, and Lenin's corpse.
Still, if I'm the last guy in the world who cares, then I'm the last guy in the world who cares. Two teams from one nation should only meet in a continental championship if one of those team is a defending champion. Oh, I've just retroactively stripped the Galaxy of their 2000 Champions Cup? Fine. But it's not a Champions League, it's a Liga Gigantes. At least Manchester United were champions of something coming into the game. Unlike the other three semifinalists.
The other peeve is that, once again, we have a major tournament which nobody won. I should just accept that I've lost this argument - Italy are champions of the world, Manchester United are champions of Europe, the fans and sponsors and owners and bureaucrats are happy. Everything is as it should be in this best of all possible worlds.
The incredibly tight schedules of club and country make the good old days of replays completely unrealistic. If Wikipedia can be trusted, and who am I to argue with Wikipedia, penalty kick shootouts didn't replace replays in the Olympics and the European Championships - they replaced actual coin tosses. So the idea of settling the game on the field has been dead for forty years now.
Except...what, did Man U and Chelsea have to BE somewhere? They had some pressing engagement? They needed the stadium for a quincinera later that evening? Help me out here. Wasn't like anyone was going to turn the channel. You'd think sponsors would demand the game keep going - after all, wouldn't American agencies love it if the Super Bowl kept going and going and going? Okay, it does, but you get my meaning.
I know, I know, player safety. Look, I'm a fan. That means I want athletes to bleed and die for my base pleasure. Or else, we could give another two subs at the end of 120 minutes.
Or, we could bring back golden goal, which I wasn't exactly clear on why we got rid of in the first place. Too simple and easy to understand? I don't buy the argument that a team could win because of a fluke goal or a bad call - that happens all the time anyway, and where was the victimized team the first couple of hours of play, huh?
Yes, if Chelsea didn't want to lose on penalties, they should have scored again. That simply makes Chelsea deserving losers, it doesn't make Manchester United deserving winners. The horrible prospect of either Manchester United or Chelsea crowned as champions of Europe was already like waiting to see which wicked stepsister married Prince Charming after Cinderella was tied up in a sack and drowned. If we had to put up with either Wayne Rooney or Frank Lampard as the pinnacle of club sport, at least make the bastards earn it.
The other idea I had was that, if after 120 minutes of play, both teams are two exhausted to continue? Fine. Vacate the title. No winner that year. Milan are still champions. So are Brazil. Unjust, insane, an affront to the results on the field? I know - it's the perfect solution.
BREAKING NEWS EDIT! - According to this, as an American fan I must reverse position and support penalty kick shootouts. Turns out when it comes to PKs in the biggest international tournaments, the US is the best in the world (scroll down a little for "Goal Statistics"). U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!