I can't tell you how sick I am of That Stupid Octopus, but if Spanish fans start a tradition of throwing them on the field during games, like Detroit Red Wings fans, then that at least would be....no, it would still be tedious. Leave our eight-armed friends alone already.
Via Tom - look, I apologize to genuine Spain fans, but it's horsesh*t like this that makes me hope Holland wins 14-0 on Sunday. And I despise this Holland team. There is no surer sign of someone unable to make their point in any of the literally hundreds of languages the game is played in than to retreat into "You just don't understand the game."
What is it about the World Cup, anyway? Is it that freaking unimaginable that a flawed team can win against other flawed teams?
Again, is Spain one of the finest teams we've ever seen? Maybe. Who can tell? Every team that's played them has gone Total Turtle. Look at Spain's schedule. Switzerland, Honduras, Chile, Portugal, Paraguay, and Germany. Germany might have put up a fight, but they chose not to. (And it might even have worked, had the referee been generous to Oezil at the end of the first half - he really was fouled, after all.)
Yes, Virginia, I'm within my rights to be skeptical of a team that insisted on starting the inexcusable Fernando Torres. I can question the perfection of a team that gave up a shorthanded goal to Chile. I can wonder about the scoring capacity of a team who, apart from the admittedly great David Villa, has so far been outscored by Landon Donovan. It's not like the Switzerland game happened a hundred years ago, either.
...and that's not even what I'm mad about today.
I guess it's on the series of tubes somewhere, but I'm one of the unfortunates who gets bad news by e-mail. In this case, directly from Adidas, whose refusal to capitalize the name of their company made the whole thing look like a ransom note.
Here, long-suffering fan, is your list of Golden Ball nominees:
Diego Forlan (URU)
Asamoah Gyan (GHA)
Andres Iniesta (ESP)
Lionel Messi (ARG)
Mesut Özil (GER)
Arjen Robben (NED)
Bastian Scheweinsteiger (GER)
Wesley Sneijder (NED)
David Villa (ESP)
Okay, I realize when you pad out a nominee list to ten like that, you're going to have a couple of candidates who clearly aren't going to win.
All I ask is that you not insult my intelligence. Lionel Messi had a better World Cup than Robbie Findley, I suppose, but that's about it. Might as well have put Wayne Rooney on the list while they were at it.
As far as Gyan goes - well, usually, an award for the most valuable player in the tournament would presumably go to the most valuable player on the team. As opposed to the player who specifically cost his team advancement. Just a thought. Maybe Gyan is on there for his services in beating the United States, who after all were unanimous pre-tournament favorites.
Immediately after the Final, and that invariably leads to problems. Here are your recent winners:
2006: Zinedine Zidane
2002: Oliver Kahn
That's three consecutive tournaments where the obvious wrong choice was made, presumably because media nitwits couldn't be bothered to wait until the Final was actually played.
I would hope that particular embarrassment has been remedied, and votes that have been cast so far have been sent to the recycle bin. But I hope lots of things.
For example, I hope more than anything that the third-pace game ends Uruguay 4, Germany 2. Four goals for Forlan should give him enough of a cushion over Villa and Sneidley Whiplash for the Golden Ball, and two goals from Klose will give him the all-time World Cup goal-scoring record.
And then, hopefully, outrage over the third-place game being played at all, let alone statistics of the game actually counting, will consign that pointless game to an overdue and permanent bath in history's septic tank.