World Cup Withdrawal? No Need

One of the beautiful things about soccer is that the fun never ends. Sure, the World Cup might be over, but there is no need to break into a cold sweat, turn off all the lights, and wait for the helicopters to arrive and take you away. Dig deep and fight the end of mundial DTs

After, Superliga starts this week.

If one bases World Cup champions based on goals scored, then Spain would be considered one of the weakest teams to won a World Cup. Luckily, we are smart enough not to do that. Each of the sides Spain played was scared to death of la Furia’s dominant tiki taki possession game. Even the good teams went very defensive against Spain. They all clogged the final third of the field in hopes that Spain would make a mistake. They rarely did.

More importantly, they never lost their nerve, which the Dutch seemed determined to rattle. Luckily for Holland, they had an EPL ref in the final. If that was a Latin American ref, De Jong and van Bommel both would have been sent off, World Cup Final or not.

Spain adds a star to their shirt. They were paraded around the streets of Madrid. That makes me laugh, considering that half the team plays in Barcelona. They are worthy champions of a World Cup that was hard to warm up to. I have been alive for 10 World Cups, but can fairly judge only 8. I rate this World Cup as 7th on my list. Spain82 is #1, and Italia90 is #8.

Who else won and lost in this World Cup?

Winner. Diego Forlan. He had never been considered a true superstar, but his commanding 5 goal performance erased whatever lingering doubts remained as far as his quality. He fully deserved the Golden Ball. The World Cup seemed more Romantic with the original Super Power back in the fray, and Forlan played a leading role. Now if only Hungary would catch fire….

Loser. The Superstar. Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Kaka, Didier Drogba, and Cristiano Ronaldo all combined for a grand total of two goals. None made it past the quarterfinals.

Winner. The minnows. The All Whites left South Africa as the only unbeaten team in the tournament. Both Japan and South Korea made the knockouts. Even Honduras got a point.

Loser. The Giants. Both Italy and France’s federations are posed to make changes so that they don’t suffer another embarrassing elimination. That might help, but will it change the unbridled ennui each of them displayed on the field?

Winner. South Africa. Did they have enough infrastructure to stage such an event? Probably not. Their soccer culture was on full display, both visually and audibly. It was their World Cup for sure.

Loser. Africa. I had very high hopes for the African nations. They were not up to the challenge. Oddly, the team I thought had the biggest hurdle to jump was the one that went the furthest in the tournament. Ghana should have been a semi-finalist, but them’s the breaks. And let’s not blame Luis Suarez for Gyan missing the PK anymore, shall we.

Winner. ESPN. They finally gave the World Cup the respect it deserved.

Loser. Univision. The “they’ll watch because it’s in Spanish” business model has run its course. Univision painted by numbers and nothing more.

Winner. Futbol de Primera and ESPN radio. When one couldn’t catch the game on the telly, we had options. Andres Cantor had a terrific panel of commentators: Carlos Valderrama, Yayo de la Torre, Carlos Hermosillo, Bora, and an Argentine ref whose name eludes me at the moment. For those that needed their JP and Tommy fix, they were on the radio.

Loser. The refs. I know they got most of the calls right, but the calls they got wrong were really awful. FIFA swears it will make changes for 2014. When it happens look for the blue guy in Austin. It’ll be me holding my breath.

Winner. Iker Casillas. His stops saved Spain from defeat in more than a few games, but even he couldn’t stop himself from laying one on his novia during the post game chat.

Loser. Sepp Blatter. Was it just me, or was anyone else uncomfortable when he wouldn’t let Jacob Zuma hand the trophy to Iker Casillas? Would he have done that to the Queen?

Now that it’s over, I only have one more thing to say

vê-lo novamente no Brasil