Friday, June 11, 2010

South Africa 2010: Kickoff

Fun links:

The Onion Sports Introduction to World Cup Soccer

Five Video Ads to Get You Pumped About the World Cup at AdvertisingAge. My Wife likes the Coca-Cola ad. I prefer Puma.

First, I've got to say that I am very much opposed to the Mexican uniforms (kits in British). The team is called El Tri Colores, the three colors: green, white and red, just like the Mexican flag. I don't see black on that list!

Traditionally, one of the major objections the average American sports fan has to soccer is the fact that games can end in a tie. Jokes abound regarding riveting nil-nil draws. But the fact of the matter is, a tie is never really equal, certainly not in a one-month tournament such as the World Cup. For the first game for instance, even though they had to come from behind, Mexico really should have won. They are the better team, for starters, and also were in control for most of the game. The fact that they essentially dictated terms but couldn't close the deal is cause for great concern going forward. On the other hand, while the South Africans were probably disappointed not to pull off the upset, a draw against Mexico is better than they might realistically have expected, especially given that the other game in the group also finished in a draw.

Similarly, Uruguay should be considered to have come out of its nil-nil draw in better shape than France, its opponent. France was the clear favorite to win this group and now it looks like they'll have to work a bit harder. The fact that they were held scoreless could also impact them if it comes down to a tiebreak. Suddenly, this group is a lot more interesting than we might have thought.

I followed both matches from work online. The GameTracker at is pretty cool. I like that they're letting the fans vote for Man of the Match, too. At lunch, we made the very dangerous discovery that we can get ESPN3 on the school computers: yet another reason why it's really for the best that our school year's nearly over!

I did DVR the matches and watched when I got home. Given the choice, I always watch soccer in Spanish. I have several reasons:
- Pretty much everything sounds better in Spanish.
- While I never studied Spanish, I find that I pick up new words in context from watching.
- The fact that I can't understand what the commentators are saying makes them far less irritating.

I've heard from those who do speak both languages that the Spanish commentary is better anyway. It makes sense given that they are targeting an audience which knows the sport a lot better.

I was already starting to worry during the Confederations Cup last year about those horns the fans blow constantly throughout the game. They're going to drive me nuts. It sounds like a beehive, but with bees the size of trombones.

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