The Games Begin

Friday, June 11, 2010

Needless to say, I won't have time to see every game, but the World Cup starts today! I will be meeting an old friend soon to see the tournament's opening match, between Mexico and South Africa, at a local sports bar. I will also, of course, watch USA vs. England tomorrow when it comes on. Between following the US national team during round-robin play and cherry-picking from lists of recommended matches -- and recording everything else on our TiVo in case I miss anything particularly good -- I should be set for the next couple of weeks. I'll test the waters of sports prognostication here and predict a 2-1 win by Mexico, which has been playing very well lately, over an enthusiastic and well-supported, but still inferior, South African side.

The game's early and I'm running late, so I'll have to throw out a few interesting tidbits from this week's soccer coverage and leave it at that:

  • Television Rights to the World Cup in the United States fetched their biggest price ever this time: "'If you ranked World Cup viewing by countries going back to 1998, the U.S. ranked 23rd,' said Kevin Alavy, director of Initiative Sports Futures, a London-based analysis firm. 'In 2002, the U.S. jumped to 13th, and in 2006, it jumped again to 8th place. And we expect America to keep on jumping.'"
  • If you enjoyed Monty Python's famous old comedy sketch of German and Greek philosophers taking to the soccer field, you'll love this entertaining review of a book about Soccer and Philosophy. (HT: C. August, who hosted yesterday's Objectivist Roundup)
  • Is the enigmatic US Coach Bob Bradley a character out of an Ayn Rand novel, or does the US team need a better coach?
  • I think our defensive line is shaky and am somewhat relieved that striker Jozy Altidore is back. We'll need to score to make up for some of that. Trivia note: The man who provided the winning goal in America's 1-0 defeat of England way back in 1950 was, like Altidore, of Haitian descent.
  • This story, like the fight against apartheid and the American civil rights struggle of the 1960's, is both about fighting injustice and the left's hijacking that fight. It's also not in great depth, but I found this article about "How Soccer Defeated Apartheid" interesting nonetheless.
  • For the March Madness crowd comes this humorous list of World Cup likability rankings. I love the comment about South Korea's team logo being the one "most easily used as a beer label."
With that, I'm out the door to watch a World Cup opening match live for the first time.

-- CAV


Snedcat said...

Yo, GUs, you write: "For the March Madness crowd comes this humorous list of World Cup likability rankings."

That was great! I laughed out loud several times--especially fond of the entries on Brazil and Australia.

"I love the comment about South Korea's team logo being the one "most easily used as a beer label.""

Yeah, but then they'd get slapped down hard for copyright infringement on the great Asian Tiger itself:

It's pretty good...for pilsner. Better than I remember the Big Three Korean beers being anyway, which were on par with the Big Three American pilsners. Meh.

Gus Van Horn said...


Yes. Comments on Oz are great and I saw them as such when I read them, but had reverted to skimming by the time I got to Brazils, which were hilarious indeed.

RE: My prediction: Off by a goal. Who knew that Mexico liked setting up camp offsides?

OTOH, I like the South African squad, and was glad to see them score a mild upset. Not to take anything away from their effort, but Mexico needs to get its act together after this or it's headed home early. I can't see either team getting past France if it plays well, and Uruguay is usually better than South Africa.