I’m speaking of my own awakening to the world of soccer, or futbol as the rest of the world calls it. Other than the World Cup women’s final in 2012 between the U.S. and Japan, I have never watched a soccer match my entire life. This men’s World Cup, I watched 5 complete games, including the fabulous Group game between the U.S. and Portugal, about which I have previously blogged, our Group game against Germany, our tremendous Knockout match against Belgium, Germany’s stunning rout of Brazil in the Knockout semis, and of course yesterday’s final between Germany and Argentina. Surely, Brazil’s stunning collapse in the semis and third-place game, being outscored collectively 10-1, was the surprise of the tournament. Host countries have won 7 World Cups.
I bet on the Argentines because of Lionel Messi, the consensus best player in the world, and I bet wrong. I felt a great deal of compassion for him, failing as miserably as he did. He’ll have to live with it. The free kick at the end of extra time said it all. He had a longshot chance to be a hero and tie the game, and he might as well have kicked the ball out of the stadium. Though he was the technically best player on the field in the Final, he did not deserve the Golden Boot — that clearly belonged to Thomas Muller of Germany — but I did appreciate two things about Messi’s performance. He didn’t engage in any of the ridiculous histrionics typical of all players in the tournament whenever they were fouled; I’ve never seen so much flopping in all my life. And, more important, he didn’t shed a single tear at the end. He failed, his team lost, and he took it like a man. That’s a lesson for us all.
Speaking of lessons, I generally don’t favor German teams; after all, the country started two World Wars. And I don’t fault them for running up the score against Brazil. But I do fault them for pounding the turf when Brazil finally scored at the end to prevent a shutout. That was terrible sportsmanship, and only reinforced stereotypes in my mind. But they were deserving champions. I didn’t see a better team in the tournament.
SO SAYS THE SENTINEL.
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2014 Projected Budget Deficit: $577.634 Billion
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THE UNITED STATES IS BANKRUPT AND INSOLVENT. GOD SAVE OUR PRINTING PRESSES.