Mixing Memory

Go Italy!

Wow, what a really bad cup this year. I mean, I was rooting for Italy after the U.S. was eliminated, but ending on penalty kicks? That just sucks. Combine that with all the other games that either ended on penalty kicks after extra time, or in which the only goal scored was on a penalty kick, and then the poor officiating through much of group play, and this was the worst cup that I remember.


  1. #1 Koray
    July 9, 2006

    I think WC1994 was worse. I wonder whether the deluded FIFA of “The Beautiful Game” will wake up and smell the coffee:

    1) As the various diving squads proved, it’s just damn hard to officiate the game. The French penalty was BS, Toni’s header was not offside (his teammate was, but from that distance the linesman had no chance to distinguish). I also suspect the linesman saw Zidane’s headbutt not with his own eyes, but in the replay on the big screen (or else, through his headset he would have notified the ref much sooner than that and Italy would have had a free kick). Why not just admit that this is not working and throw in another ref and video reviews?

    2) The game is damn taxing on the most phenomenal athletes in the world. They run back and forth to the point of exhaustion and 99% of the runs they make have no chance of leading to a goal. This is the reason why set plays are so crucial: the taker makes a cross that he’d been practicing, and his teammates walk, not run, to the penalty zone. Because I’ve seen so many bad (non-dead-ball) crosses in this tournament that if I was a teammate, I would not be running my ass off to the goal, either. (Luis Figo’s cross that lead the to portuguese goal against Germany is the only one I recall that made me say “Now that was a nice cross.”)
    They are great runners, but not great enough to make up for their lack of skill for crossing the ball, receiving a pass and finishing. Why not reduce the duration of the game or the size of the field, or allow more substitutions?

    3) Overtime is a bad idea. If I make any sense with #2, overtime as is is the exact opposite of what you want to resolve a deadlock. Perhaps it should be played with fewer players like in the NHL.

    I also wonder what in the world ABC/ESPN is thinking of Marcelo Balboa. I had not heard him before, but he made several games unbearable with his commentary.

  2. #2 Chris
    July 9, 2006

    Koray, you are right, Balboa was terrible! At one point, on ESPN, he even hinted that he didn’t want to watch anymore games because he found them boring. That’s what you want in a color commentator, right?

    I also agree about overtime. I’d go with sudden death. An add at least one more ref for the entire game.

  3. #3 Sanketh
    July 10, 2006

    The commentators only added to the pain. In particular one comment that sticks out in my mind is when one of them called Ronaldo a “waste of space.” Now the man is past his prime but he did score goals and that utter lack of respect didn’t go down too well with most fans. That chap Wynalda in the studios just repeated a given set of lines or repeated what ever the lady sitting next to him said. Talk about waste of space. 🙂

    I think the refs are alright. There’s got to be controversy. I know their job is to get the calls right but an element of luck/chance always adds to the beauty of the game. If they do decide to incorporate technology they’ve got to make sure it doesn’t affect the flow.

    I don’t remember the 1994 world cup too well but I am pretty sure the 98 and 2002 cups were better. I know that the Golden Goal rule was controversial but I think they ought to bring it back. They could play with 7-8 players a side. At least teams will play to finish rather than wait for penalties like the Italians did. I liked the Germany-Portugal game better. The goals were awesome. That’s something you want.

    Spot on call though. Horrible world cup.

  4. #4 Eddy Nahmias
    July 12, 2006

    I disagree that it was a horrible cup. The level of play in many games was fantastic, much faster and more skilled than past cups (like other sports the players are getting better). Granted, especially in the second round, the goals became sparse, and especially in the first round, the refs were sometimes bad (esp. against US). But there were a lot of really interesting matches (e.g., Argentina-Mexico, France-Brazil, Germany-Argentina, even US-Italy in its own way, and even the final during the first 30 minutes, and beginning of overtime). Penalties are a stupid way to end the game. Use sudden death overtime. And (this is sacreligious) why not go metric on the goals–make them 8 meters x 2.5 meters (adds about a foot to each side and a couple inches higher)–to make up for the defensive stance the sport has taken (4-5-1 instead of the “foosball” lineup of 2-5-3) and the better goalkeeping. It’d never happen, but it’d up the goals from 2-3 per game (with lots of 0-0 and 1-1 draws) to 5-6 per game (and no draws with sudden death). Anyway, I’ve got withdrawal symptoms and can’t wait four years for the next cup. (I also couldn’t wait to hear what the explanation for Zidane’s behavior was–as one blogger put it, “A brain explosion like that must have a provocation”–my Theory of Mind module was working overtime.)

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