Monday, June 26, 2006


I gave it a chance. I went into it with an open mind and zero expectations. Heck, I even WANTED to enjoy it, and gave it every opportunity to entertain me. But I have decided that the FIFA World Cup 2006 is UNWATCHABLE.

After the debacle that was the USA team's first round ousting (by all accounts marred by poor officiating), I continued watching with no real rooting interest. Yesterday, I decided to limit my viewing to the final 20 minutes of each of the two matches, since these matches seem interminable and offer very little action or drama. But between a lethargic England team who somehow still beat Ecuador who showed no signs of wanting to score EVEN IN THE LAST 10 MINUTES OF AN ELIMINATION GAME, and the Portugal/Netherhollandutch match sabotaged by a horrible ref having to give out a billion yellow cards to these play-acting buffoons, I've decided that I'M DONE WATCHING.

Now I did see the conclusion of the Italy vs. Australia match, which was not really my choosing; during my lunch break Avanti was showing Azzurri, naturally. But in the 93rd minute (3 minutes into stoppage time), Azzurri received a total gift penalty, as a player was "tripped up" inside the box, and they won 1-0 on a penalty shot as time ran out. Brutal. When the commentator says "Oh, he really sold it!", in other words it WASN'T a penalty and the striker did a good acting job to get the call. What a horrible way to decide an elimination game. The Socceroos must be PISSED.

As soon as I saw witnessed this trainwreck, I came to a realization. When played correctly and fairly, soccer is a sport; however, the current incarnation of the FIFA World Cup is not a sport, it's an exhibition. Yes, you read that correctly, my fanatical soccer-loving friends out there. I'll agree that it's an excellent showcase for the best soccer players from every nation to come together and show off their talent, but I would beg to differ that it contains the best played soccer matches. When a single referee's judgment call decides who wins and who goes home, and the actual game play is overshadowed by shoddy officiating, it's more akin to an exhibition, like figure skating, than an actual sport.

Oh, one last thing: let's go Germany! (I picked them in a pool that I was drunkenly talked into.)

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