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I knowthis is a bit late given that most of the games are over, but what the hey, here’s a nice little space for you to discuss the international break. Asian WCQs, friendlies, and even U23 matches. Have at it, folks. More soon from your favoritest writing crew, perhaps even within this particular post given that there are some highlights worth showing.
First up, Clint Dempsey scoring for the US against Italy, in Italy (h/t Dirty Tackle)
You may not care about Clint Dempsey or the USMNT, but, well, I don’t think that matters, now does it? Plus, he beat Thiago Motta. First time the US has ever beaten Italy and they did it in Genoa against a team that hadn’t given up a goal at home in any of their Euro2012 qualifiers. Say what you will about the team on hand (shouldn’t Balotelli have been there?), but the US did their thing.
Okay, so Barça-related:
Messi gets his first hat trick for Argentina, though with 1 of those being a penalty. Good to see him getting some goals for the albiceleste.
Iniesta with the first was lovely to see. And, as far as I can tell, no one got hurt, which is actually far lovelier.
Abidal played 90 minutes and left seemingly completely intact. This is good.
I was all ready to go. I had a decent little theory about the shirt sponsorship written down and I had some ginned up outrage planned, it was all set. Then I wake up this morning to find that everyone’s favorite benevolent football dictator (no, not Laporta, though that title might have applied last year) has used his bully pulpit to weigh in on human rights and his own ham-fisted morality ideals. Responding to criticism of FIFAs decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which has very strict laws concerning consensual homosexual conduct between adults, Blatter stated:
I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities. . . . We are definitely living in a world of freedom and I’m sure when the World Cup will be in Qatar in 2022, there will be no problems. You see in the Middle East the opening of this culture, it’s another culture because it’s another religion, but in football we have no boundaries. We open everything to everybody and I think there shall not be any discrimination against any human beings be it on this side or that side, be it left, right or whatever.
With these comments, Blatter has not only pissed off a ton of commentators and groups, he’s also taking FIFA down a slippery slope that I am sure is inadvisable: not only setting your games up in Qatar under highly dubious circumstances, but then butting into the personal sexual lives of fans. Er, um, like I am going to let this slide. Continue Reading
Iniestazo… azo… AZO! Or, as Jose Antonio Camacho, former Madridista and Spain left back exclaimed: “Iniesta de my vida”. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I won’t say the World Cup final degenerated into an awful spectacle of fouling and anti-football, because in order to have degenerated into that, it would have had to have started out better. Regardless, La Furia Roja took home their first Jules Rimet trophy, and were the more worthy team in having done so. Please join me won’t you, for one final review before we move back into the realm of the club. Once more into the breach.
The scoreboard read Barça Spain 1 – 0 Germany and I yelled, clapped, high-fived my friends, and hugged them. We cheered, paid our bill, and spilled out into the street. Or, well, walked out into the heat wave we’re experiencing and couldn’t muster the energy to cheer anymore. It’s an oven here. Regardless, I went home buzzed on happiness and a few Cokes and am already looking forward to Sunday’s final.
What are your plans for the final? What will you do if Spain wins? A friend of mine swore he’d go run with the bulls at next year’s San Fermin festival. Another told me not to jinx them. Another said a string of curse words and probably should lay off the beer during matches sometimes. I’m just going to cheer and scream and whoop and holler and then maybe I’l think of something awesome.
It is hard for me to continually write intros for these things. But this round of games, wow. It is rare that games incorporate excitement; open discussions of the ethics of punishment, utilitarianism, and the greater good; and brutal emotions usually not laid bare by such matters. So here we are, 4 teams left, every one of them gets 2 more games, although 1 of those games might be less important than the others. So come on in, and enjoy it, won’t you?