Friday, June 16, 2006

World Cup 2006: This is NOT just a game!

Moving into Day 8 of the FIFA World Cup 2006 the excitement surrounding this truly global sporting event continues to build. Wednesday night after the German team defeated Poland by the skin of their teeth (1-0 in overtime) the celebrations in the streets here were some of the biggest and happiest I have ever witnessed. My favorite team in this year’s competition is Ecuador who has delivered some of the best and most exciting play of the tournament so far. Ecuador is very likely to beat or tie Germany in the final Group A match on Tuesday June 20th. This would be equivalent to a national disaster for German sports writers, radio and TV sports commentators, and the fans. The German team has some great players and Germany coach Jürgen Klingsman is one of the best in the business, but the team has NOT been playing at a championship level in their first two matches. The Ecuador team on the other hand has proven to soccer fans from around the world that they have come to Germany to play some serious ball. Period. It doesn’t matter who wins next Tuesday’s match since both teams have qualified to go through to the next round to face either England or Sweden.

The embarrassing defeat handed to the U.S.A. squad by the top notch Czech Republic team last Monday was painful and I have had to take the obligatory America-bashing and (un)informed commentary about the lack of professional skills and interest in soccer in the United States all week from friends and colleagues and even strangers on the street. It’s gotten so bad that just the other day a stray (German) dog tried to pee on my leg just to show his disdain and disapproval for the U.S. team’s poor performance. He missed. Therefore I’ve added some additional links below to sites that focus on the U.S. sports news coverage of the World Cup 2006. This is for my readers who are interested in knowing the facts vs. the opinion of the average dumb—s expert on U.S. soccer I have to put up with here in Good Old Europe on a regular basis.

By the way, the American women soccer fans outnumbered the guys by at least 3-1 in the pub at the opener against the Czechs. Of course “the Boyz” put on a big comedy show to keep the girls laughing and upbeat at what would have otherwise been an evening of pure misery. The handful of Czech and German fans in attendance loved the show too, albeit they probably didn’t understand how we were losing the game and still having great fun. Crazy Americans.

There has been some outstanding coverage of the World Cup 2006 in the blogosphere and I am surprised how extensive media sites such as Sports Illustrated and ESPN have adopted blogs for their readers and soccer fans from around the globe. Speaking of globe,
Global Voices published a post just yesterday about the cool blend of Hip-Hop and World Cup Soccer over at the Soul on Ice blog. BBC News online today highlights African bloggers writing about the competition in the article “Blogging Africa’s World Cup”. Just in time for tonights hot matches between Holland vs. Ivory Coast and Mexico vs. Angola. It looks as if Argentina has sent Serbia-Montenegro packing at the time of this writing with a 6-0 shellacking. Wow! Gotta go. My beer is getting warm.

P.S. Regarding the title of this post, I stole it from an ESPN advertisement over at the Sports Illustrated website. I thought it was pretty cool so here is the text of that ad as best as I can remember:

This is NOT just a game.
This is about honor, glory, passion.
THIS is the World Cup!

One game changes everything.
It close the shops.
Closes the schools.
Closes a city.
Fuels a nation.
Breaks the borders.
Builds a hero.
Stops a war.
Crushes a dream.
Answers a prayer.

Amen, Brother. (I added this line)

Sports Illustrated FIFA World Cup 2006 special
SI World Cup official blog
SI Writers – Grant Wahl, Richard Deitsch,
SI Blog post:
Can the U.S. defeat Italy?

ESPN SoccerNet – FIFA World Cup 2006
ESPN Podcast Center – World Cup 2006 podcasts

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fifa2006 said...
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yovo68 said...

Well, my friend, today's game was not the prettiest football match ever, but I'd say the US team made the Italians respect them! So don't let any Germans give you any shit!

The bar where I watched the US-Italy battle was crowded, and the spectators were enthusiastic. In the last few weeks I have learned that football has a small but very enthusiastic and knowledgeable following here in NC (The real football).

Still, next Thursday, I'll root for Ghana. After today's game they totally deserve to go to the next round!!

Black River Eagle said...

Thanks Dr. Han for the update on World Cup enthusiasm in the PRC fuelled along by the efforts of podcaster Dong Lu. I hope you are not performing acupuncture on patients while watching the games, otherwise you could accidentally skewer somebody!

Yo Yovo68, good to hear from you. Watched the U.S. vs. Italy match with close friends (Germans) last night and I'm the one who was doing most of the swearing, moaning, and groaning throughout the entire game. Many fans today have been telling me that they were impressed by the U.S. team's fighting spirit and that they played well against Italy. I feel that the U.S. squad did not play well at all (2 red cards!...are you kidding me?) but the Italian team was even worse. As far as the World Cup 2006 is concerned these 2 teams are gone. Finito. Adios.

U.S. MNT Coach Bruce Arena should resign after the tournament ends unless Bush has already given him his walking papers. Or is it Dr. Condi Rice's job (to fire Bruce)? Arena is definately a clear and present danger to our national pride AND a waste of the American taxpayers money to boot. Somebody please fire this guy now, before it is too late!

The Black Stars of Ghana on the other hand provided one of the most exciting games of the World Cup 2006 in their match against the Czech Republic. Almost all the Fußball fans here in Germany were ecstatic about Ghana's win, especially Gunther Netzer and other top sports commentators. Ghana fans living in Germany have appeared on some sports talk shows today (Sunday) and it has been great to watch their excitement. I also am sure that I saw the Ghana team's "Mooti Man" in the stadium yesterday before the game with the Czechs and if he shows up at the Ghana vs. U.S.A. game on Thursday the U.S. Secret Service has orders to hold him until the end of the game and/or transfer him to you know where.

Like you Yovo I would love to see both Ghana and the Czech team go through to the next round of play (Achtelfinale) but I can't abandon the U.S.A. team no matter what. I guess I'll just have to go down with the ship along with the rest of the diehard U.S. fans and wait for another shot at the World Cup Gold in 2010 (South Africa).

P.S. My dark horse favorite team, Ecuador, has the German Fußball experts and public very worried all of a sudden. Kommisch, Nah? Good luck for your Boyz on Tuesday.

P.S.S. I was with my Togolese friends when their team scored against South Korea in Game 1 last Tuesday. The Togo fans went absolutely nuts and ran into the street dancing and shouting and waving a giant Togo flag. Brought traffic here to a complete halt for a few minutes. People in their cars and trucks loved it and took the outburst of euphoria in stride. Too bad Togo went on to lose 2-1 to the Koreans so good luck against die Schweiz tomorrow.

This "WM 2006 Fieber" might just do the trick for Deutschland's battered self-pride after all. I just hope that we have enough beer in the country to last until the final championship match on July 9th. 5000 Brauerei (breweries) running 24/7 oughta cover us, oder?

yovo68 said...

HA! Germany running out of BEER!! I may be a sorry excuse for a patriot, but as a Krautheimer, I do take offense at that suggestion! :)

As far as Ecuador goes, I do share your assessment that they are a tough opponent. But since Germany's team will advance to the next round, my biggest worry is actually the next game. I worry about the potential for an England - Germany match in Germany!! THAT is scary! Not that the German team cannot beat the Brits, but what the combined German AND British hooligans are going to that poor city (probably Stuttgart)!! That IS scary.

Right now, I am looking forward to the Togo - Switzerland game tomorrow. ALLEZ LES EPERVIERS (never mind whether you get paid)

Michoko said...

Hope you're doing fine.
Just a quick note to say that I gave your blog's link to a ugandan friend of mine who lives in Paris and cooked us a beautiful ugandan dinner with tilapia and posho.
Talk to you soon, take care !

Black River Eagle said...

Bon Apetit Michoko and thanks for stopping by. These Uganda connections you have over in Paris sound very interesting so keep building those friendship bridges between France and Uganda.

What happened to the French team last night in the game against South Korea??? Where is the Spirit of '98 that led your team to a great World Cup victory on French soil? The highly critical sports journalists of the French media are probably to blame, non?

Gotta give those South Korean fans credit though, they never gave up on their team. Good luck in the next do-or-die match against Togo.

Black River Eagle said...

NOTE: Dr. Han of the FIFA2006 blog and acupuncture studio left a rather long cut-and-paste news article about Beijing blogger & podcaster Dong Lu in this comment section. In order to save space here AND to not promote Dr. Han's acupuncture studio in Bristol, England via the sly little embedded link to his commercial website I have deleted his original comment.

A link to the original Yahoo! News story "Chinese World Cup blogger racks up 10 million hits!" appears below. Obviously, the Chinese soccer fans are on board at the World Cup 2006.

Michoko said...

What happened ?
I think those guys are far too old and too much money took off them the "rage to win".
It's a pity you don't understand french cause I talked about you on a recent note ;)
By the way, my Ugandan friend here works in an association against AIDS so he's also doing his best to help Uganda.
Take care and enjoy the game !

Black River Eagle said...

Congratulations to the fans of all the teams that have advanced to the second round of the World Cup 2006. I watched the U.S.A. vs. Ghana match yesterday with fans from both countries, Germans, Czechs, Italians, Iranians, you name it. Great game Ghana and your team deserves all the praise and accolades coming in from Germany and around the world.

We were all ecstatic at the local pub to see a team from sub-Saharan Africa go through to the next level of play. BBC News has a great article about the "Ectasy in Accra" over their World Cup 2006 victory in Group E:

Go Ghana Go!!! God Bless You!

nigeria, what's new said...

Shame it is just a game, learn the rule, master it and win. Just ask Zinedine "Zizou" Zidane.