Here’s the report on my first week as a novice soccer fan. See my previous post Forming an Association with Football for more details.
USA v. Brazil (10 Aug 2010) – A friendly match in the New Meadowlands stadium in New Jersey to thank the US fans for their World Cup support. Supposedly the experienced US side fresh from the World Cup would have something to show to a young Brazilian team featuring many players appearing in their first international match. Instead, it turned into an embarrassing rout with stylish Brazilian play exposing the weakness of the USA’s back line with attack after attack after attack. Only great goalkeeping by Tim Howard and Brad Guzan prevented Brazil from running up the score. More on this debacle from the Boston Globe.
At the very least seeing Brazilian players in the Meadowlands reminded me of the glory days of Pele and the New York Cosmos.
Mexico vs. Spain (11 Aug 2010) – I stopped in a pub in Boston for supper on Wednesday night and they had Spain’s first World Cup championship friendly at Mexico on the TV. This game was Spain’s first defense of a lesser-known title, the Unofficial Football World Championship. Basically the UFWC folks have created a basic title system akin to boxing championships tracing back to the earliest international football match in 1872. When Spain defeated the Netherlands in the World Cup championship they ended the Dutch run of 21 title defenses and unified the UFWC with the official world championship. Mexico had a good chance of snatching the title away from Spain with an early first half goal but David Silva of Spain equalized in stoppage time just before the end of the game (the UFWC champion retains the title in a tie). The drama of the moment was lost on me because the Univision broadcast for some reason reset the clock at zero at the start of the second half so I had thought I was watching the first half until the players started shaking hands.
Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid (13 Aug 2010) – Yet another friendly, this team matched two European club powers to contest the Beckenbauer Cup in tribute to the Bayern great Franz Beckenbauer. It was fun to watch some of the best players in the world duke it out but the game ended as 0-0 tie with Real Madrid winning the cup in a penalty shootout. Real Madrid’s goalkeeper Iker Casillas proved to be the hero of the match with several dramatic saves.
This leads me to a question which will probably betray my ignorance and American heritage: How is it that with the goals in soccer being so enormous that there are so many scoreless games? I mean if you ever stand by one of those nets it would seem impossible for a ball not to get in there no matter how good the keeper and the defense.
This weekend was too busy to watch soccer so I didn’t see any games of the teams I purportedly am following. I did learn that as a supporter of Everton and the US national team I can be double embarrassed by Tim Howard’s fumble in the penalty area which allowed Blackburn to score the only goal of the game:
I’ve also I discovered a German team with the best name ever: Wormatia Worms. Granted it’s funnier in English if you imagine annelids playing soccer, and ignore that Worms is the name of city in Germany. Still, if the Wormatia Worms played higher than the fourth division in Germany I’d definitely start watching their games.