Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sports: World Cup Final Four

It is Germany vs Italy and Portugal vs France.

I've only watched parts of some games.

Impressions:

(1) I don't understand a word of the play-by-play on Spanish language channel 34 here in LA but it sure made what I was watching more exciting!

(2) The penalty shootout to settle a game is dramatic emotionally but intellectually unsatisfying. It would be like settling a baseball game on a home run distance contest, a basketball game by a round of HORSE or an American football game on PAT kicks.

(3) People complain about the flopping that happens in basketball. Hah! The best NBA floppers have nothing on what happens on the pitch.

(4) The speed and stamina of the players is impressive.

(5) Because goals are so infrequent each near miss is quite exciting. Likewise, when a team has decided to run the clock out and take their chances on the penalty shootout, it is less exciting. UPDATE: Was it my imagination or not? Seemed Germany got pretty passive in extra time trusting they could take down the Italians in the shoot-out? The Italians got the goal as time was about to expire ... it was a nifty sequence that set up the curvy shot just inside the left post!

Predictions: past performance is not an indicator of future success (my guesses have been about as good as flipping a coin!) but I'm thinking Germany vs Portugal in the finals.

From what I've seen Germany has what appears to be a steady if unspectacular but effective style of play. Portugal appears to have a way of getting on the nerves of the opponent. Prime example: England's defeat.

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