June 11, 2006


The beautiful game can often be tedious (Jim White, 12/06/2006, Daily Telegraph)

When did you get bored? At what point did you decide that an urgent reorganisation of your sock drawer was preferable to watching Sven's boys labour in the Frankfurt sun on Saturday afternoon? You don't have to be embarrassed about it. Everyone found the longueurs a little tricky to navigate, even in the stadium. There was a bloke sitting a couple of rows along from me kitted out in full England fancy dress (this year's theme is Nazi helmets painted with the Cross of St George) and he was yawning by half-time. There were people who had paid upwards of 500 euros to buy a ticket from the touts, who used the match as an opportunity to catch up on a bit of sleep.

After all the build-up, all the hype, all the inflated expectation came an anticlimax worthy of the last Lib Dem leadership election. England did precisely what they always do under Sven-Goran Eriksson's miasmic stewardship: they took an early lead and then proceeded to sit back on it for 85 minutes, playing unadventurous football of a style that makes the curdling of milk seem replete with possibility as a spectator event. Not since Vanessa Feltz began investigating the wilder reaches of plastic surgery on Channel 5 can so many televisions have been switched off so hurriedly.

Americans cut to the chase by never turning it on.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 11, 2006 9:56 PM

There must be something to the game for some folks to be so obsessed with criticizing it.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at June 11, 2006 10:13 PM

Why? There's nothing to France or Darwinism either.

Posted by: oj at June 11, 2006 10:37 PM

Sounds like it's time to once again trot out Miller's Unified Field Theory of World Entertainment.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at June 11, 2006 10:40 PM

Soccer is a fabulous game. Deal with it.

(OK, you're still not convinced? Look at it this way: can a million soccer moms be wrong?...)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at June 12, 2006 3:51 AM

Soccer moms aren't interested in the game - they're interested in watching their little yard apes run around for a couple of hours.
By your logic, junior high school musicals are great theater because all the moms go to those too.

Posted by: Bryan at June 12, 2006 6:16 AM

To be honest I'm not watching much of the World Cup.

The current ECW revival has prompted me to catch up on all the professional wrestling I've missed. Now that's an American sport worth watching.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at June 12, 2006 6:34 AM

Make sure to tune in tonight (or day, depending on your location) when the US team takes a beating from the Czechs!

Posted by: Mörkö at June 12, 2006 7:40 AM


Your selling point is that it's a Mom's sport? Should I start reading Redbook?

Posted by: oj at June 12, 2006 7:51 AM

Personally, I'd recommend Ladies Home Journal, seeing that Cosmo's gone so, well, mainstream; but yeah, Redbook's OK too.

And by the way, JHS musicals are terrific. Even the groaners.

(Gosh, by the some of the comments, you'd think that this blog has been taken over by a cadre of perfectionists.... How does that square with Conservativism?)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at June 12, 2006 8:08 AM

Even my European and Latin American colleagues agree that there is nothing worse in sports than a poorly played 0-0 tie.

I was in El Paso over the week-end though and the Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were geeked about the Mexico-Iran game.

I'm not sure why OJ is so favorable toward legalizing 11 million additional soccer fans.

Posted by: jeff at June 12, 2006 8:12 AM

Didn't England win 1-0 (that's "one - nil" oj) on an own-goal? I mean, really...Portugal (or whatever team it was) knocked the ball into their own goal and so England packs it in to play defense for the next 85 minutes?

Boring! I'd rather watch the Cubs lose...again.

Posted by: Bartman at June 12, 2006 8:17 AM

I watched most of two games yesterday and managed to doze off three times. Apart from a couple of beautiful goals by Mexico, they made me feel house-league curling is a heart-stopper.

Posted by: Peter B at June 12, 2006 8:44 AM

Those 11 million soccer fans will soon see the error of their ways.

Posted by: erp at June 12, 2006 9:22 AM


I don't think so. I know too many 3rd generation Mexican-Americans who live and die with the Mexican national futbol team.

Posted by: jeff at June 12, 2006 9:56 AM


Well, yeah. But what reason could there be to watch any sporting event other than kinship to one of the players?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at June 12, 2006 10:14 AM

I watched all of the goals (but for the last one from Mexico) in the Mexico-Iran game. I can't say it was terrible; however, it was ho-hum.

What I found interesting is the acting on the part of the players when they go down. I know real football has its own problems with excessive celebrations after scoring but they don't fake it like soccer players.

Posted by: pchuck at June 12, 2006 10:59 AM

Watched the last 15 minutes of USA getting their butts handed to them by the Czech Republic, 3-0. I guess we play Italy next. The announcers were all "well, they gave it a really good effort, but boy those Italians are really tough..." Do not ask me to pay attention to any sport where we are afraid of the Italians.

Posted by: joe shropshire at June 12, 2006 6:20 PM