The World Cup Final was quite a match. Two very early goals and then a defensive struggle the rest of the way.
But it ended the way I hated. On a penalty kick shootout.
As I wrote on this blog a few weeks ago....Hey World Cup....Get Rid of the Penalty Kicks....[and that blog entry was on ESPN2's Cold Pizza last Friday]....deciding World Cup matches with penalty kicks are not fun. It isn't. Click on that link to read why I thought so.
If you watched the game...you saw France dominating Italy. Over the final 30 minutes of regulation and the 30 minutes of overtime, you saw France be aggressive and had numerous scoring chances. The Italians couldn't get the ball out of their end of the field. And when they did....they didn't do much with it. They were worn out...using all their substitutions during regulation. But the fact that the French couldn't get a ball into the goal...it eventually went into overtime.
Again, I don't know why people love this. It's horrible. After 120 minutes of action in which France bled Italy...everyone got a fresh start with penalty kicks. Except that France had to sub for two of their stars and watch one get ejected. Italy had perfect life.
And...again...I don't know why people love this. I was told about how it is a mental game between takers and goalkeepers. Yeah, right. Only ONCE in the 9 kicks made did the goalie even remotely picked correctly. ONCE. And that one scored. The only penalty kick that wasn't true was one that struck the crossbar and landed straight into the ground. Just a mistake. Which proves my point. The World Cup Final....a game watched by 1 billion people...a game that was so tight...was decided on a penalty kick that was just one or two inches too high. The biggest sporting event was decided not by a save....but the fact that thetaker was just underneath the ball.
And...yet again...I don't know why people love this. Penalty kicks ruined overtime. Ruined it. The Italians were worn out...but knew that with penalty kicks comes some life. So over the past hour of the match...they just tried to hold on, not give up a big goal. Kinda like running the four corners for the entire 2nd half of a basketball game just so you can go to "penalty free throws".
Congrats to Italy for winning the World Cup. France outplayed you....but you just held on to dear life in order to get to the fountain of youth....called penalty kicks.
ZIDANE'S ERROR: French captain and star Zinedine Zidane made a somewhat crucial mistake late in the match. After being touted everywhere for how great a player he was....he headbutted an Italian player in the chest and was red-carded [ejected]. Horrible play. While the French didn't pay for it the rest of overtime....Zidane wasn't available for the penalty kick phase of the match. The picture above is from the BBC.
ITALY HAD THE DARK SIDE OF THE FORCE ON THEIR SIDE: Well just look at the picture:
Seems that Sith Lord Darth Maul is Italian.
MY ROOTING INTEREST: As any good American...I was rooting against the French. But why does Italy wear blue??? Just curious.
MY ENGLAND SOCCER HAT: A friend of my dad sent me and him an authenic England soccer hat....and I wanted to thank her kindly for it. Makes a good addition to my Sportz Room.
MY WIFE, THE SOCCER LOVER: Let's just say that watching any sporting event with my wife is interesting. She hates Steve Nash's haircut....she thinks the "NE" for New England stands for "Nebraska" during NFL games...and she yells at the end of NBA games about the amount of timeouts taken. Mind you, my wife watched maybe 10 minutes of the World Cup...and that was right as the regulation time was running out of this game.
-When the announcer said that a French attacker was looking to get the ball to Zidane...my wife says "Why are they trying to find Saddam??"
-On soccer players: "It is a pansy game. The only reason they like it is cuz they get to drink a lot of pints and get drunk."
-When she sat down near the end of regulation: "There is 88 minutes left!?!?!"
-A general statement: "Why do people like this crap???"
-When she got up to get something to drink...and the crowd in Berlin was blowing horns and such: "Is that a cow mooing or what?? What is that noise??"
-And when I informed her [she was in her office playing Pogo games by then] that they were in penalty kicks...she says: "What? They stand around and kick each other in the nuts?"
Ah....my lovely wife! And...YES...I did write all this stuff she was saying down on paper as she was ranting.