Tuesday, July 11, 2006

World Cup: Aftermath

Well, the month-long party is over. Rampant nationalism can be cast aside. The blood pressure can return to normal. And we can once again get more than a few hours sleep per night (at least those without three-month old kids, that is). At least for four more years, then the party starts over again.

I see Germany 2006 in the same light I see Sydney 2000. It was fun. It was friendly. And it was fuckin' fantastic. Sure, there wasn't the swathe of brilliant goals, or a stand-out player, but what we did see was pretty damn impressive. I would say that the quality of the football has improved worldwide over the last four years. Certainly every team had its day, even if that day was a draw or a narrow defeat.


  • The Azzurri, of course. They came into the tournament under a scandalous cloud and left as champions. There are strange similarities between 2006 and 1982. Perhaps in 2010 we'll see another Italian football scandal. It's not like they're rare in any case.
  • The Socceroos. Low expectations contributed to the overwhelming sense of joy and achievement. In my opinion they were the only side to really challenge the Italians on the park. We can always dream about what might have been.
  • Germany and the Germans. They have managed to cast off the 60 year old scourge that overshadowed them and showed us what they're really like: friendly, nice and party-loving. They even managed to develop a sense of nationalistic pride without invading anyone.
  • World Football. Some of the minnows shook the pillars of heaven and nobody was entirely disgraced. The World Cup is only as strong as its weakest team.
  • Brazil. They went into the tournament as unbackable champions and left with their tail between their legs. Just proves the old adage: a team filled with champion players doesn't make a champion team.
  • England. An entire generation of exceptional talent wasted on a lackluster Swede.
  • Zizou. Impulsive. Idiotic. Insane.
Best Goal
    The 21 pass fiesta that Cambiasso finished in the Argentina v Serbia and Montenegro game.
Best Player
    The little Italian general, Fabio Cannavaro.

See you next time, in South Africa.

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