World Cup Musings – Part II
Americans refer to this game as Soccer although to the rest of the world, it’s considered football. To help clarify things within this post, as an American, I will refer to this game as Soccer and World Football.
Offensively Shifting… The way they can shift the field on offense, but sending a pass from a midfielder from one side of the field to the other.
Diving is cynical…If you dive (or fake a serious foul) around the penalty box, you can get yellow carded. In addition, two yellow cards and you’re out of that game and the next one too. I love this rule. I’m thinking if an NBA player blatantly fakes a foul and dives, give him 2 fouls instead of an defensive foul although that would be very difficult to police.
Trade jerseys anyone? Sometimes, during international match play, players on opposing sides will trade jerseys after the game. Why not? Why not collect interesting uniforms from countries around the world. Could you imagine something like this happening in the NFL? Even against those teams, you play every 4 years? Would the league or individual team fine you?
Just don’t use your hands or arms… Interesting that some fans that don’t necessarily enjoy world football are enjoying a sport that primarily involves your feet, legs, torso and head. If one forgets about scoring and let the game come to you, people are being turned on by the game. It may continue to slowly build in the US; I don’t think this trend will change for many years although the operative word is ‘slowly’.
Brazilian Team Love… Love the Brazilian team (if not the venue) where many of their players are referred to by only one name.
Isn’t the game over after 90 minutes of play? I think stoppage time adds a nice element to the game. Some casual soccer fans struggle to understand the amount of time added to the first or second half although, if you’ve watch a dozen or so games, you may find that rhythm. Just watch a given 45 minutes and determine how much time was lost due to injury timeouts, delays by players/goalie or delays of another kind. That time will be added to the 45 minutes, plus or minus 30 seconds or so…
American Soccer is not in the same league as the NFL or NHL… I love to hear from Americans who don’t feel warm and fuzzy to Soccer (World Football) to say it’s not that popular or will never catch on to the other 4 main sports in the States. The United States hosted the World Cup in 1994 — 20 years ago. About 3.6 million fans attended these games — an average game attendance of about 69,000. Mind you, the highest average of any World Cup venue. Who’s to say it won’t catch on in due time. NFL enjoys tremendous popularity today, partly because of gambling, partly due to fantasy football and due to a mainstay of what to do on Sunday afternoon in the fall. Having said that, it started around 1920 with participants where the majority of these are no longer in existence. It took time to grow this sport. Hence, Soccer may experience that growth — it just might take some time. Besides, with more and more fans and parents concerned about the violence in this game, that could help Soccer significantly grow its popularity.
Too much sitting??? During some of the World Cup matches, I saw the wave start up from time to time. Years ago, I thought it was such a gimmick although I have a change of heart. In lieu of many exercise physiologists and doctors suggesting that people sit too much, doing “the wave” helps mitigate that. Besides exercise, it’s fun to participate in something active with such a large group and may break up the monotony of the sporting event.
The Americans Needs a Fight Song…If you watch and listen to the English Premier League or the Bundesliga, you will hear many fans of various clubs chanting and singing certain club songs – partly for fun and partly to energize their team. In today’s match, between USA and Germany, I heard chants by the Germans throughout the match. I heard the Americans too, except, the only chant they audibilized was ‘USA, USA, USA’. I don’t mind American fans chanting that from time to time although it may show more sophisticated and creativity to develop a song or chant similar to those clubs in well developed leagues in Europe.
Soccernomics Anyone? I read an interesting blurb from Simon Kuper’s Soccernomics book which helps to simplify this game. Simon wrote that soccer is all about dancing to open space. In other words, the team that can open spaces during an attack and closes spaces while defending, typically wins.