As you may know, the World Cup is going on right now. It's taking place in Germany. The biggest soccer tournament in the world, which only happens every 4 years, is going on right in my backyard. So you can imagine how crazed I am right now. There is no sporting event - in fact, no event period - that I look forward to more than the World Cup. It started on June 9th and finishes on July 9th. For some reason, my building doesn't have German cable so I am forced to watch every match at the pub. In the first round, there are 3 matches a day - 3pm, 6pm, and 9pm. Each match lasts about 2 hours. I've been going to work early so I can get out early so every day I get out, go home, kiss the wife and kid, then head to the pub to catch the end of the first match. I head home after the last match ends around 11, crawl into bed, then get up and do it all over again. Thankfully the first round will be over soon because I'm exhausted. This World Cup might end up killing me. Occasionally the wife and kid come down to the pub with me - ostensibly to watch the matches with me, but they usually end up playing with the X Man's cars while I watch. The wife doesn't care about football but this is pretty much the only way she'll me over the next month...
As far as who I'm supporting...sorry but it's not the US. If you follow this blog then it will come as no surprise to hear that I support Italy. They looked really good in their first match so I'm hopeful. It's going to be tough this Saturday when they play the US though, my loyalties are a really a bit divided.
The best matches to watch are when England play as their fans are far and away the best in the world. Many of them have been teaching me some of their chants and songs. Some of them - especially the anti-German ones - are hilarious. Perhaps I'll post some eventually. Here's me and the X Man with a couple Brits that we watched last night's match with - they made me wear their England hat, which looks a bit ridiculous...
I'm sure you're wondering if I was able to get any tickets. The answer is no and I'm more than a bit pissed off about it. The stupid Germans only released something like one-third of the tickets for public sale. The rest went to corporate sponsors and the like. So the average soccer fan really got screwed in this World Cup. Thanks Germany! I hope you lose badly for what you've done. I've searched for tickets online and such but the cheapest tickets to any decent match is well over 500 bucks and, well, yeah, no thanks. But watching it in the pub surrounded by a bunch of rowdy fans is the next best thing so I don't mind.
We're about a week into it and here are some thoughts on the tournament so far...
* Brazil can be beaten. They did not look sharp in their opening match against Croatia and are not a lock to win the tournament. I would love to see someone beat them as I'm getting really annoyed by al the Brazilian "fans" who are coming out of the woodwork.
* Whenever the World Cup is played in Europe, the European teams usually do well and this year looks no different - the strongest teams so far have been the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. Argentina also looked good in their opening match.
* The biggest surprise so far has been Ecuador. They've won their first two matches convincingly (over Poland and Costa Rica) and if they beat Germany in the next match, they will win their group, relegating the hosts to second place. That would be one the biggest upsets ever.
* So far the biggest disappointment would have to be France. They were one of the favorites coming in but looked horrible against Switzerland in a match that featured some of the worst finishing I've ever seen.
* It's been a bad tournament so far for teams that begin with the letter "U". Both the US and the Ukraine turned in performances that were nothing short of embarrassing. The US had the misfortune of receiving one the toughest draws of the tournament but the Ukraine is in a weak group and could still recover.
* Best goal of the tournament so far is probably Torsten Fring's 35 yard laser beam in the opening match for Germany. Truly one of the best ever.
It's been a pretty good tournament so far. It'll get even better if Italy win their group...FORZA AZZURRI!!!!!