Tagged: soccer

Italians party like it’s 1982

Really.  That’s the last time the Italians won it all.  They has to be some kind of sign, right?

Well, I have some things to say about the Cardinals, but that will have to wait for tomorrow, as it’s 1am here.  Just got home a little bit ago from watching the World Cup.

Even though I was mad that France beat Spain, I rooted for them for 2 reasons.

There are probably the two dumbest reasons ever to root for someone or their team.  I’m totally aware of that.  It’s like the people who said Boston "deserved" to win the World Series because they waited 86 years.  Whatever.  Not if you’re a Cardinal fan.  And I’m sure that Italy could have cared less about Zidane and his retirement.

Nevertheless, I’m new to all this and I figured I should have some team to root for.  Really though, I didn’t care as long as it went to a shootout.  I wanted to see that really bad.  All was going according to plan as it was 1-1 for most of the game and all of the overtime.

Then, right at the end, Zidane and some Italian guy (don’t remember his name) had a few words and Zidane head butted him in the chest.  That was sad to see, especially because he was red carded and had to leave.  It seemed like he was trying to talk to the ref, but it was to no avail.

He wasn’t there to see his team eventually lose the shootout.

There was one great video shot of him leaving though, with the trophy a little blurry in the foreground.  Almost as if he was walking away from the trophy…….  Okay, maybe not real symbolism, but I liked it.

So that was that.  Maybe I’m a true European resident now as these are the first World Cup games I have ever watched.

I would also like to state that once the games got into the later rounds, EVERY team I rooted for lost.  I’m not kidding.  I root for the U.S.  They lose to Ghana.  So, then I root for Ghana and they lose.  I rooted for England and they lost.  Spain lost.  Germany lost.  I rooted against France the whole time until the last game and we all know what happened there.

So, my deepest apologies to all fans of teams I rooted for. 🙂

More to come on the Cardinals and the first half of the season wrap up tomorrow and later this week probably.

World Cup watcher,


Soccer and baseball have a few things in common after all

Normally, this time of year it’s about 1,000 degrees in Spain.  While I know that the really unbearably hot weather is a certainty that will eventually come, right now it has been rather cool.  I took advantage of this yesterday and walked home from work at about 6pm since I live about a 15 minute walk from the office.

As I made my way down the hill, I passed the local "sports complex."  Since I live in a tiny town clustered together with a lot of other tiny towns, it basically consists of a large basketball court with a soccer goal at either end.  However, the only person I’ve ever seen play basketball there is me.

As I passed the court, there were a group of teenage boys kicking a soccer ball around very into their game.  I continued on and as I turned the corner to the street where I lived, I saw another group of younger boys also playing soccer.  There is a building with two posts perfect to use as a goal.  They were taking turns being the goaltender and trying to kick the ball past their friend.  I also saw a game of taking turns of kicking the ball against the brick wall to see how long they could keep it going for.

This was of course all prior to the World Cup game going on that night with Spain vs. France.  It made me chuckle as I realized that these boys are out here playing soccer every day, probably imagining that they are Pablo or Raul or maybe the young Fernando Torres or some other Spanish superstar.  They are picturing a tie game with 30 seconds left to go in the World Cup finals and they have the chance to score the winning goal for their team.

Just the same as in my hometown, every park I drive past, I see young kids playing baseball, dreaming of being the next Albert Pujols or A-Rod and hitting a grand slam with 2 outs to win the World Series.  Or Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez and pitching that perfect game.

It’s so interesting to me to be a part of this other culture and see the similiarities even though there are obviously big differences.

Though I’m admittedly not a soccer fan, it was so fun to go and get into the spirit of the game.  With the U.S. being out, I had wholeheartedly switched my support to Espana and wanted tow atch the games.  I had to work in the morning so I didn’t want to head all the way into Madrid, so I stopped at the next biggest town around here, Alcala de Henares (where Cervantes lived, if anybody cares) with my roommate.  I stopped at a store, picked up a Spanish flag and headed to one of our favorite places, a little Irish bar that’s always crawling with international students.  I opened the door and could only barely squeeze myself into to the place.  It was literally packed from one side of the room to the other.  You could only stand pressed up to people on every side and it was certainly not comfortable.

So, we headed out of there and instead went to a great Mexican restaurant not too far away that has a lot of TVs.  There were a lot of people in there all dressed in red.  I sat my flag in an empty 7-Up bottle on the table and cheered and groaned with the rest of the crowd.

As you may know, Spain lost and was eliminated.  When we left, the streets were pouring with people in red and yellow.  It was pretty somber for the most part, but some people were hollering and honking their horns.  I could only imagine what it would have been like had Spain won.  I’m sure, complete pandomonium in the streets.  Much like the towns of the winning baseball team in the World Series.

This dedication by the fans and the faces on the players on TV as they urged the ref to not make this call or to make that one and the groans by the fans when we thought for sure Spain had scored their 2nd goal made me appreciate the sport a little more.  I felt I could relate to yelling at the ump on TV for a bad call against my team or how you feel when you thought that the ball was definitely out of the park for a home run and it turns out it was just a long single or even worse, taken away by a great catch from the other team.

I’m not devoted enough to be that upset by the loss, except for the fact that I don’t know who to root for now.  Any suggestions from you soccer fanatics out there?

Part-time soccer fan,


England/Sweden then Cards/Sox

I wanted to go into town last night to watch Spain play in the World Cup with the locals, but it ended up not working out.  So, instead I opted to go tonight to a local hangout to watch the England-Sweden game.  Having no preference for either team, I rooted for Sweden since my roommate was rooting for England.  I figure it’s more fun that way.

There wasn’t a whole lot going on….it is soccer after all.  But, I guess it was probably about as exciting as it’s going to get because there were 4 goals scored in all.  So, we at least had the chance to cheer for our respective teams.  The one thing that bothers me most about soccer is the fact that games can end in a tie.  They play all that time, work really hard and still neither team gets to walk off the team being the winner.

I came home and read Dave’s liveblog of the whole event, where I learned that since they tied, both teams will advance.  It was also helpful to read a soccer fan’s point of view.

As you may have noticed, I still have not converted into a soccer fan, but I’m trying to at least follow along because it is so huge here in Europe.

The best part of this game is the fact that I work with a guy from England who is married to a lady from Sweden.  So, tomorrow at work I’ll be giving them a hard time.  Maybe it’s good it ended in a tie.  Now, neither one will be mad. 🙂

Well, after doing the soccer thing tonight, I am very ready for some good baseball.  Less than 2 hours until interleague action starts for the Redbirds.  Looking forward to a great series with the ChiSox.

Going to beat last years Champs,


Soccer fan?? Nahhh.

MLB.TV isn’t working at all now, not even for games that have already finished.  So, I finally gave in and just read the recap of the Cardinals game.  I have a little patience to watch games in their entirety even after they’ve been played, but it’s not unlimited and after waiting all day for MLB.TV to get their act together, I couldn’t wait any longer.

Looks like it was a decent game, so I’m sorry I didn’t get to see it.  I did see Albert’s home run though on stlcardinals.com’s front page.  That now makes 12 for the man.  Awesome.  It seems like he could easily break the April record now, but of course, who knows what will happen.  Slumps happen to even Albert.  (Remember the first Chicago series anyone?)  The thing with him is that they seem to be shorter and less frequent.  So we will see.

Side comment: I found a quote today that Albert made back on April 10.

               "In April, the ball doesn’t jump in any park."

Reading this amused me because clearly the ball is definitely jumping off of Albert’s bat.

My family is going down to see the new Busch for the first time this Sunday and they’re right behind the bullpen.  So, who knows?  Maybe they will get to catch a Pujols record breaking homer.

Well, since I can’t really intelligently discuss the game since I didn’t watch it, I will discuss something else.  On Sunday night I went to mSergio_1Zidane_1y first ever professional soccer game.  (Or football as it’s called here.  That can be very confusing sometimes.)  I watched the home team, the Madrid Real, squash Málaga 2-1.  The two goals were scored by the guys on the right.  On the left is Zinedine Zidane from France and the other is Sergio Ramos, from Spain.  The game was reasonably exciting because the Real won in the last 60 seconds of the game by Sergio’s goal.  Other than that though, it was quite boring.  All the running around in between with nothing happening.  I will definitely just stick to baseball!

Praying I will be able to watch tonight’s game,