Friday, September 28, 2007

Anyone Get The Number ...

The number of the truck, I mean. The one that ran over the U.S. Women's National soccer team.

It had Brazilian plates and was driven by a speed fiend named Marta.

If you do not have much interest in soccer (or sports) then please forgive this digression from regular programming.

I've never played soccer, never watched it really until the mid/late nineties when the women's team was winning world cups and olympic medals left and right. I still don't get a lot of the rules, and am pretty sure it's much better to see in person. But I did start to follow the women's national team when the big tournaments were held.

My daughter is playing soccer now, and seems to like it. When I realized the Women's World Cup would be going on this month, I got her interested in the tournament. A little bit anyway. Until today.

The Brazilian women are really, really, really fast. Their forward, Marta, can score goals from ridiculous distances with equally ridiculous accuracy. There are some athletes that are just so good that, even knowing nothing about the sport, you can watch them and say "Holy Crap! That was amazing." Marta is like that.

The U.S. women didn't help themselves by, early in the game, deflecting a kick into their own goal. And they could also complain about the officiating. The referee was handing out yellow cards like lemon drops. A U.S. player got a red card (ejection from the game) for having the audacity to get tripped from behind by a Brazilian player.

But the ref didn't score three more goals. The Brazilians played very aggressive, physical soccer. The Americans were more than a little back on their heels in the second half, and were shut-out, 4-0.

[Warning: cute parent/child moment ahead.]

So, while the game is going on, my daughter tells me she doesn't want to watch these soccer women again if they're going to lose. When is the next world cup? I tell her in four years and she thinks that is a good amount of time not to watch them again.

I hope she forgets by next summer. Olympic soccer in Beijing.


Blogger Camille Alexa said...

My mom played soccer when I was a kid, and my sister all through highschool. We had a rather soccer-oriented family.

September 28, 2007 at 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Brazilian Women are one of those weird teams - amazing quality, but they've never won a World Cup. They're like the NZ All Blacks in rugby. Everything but the big win. If both Brazil and NZ win their respective World Cups in the next month, it'll be the end of two incredible droughts.

September 28, 2007 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger Camille Alexa said...

Uh oh. You've got a genuine soccer expert in the house, Todd. It's not me.

September 28, 2007 at 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not expert, Camille. The word is nerd. Nerd.

September 28, 2007 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Camille & Ian,

That would make me a baseball nerd, I suppose.

Ah yes, the team that is always on the cusp of greatness but has it snatched away. I lived with a team like that for many years.

Until 2004.

But that's baseball, not soccer.

And it appears now that the U.S. soccer coach is getting some serious heat. Current and former players blasting him.

Welcome to the court of public opinion. Can't fire the whole team. And somebody has to pay for this, right?

September 28, 2007 at 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that "someone has to pay for this." The same media folks that tell us how great Brazil is playing use their next sentence to tell us how this is a horrible defeat that must be corrected. Losing in the semis of a World Cup, for any team, is not that bad of a result. The men won't be to that point for a long time ... I think the coach did just fine, but that Marta and the Brazilians are just a better team right now. Oh well. Such is football.

September 28, 2007 at 11:48 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Ian, I agree (I hope the above came across appropriately as sarcasm).

It is very characteristic of the American psyche (perhaps elsewhere as well? That would be some comfort.) The mentality that 1st is all there is. 2nd place? Might as well have not shown up.

Add to that, insecurity. The women have played so well for so long. I'll admit I pretty much expected them to reach the final. Not hoped, expected.

In reaction to the game, Ryan said something like the Brazilians were playing up to their level. The reality is the U.S. was, as you say, the second best team on the field that night.

It will be interesting to see if they show up or lay down for the consolation match.

September 29, 2007 at 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The final is going to be absolutely amazing. Germany v. Brazil. Precision vs. Style ... drooling at the prospect. They're both super hungry with Germany thinking they should have done better when they hosted the last men's WC, and Brazil SO CLOSE to their first win. My guess is 3-2 to Brazil in a cracker. US should win the 3rd place game, I think. If they don't win THAT one, then someone should be fired.

September 29, 2007 at 12:26 AM  
Blogger Camille Alexa said...

Fancy new template!

September 30, 2007 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger Derryl Murphy said...

Sounds to me like the coach should go, after the hash he made of things while there. On the flip side, when I coach I make sure the players know damn well that they don't question my decisions in public.

But pulling your star keeper and mixing things up once you get to the games that mean something? That's a very, very odd move to make.


September 30, 2007 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Steve Buchheit said...

Me likes my football, soccer that is. Although, I really can't get into it on TV. You have to sit on the grass next to the field to really enjoy it.

As to someone having to pay, that was Bill Belichick when he coached the Browns. We kept getting close to the Super Bowl, but never made it. So Bill had to go, it was his fault after all. We never have made it to the playoffs since (and that team moved to Baltimore).

September 30, 2007 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Camille! Yes, a new coat of paint. Thanks for noticing.

I can't get rid of that space at the top (looks white in IE, grey in Firefox). Plus some other weirdness in IE.

September 30, 2007 at 11:42 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Hi Derryl,

Thanks for the link.

I missed watching the consolation but the U.S. seemed to have put it behind them, at least for one game.

I would guess if Ryan goes, it would have to be soon in order to recruit and put in place a new coach in time for the Olympics.

September 30, 2007 at 11:48 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...


I'll have to attend a game live. The cameras do seem awfully distant on television.

September 30, 2007 at 11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is indeed nothing quite live footie. Especially at one of the real shrines of European football, like Old Trafford in Manchester or the Nou Camp in Barcelona. Ridiculous. Just wear the right colors. Too bad for the Brazilian ladies - the Germans are just too good. First WC defenders ever. Not too shabby.

October 1, 2007 at 2:15 AM  

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