12 July 2006

Pity the Beautiful game has Some Really Ugly Fans

Throughout the World Cup there has been a continuous stream of greasy, diving, cheating, cattennacio-playing, undeserving, racist(?!) wop bastards comments on three of my typical lurk/occasional post sites (MeFi, MetaChat, & Sportsfilter) as well as in the English-speaking media.

I've typed up some nasty responses to said comments and then bit my tongue and closed the browser before hitting the post button. I'm just the American in Rome, and hell, why argue on the Internets.

But what with the Zizou/Matterazzi headbutt furor (neither of whom I consider saints, despite my fetish of the former and my sadness at his expulsion), the strategy of biting my tongue is proving painful.

It seems as if people, egged on by the media, willfully shut their eyes and play into their own personal confirmation biases. The aforementioned slurs on Italians, Germans as 'boring', France as 'formidable but, well, Gaelic', Spain as 'underachievers', English as 'hooligans', Brazil as the 'behemoth', Argentina forever to be mentioned along with the phrases 'Maradona' & 'hand of God', and the rest of the teams as second or third tier underdogs not worthy of too much consideration.

It's annoying. And saddening, especially on my aforementioned web lurks which are usually fairly intelligent corners of e web. Pre-Cup snark notwithstanding, can we really not get past the whole stereotyping shtick and just watch the games as they are played or must we all endure your disparaging, even racist insults in an effort to prove your flag pole is bigger than ours?

Because if it's the latter, then I guess I'll just save my breath trying to make a reasonable response to the contrary and just use small words:

HaHa. Fuck you. We won. Go peddle your cunty, insulting, racist stereotypes to someone who cares.

Damn. That last phrase has polysyllabic words. Let's try again:

HaHa. Fuck you. We won. Go peddle your cunty, insulting, racist stereotypes to someone who cares. Take your insults and shove them up your ass.

Anyhow, on to some thoughts on the WC in general.

Shitty FIFA reffing aside (as that would take a whole different rant - suffice to say that I feel FIFA really, erm, drops the ball on ensuring a consistent quality of reffing) I think:

  • The Portuguese were the worst divers in this cup though Frings had a lovely Oscar worthy moment also (against England, IIRC).
  • The Germans were a pleasant surprise with their lovely playing. I made a snarky pre WC comment about the Germans on MeFi, but I will fully admit to being wrong.
  • I want to see more of Ghana in the future.
  • ZiZou against Brazil was pure poetry
  • The Aussies also did well...
  • ...but both penalty calls in the Italy-Aus match were on the excessive side. That said, I don't think it was a dive by Grosso. He's not known for diving, had been fouled by one defender and kept going only to be tripped up by the second Aussie defender as he was going for the ball with a third Aussie defender fast approaching said ball. A move of inexperience on Neil's part, and the ref was clearly on the side of 'letter of the rules' instead of 'spirit of the game', but there you go. A bit of bad luck for the Aussies, but I think we'll see them again soon
  • Germany-Italy was the best game of the Cup
  • Lippi has done the most to move the Azzurri away from cattenaccio, far more than Trapatoni did...
  • ...though one could certainly argue that you play to your strengths in any game
  • The Azzurri have had, to my mind,a type of renaissance; Italian football is far from perfect but I see this cup as a turning point (hopefully; it looks like Lippi won't be hanging around).
  • Italy was more dominant the first half of the final, the French the second, and it could have easily gone either way.
  • as I said above, Neither ZiZou nor Materazzi are saints, but the (again, mainly English-speaking) media are acting as if the entire outcome of the game was down to ZiZou. That's a bit much.
  • while the Azzurri did have a bit of luck on their side (and really, what game doesn't?) and admitting I'm most certainly biased, I think that in terms of overall play they most definitely deserved the cup. Germany in my mind is second, France third, and Portugal had the biggest case of 'horseshoe up ass' syndrome

And of course, I still want the nude version of the photo below.

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