Barney Ronay, in the Guardian, grapples with the concept of Spain’s footballing success thus far in the tournament playing it in the style they’ve been committed to for a long time now.
But still the feeling persists that this is an oddly frictionless excellence; that Spain play a kind of platinum-selling dinner party football – Coldplay Football – that is clearly and undeniably high spec, but also devoid of jarringly revelatory spikes and twists. Playing against Spain must feel a little like playing a chess computer: strangled, impotent, you gawp helplessly at its robotic grace.
[This post was written in the past, when Brazil beat Ivory Coast. Not the best time to put it up here, but I’ll put it up anyway.]
I was planning to write a post on Brazil following the match against Côte d’Ivoire, but one of the most anticipated matches — at least for me — had to be skipped due to unplanned events. I had to travel out of town and back to drop off a friend at the airport. Even the choice of restaurant, while we stopped for lunch, couldn’t have been worse: no TV!
Meanwhile, due to some legalese that I will never quite understand, replays of matches telecast on ESPN’s sister (parent?) network, ABC are not allowed to be up on ESPN3.com until the next day. So I’ve decided to write about Brazil anyway. Read on.
As the World Cup approaches, and you check another date off your desktop calendar, we’re pleased to announce the acquisition of a major pundit in our expert panel — the renowned but reclusive, Moody McMoody — who’ll give you a sneak peek at what to expect in the days ahead. Now, we must warn you, Mr. M is, um… well, a rather complicated person — and while we are honoured to have him here, he would want your undivided attention to what he’s telling. (It’s been difficult to extract him out of St. Patrick’s Asylum, Dublin.) In case you find anything inappropriate, kindly understand; he’s been through a lot.
The preview is a collection of diary entries he scribbled, as well as from transcribed audio interviews.
“If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”
“If you can accept losing, you can’t win.”
– Vince Lombardi
I have never hidden the fact that cricket is a sport very close to my heart. For the benefit of readers none too keen on cricket, fret not; an understanding of the game isn’t critical towards getting this post.
… soonish. In the meantime, whilst I’ve been caught up mumbling along about Man Utd, I found time to write a post with a slightly more generic appeal that could have very well gone here.
It’s become such an ineluctable point of reference — if there was any — that one can’t help but defer to the piece by the Guardian’s Sean Ingle when it comes to discussing fandom and idiocy.
Fan culture in sport has always fascinated me in more ways than one. Yet, nothing confounds more than that seen in football; especially its English/European model. Being exposed more to the English language media gives me a broader understanding of the psyche of the English fan than say, his Italian or Spanish counterpart. But in essence, there is nothing too broad to understand about the mental makeup of the average football fan in England that can’t be explained in two lines, at most. I can explain it — and I will in a bit — but to do so would mean running the risk of pigeonholing a vast cross-section of a possibly diverse populace. It’s a risk I’m willing to take: for one, I don’t think said populace is as varied as one might think, nor is a remark — loaded with more than its share of presumption — coming from me, going to mean much in the broad scheme of things. (It’s not going to cause a tectonic shift of continental plates, for sure.)
So here it is…