I’ve watched part or all of five live footy matches this weekend, something I cannot say I would normally do (especially when it requires being awake at 8:30 AM to watch some of them), and while I cannot say that I would ever be truly knowledgeable in the true sense, I’m having a lot of fun with these matches, even if there have been no surprises yet.
The flexible circumstances of nationality and who you play for are getting more and more interesting. Germany has two native Poles (including the pictured Lukas Podoloski) and another player (Mario Gomez) who could be eligible to play for the Spaniards if he wanted. Portugal has a couple Brazilians, including the midfielder Deco, and so forth. While the first match between the Czechs and the Swiss died down considerably after the sole goal was scored, watching the Portugese play that slicked-up, fast game was a kick — even if we all could see them whooping Turkey from a mile away. Until the second goal came in the Germany-Poland match, that game really could have gone either way, because the Poles were whiffing on some really, really good chances until Podolski got that second score.
I don’t necessarily find national team matches more compelling than club soccer — some of the players that make national teams are not exactly EPL/Serie A/La Liga/Bundesliga talent, but enough of them are to keep the quality at very high levels, and let’s see how far I make it through.
I also tack on the whole U.S.-Argentina friendly that ended in a draw tonight, even though it has fuck all to do with any of the earlier stuff. That match was only a draw by the good graces of keeper Tim Howard, who beat back an assault of scoring chances in the first half. I’d still like a rational explanation of where Pablo Mastroeni got a second yellow card — I don’t remember him getting a first before getting sent off in the second half. As for the U.S. offense: our kingdom, our entire federation for a fucking striker. There is a midfielder logjam on the USMNT, and really no clear attack force up front.
Anyway, it’s Romania vs. France at 8:30 AM — and I’ll likely be sacrificing a couple more hours of sleep to watch.
Photo: AP/Michael Probst