World Cup

OK, so the US just got eliminated from the World Cup by Belgium in an exciting 2-1 match that went into extra time (all three goals scored in extra time).

To all those soccer critics out there I have a few things to say...

First, I acknowledge that some games are rife with players taking dives, whining, etc.  I must say that this is mostly evident in the South American teams, and perhaps Italy.   Today's match was hard-fought, and had none o' that shit.

To those who think that there's not enough scoring in soccer, I say...

It's not just about the scoring.  It's about the pace, the rhythm, and the scoring chances.   On the other hand... is there really much less scoring in soccer than there is in, say, American Football?

The median score of an American football game is 20-17 (http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/game_scores.cgi).  That's about three touchdowns to two -- or somewhere around 5 touchdowns per game. Yes, there are field goals.  But I would argue that if you count field goals, you almost have to count "near misses" in soccer.  Field goals are a consolation prize -- something soccer doesn't have.  Hit the crossbar?  Too bad.  Keeper makes a miraculous save?  Too bad.

BTW, The average number of goals in a soccer game is about 2.5 (http://soccer-europe.com/Statistics/Goals/GPGEuro.html).  That's about half that of a football game.  Butr then, a football game usually lasts (clock time) about 3-3.5 hours, including all the timeouts, replays, and time in the huddle.   Except for shootout endings, a soccer match is 90 minutes of pretty much continuous play (or 120 if it goes to extra time).  So really, if you don't count field goals, that's about a score every 30 minutes in American football or in soccer.  So I'm tired of hearing that there isn't enough scoring in soccer.   Would it seem like more scoring if a goal counted for 6 points?  Pfft.

To those who think it's just boring...

To each his own.  You pr.  I love all kinds of sports.  But the rhythm of a soccer game is just different than an American football game.  It's more like a hockey game.  Or lacrosse.   Or even basketball (but let's not have the "number of scores" conversation again).  The nice thing about a football or baseball game is that there's plenty of time to get a beer.  Or a snack.   Not so in soccer, or hockey.  Turn away, and you might miss something, because things happen fast.

In football or baseball, there's also a lot of time to talk about strategy.  One of my favorite baseball moments was when my brother, years ago, talked me through all the background behind-the-scenes stuff going on in what looked to me to be a dull game..  The more you know, the more fun it is.

To me, there.s nothing in all of sports like a soccer goal for excitement and release of emotion.  Why?   Because it's damned hard to score a goal in soccer.  It can come out of nowhere.  It usually ends with a goalkeeper flying through the air or sprawled out on the grass. 

To those who complain about "prima donnas" whining about minor injuries...

First, again -- I hate the part of the game that has players play-acting to draw fouls -- especially in the penalty area, which can easily decide a game.   However, soccer isn't the only sport where "drawing a foul" is part of the game.   Get touched on the hand in basketball, for instance; or draw the charging foul.   Who hasn't seen an NFL game where the wide receiver makes the "throw the flag" motion?   Almost all coaches are constantly haranguing the referees.   And oh, BTW, while soccer fans from certain countries have a bad reputation, I've never seen the benches empty as in a baseball game.  So get off it about the prima donnas.

Also... if you think it doesn't hurt to get clipped in a soccer game, you haven't played.  Most pro soccer players run about 6-7 miles in a match.  I challenge you to jog and sprint 5 miles while someone is trying to knock you down, and then sprint as hard as you can and let me kick you in the knee or step on your ankle with all of my professional athlete strength..  Yeah, you're wearing shinguards, but so am I.  Keep in mind that often the "clip" happens just after the "clipee" has made a move that beat the "clipper."    I don't like the "drama queen" acts, either -- but don't get the idea that getting clipped doesn't hurt, or doesn't matter.  I still have trouble with the blood vessles in my shins from my soccer years.

 

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