Sunday, July 11, 2010

Viva Espana!

I said when Spain lost its first game to Switzerland that the loss might actually help Spain by forcing them to refocus. Well it certainly didn't hurt them.

The cardiac kids pulled out another 1-0 victory in the 115th minute of the final. Andres Iniesta had the winner with a line drive into the net which, I have to admit, was a thing of beauty. The goal came with the Netherlands down to 10 men after Johnny Heitinga was sent off with his second yellow card.

Congratulations to Spain on their first World Cup championship. They'll be dancing in the streets of Madrid tonight. As for the Netherlands, that's three trips to the final without a win.

Spain wins the World Cup while scoring a total of only 8 goals in the entire tournament. That's by far the lowest goal total for the championship team in the history of the cup.

You could have put lipstick, makeup and expensive French perfume on this game and it still would have been a pig. Referee Howard Webb gave 14 yellow cards! The previous high for a World Cup final was 5. In addition to Heitinga's 2 cards, the Netherlands earned 7 more for a total of 9. Spain joined in with 5 cards of their own.

I called the Spanish team the cardiac kids due to their four consecutive 1-0 wins with late goals. However, given their center field passing ad nauseam sort of game, I could have called them the snooze patrol.

Yes, they won, and in the final analysis that's what counts, but the sound of snoring all over Northern New Jersey and Southern New York almost drowned out the vuvuzelas. If soccer gained any ground in popularity in the U.S. due to this tournament, the final undid all or most of it. I napped through much of the second half and the first 15 minutes of extra time. I happened to be eating pistachios when Spain scored otherwise I might have missed it.

In the 3rd place game Uruguay, after taking a 2-1 lead, ended up losing to Germany 3-2. Diego Forlan scored another goal and sent me off looking for a "Forlan" Uruguay jersey. Unfortunately for me, they were all sold out.

So Paul the octopus wins the head to head competition with Mani the parakeet and maintains his perfect prediction record for the 2010 World Cup. I also went 2-0 on the weekend making me 13-3 for the knockout rounds and 24-8 overall.

So the World Cup is over. It certainly was a wild one. The 2014 tournament will be in Brazil. Would you like an early prediction on who's going to win that one?

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