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A Metablog in Links

--I have to admit, I’m not patriotic. It has partly to do with principle, but it is also a phobia/neurosis. When I hear people yelling, “USA, USA,” I begin to look for an exit through which I could slink away. Yet, my heart practically burst when I saw Shot Heard 'Round The World.

Of course, my first thought was, “Kiss my ass, Glenn Beck.”

--The Daily Show’s ‘coverage’ of the World Cup was superb!

--Daniel wrote about Peru not making the tournament since 1982. That was a memorable tournament: Brazil, arguably the best team not to win the cup, the most artistic, before the evangelicals; Argentina, the cup holders, losing the first game, and Maradona red carded against Brazil; Paolo Rossi and Dino Zoff; and Peru.

I remember the Peruvian team—not the scores, but the uniform, white shirt with a red sash running across. The uniforms forced the Peruvians to play like Miss U.S.A contestants, but without the killer instinct.

OK. That was a bad joke, but I reserve the right to make fun of all teams since Lebanon has yet to make the tournament.

--In defense of Gattuso, he’s not completely evil. If you shave his head, you’ll see a 665 (a bad old joke.)

He does foul a lot, and he whines when fouled or whenever anyone is on the ‘same continental landmass.’ He fouled less in his prime, though, which was still excessive. I never understood why he wasn’t carded more often. He used to cover a lot of ground, though, and was always in the middle of the action.

I do see a place for a good disruptor. I once heard Gattuso interviewed on Abu Dhabi television, and he said something to the effect that he considers himself one of the best defensive midfielders in the game, along with Davids and Makelele. The problem is that he isn’t in the same league as those two on the offensive side of the game, or the defensive either. But other than that . . .

However, criticizing him for removing his shorts too often is below the belt. Have we forgotten the Dolce & Gabanna ads? Too often? He can take off his shorts as often as he wants. Mamma mia.

--Watching Brazil’s Melo and Silva against Portugal, and their constant fouling, I wonder why we give them a pass. They aren’t disciples of Mephistopheles since they don’t fake death-rattle injuries as much as Gattuso (or any Italian, for that matter) but they do play ugly. I can’t forgive Dunga.

--Gattuso’s inclusion in the starting lineup for the last game was part of the problem for Italy. Lippi’s player selections didn’t make any sense. Granted, he may not have had many options, but for two years, we’ve been watching the Italian team play terribly, and Lippi refused to let go of detrimental allegiances. In the last game, I kept expecting Del Piero to come on the field, or Baggio—you know, Juventus forever.

Gattuso has been ineffective for both Italy and Milan, but one of the main problems for me has been Cannavaro. In his prime, he was the best defender of his generation. He might not have been the fastest player but his instinct, anticipation, and lateral quickness were nothing short of miraculous. He still anticipates, but his reaction is slower. He ends up out of position and unable to recover. Without a superior defense, Italy had no chance.

--Although there are quite a few Italian fans in Beirut, many were happy with the Italy’s exit. Some superstitious Lebanese said that they could never root for il tricolore. In recent history, every year that Italy won the World Cup (‘82, ‘06), Israel goes berserk in Lebanon. We can’t risk it!

--Has there been more diving in this tournament than ever? It seems so to me. More artistic diving than the Olympics. We should score them on style and degree of difficulty. What’s sad that it’s no longer just the forwards who do it.

One of the many things to like about the American team is they don’t dive. It seems the bigger the club a player plays for, the worse his acting or diving.

I’m not a fan of Kaka, but I loved his walking away from the pseudo-melee toward the end of the game against Ivory Coast. The second yellow he received was egregious.

I might be incredibly naïve but I wonder how players who fake being hit or slapped can live with themselves. How can they face their families?

--England hasn’t flamed out yet. No Catastrophe. The team played badly and were unlucky, as is their wont, but in this tournament, they’re also unlucky in bed.

It has been fun watching some of the unraveling: Terry’s attempted coup, Rooney’s on-camera blowup, and poor Robert Green.

So much for the best English group since the Beatles.

And they came in second in the group. Behind the U.S. How cool is that!

--Can we have a moratorium on the soccer wars until after the tournament? Please.

--Onward to the next round. Three cheers:

Villa! Villa! Villa!


Go Algeria!