Archive for Thursday, July 13, 2006

Column: World Cup finale was thrilling

July 13, 2006

I have to admit that I watched a soccer game on television and actually thought it was fairly exciting.

I sat in my apartment Sunday afternoon and watched the World Cup championship game. I didn't turn the channel to the game, but found myself watching the second half for some reason.

My friend turned the game on and began watching, which didn't exactly thrill me. I sat and watched the rest of the game waiting for something to happen ... and it finally did.

As most people probably know, the game ended in a 1-1 tie after regulation. That's when the fun part of the game took over.

But of course, neither team scored in the overtime period. So the game came down to the exciting penalty kick shootout. I have to be honest; this was pretty exciting to watch.

I know that a penalty kick is very hard to stop or even guess the correct side of the goal. So, of course, almost every kick was a successful one.

There was just one that failed and that was the difference in the game. France missed its second PK shot as the ball bounced off the top of the goal and back out on to the field.

I knew when I saw that happen, that was probably the difference in the game. I kept waiting for Italy to miss one kick to make the shootout more exciting, but that never happened.

Italy made all five of its kicks and won the World Cup for the fourth time. It almost seemed wrong that Italy won, because France controlled most of the game.

The ball was primarily on the attacking side for France. The French seemed to have more energy and will to win, but, unfortunately, lost in the shootout.

I think it all went downhill for France when their captain, Zinedine Zidane, head butted an Italian player in the chest. The vicious hit earned Zidane a red card in overtime and led to the French demise.

Zidane was acclaimed as one of the world's best PK kickers, but he was ejected before the shootout.

The head butt has received hordes of attention and rightfully so. It was one of the strangest things I have seen in sports, not to mention one of the dumbest. I will have to admit, I laughed when I saw it happen.

I had been waiting for something exciting to happen in the game, since there were only about three shots on goal in the second half that came close. So the head butt brought some excitement to the game. The wrong kind of excitement.

I was glad when the shootout was finished, because I sat in a chair for 90 minutes to see the game end.

I guess I am one of the many Americans that have never cared for soccer much. I do enjoy watching Baldwin High School or Baker University games, because I know the people playing.

But as far as on television, I still think I would rather watch a good old-fashioned football game. Sorry soccer lovers, it's just not my cup of tea.

Well now that the World Cup is over, we are stuck with baseball for about another month, until football season begins.

Maybe I will just get outside a lot more in the next month, not much on television anyway.

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