Posts Tagged ‘world cup’

Monday Medley

What we read while finally knocking Ghana down a peg…

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Monday Medley

What we read while offering Jill Abramson a job…

 

Top 173 Things in World History: #133. The Dutch-Spanish Rivalry

The best part about Uruguay being knocked out in the semifinals of the World Cup was that it guaranteed an all-European final, which pretty much guaranteed a final between countries that, at one point or another, fought each other in a war.

The special thing about the showdown in South Africa between Spain and the Netherlands,* though, is that this is a rematch of multiple wars. And it ain’t no rubber game: The Dutch are going for the sweep.

*Did you know that Holland technically only refers to two counties in the Netherlands? And that it really shouldn’t be used to talk about the country as a whole? But that the Dutch don’t seem to mind because they’re so agreeable? Also, where does the Netherlands rank in terms of countries that require “the”? Do they get past the United States AND the Seychelles?

It started in the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648), in which the Dutch revolted against their distant Spanish leaders because they were being taxed too much. Yawn. The Eighty Years’ War is interesting for only three reasons:

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The Definitive Consolation Match Preview!

Here at NPI, we’ve pretty much proven beyond a reasonable doubt that we’re not exactly your go-to source for soccer information. That said, when it comes time for the World Cup Consolation Match between Germany and Uruguay this afternoon, who is your go-to source of information? We are stunned and indeed saddened by the dearth of hype for this all-important game. This is our attempt to remedy that void, with both a Beginner’s Guide to Consolation Matches and a preview of the game itself.

Who or what is a ‘consolation match’? Well, the teams that get pretty far but not to the championship get to play another game anyway, for, you know, consolation. It’s actually a pretty cute idea, isn’t it?

How is this in any way consoling? If you win, you finish in third.

And if you lose? Fourth.

And if the game didn’t take place? You’d NEVER know!

But couldn’t you kind of dance around that and be all, “Yeah, we pretty much finished in third.” Seems pretty disingenuous to me.

So, umm, when did this game start? The World Cup has had a Consolation Game ever since its second edition, way back in 1934. Consolation Games, in general, were invented earlier in the 20th century by the same guy who later popularized the Participation Certificate.

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Monday Medley

What we read while our goals were mysteriously disallowed…

The Problems With Soccer

John appears to have already stirred the passions of the soccer fanatics with his rant on its lack of scoring. While I generally agree, I’d like to elaborate with soccer’s most egregious offenses to an American sports obsessive:

5. The Imprecision of Time Continue reading

Against Soccer

For those of you who have been appropriately ignoring this year’s World Cup action, Saturday saw a semi-surprising tie between the United States and soccer-loving England, thanks to a blunder by British goalie Robert Green. Now, whenever a World Cup rolls around it provokes a tired debate in America between the rabidly pro-soccer and the staunchly anti-soccer. This debate is stupid: While many Americans have the same passive, nationalistic faux-fan relationship with the World Cup that they have with the Olympics, soccer is self-evidently awful.

There are many complicated and deep theories about why soccer is awful—soccer is un-American, soccer embraces “Outcast Culture,” soccer doesn’t attract the best American athletes, soccer is too hard to understand, etc.—but the real reason was evident as the ball slipped out of Green’s hands: Soccer is too low-scoring. Continue reading