World Cup Soccer
2006 - moderately sucked

I   
watched three of the world cup matches this year in my never-ending attempt to broaden my horizons. I think this sport has a lot of merit. It just needs one or two tweaks to make it work for Americans ... and I think the rest of the world would like it too. The big problem is, of course, not enough scoring. And what little there is has the quality of a field goal or foul shot or a walk with the bases loaded.

A typical baseball game ends up as maybe 6 to 4. For American football the score is usually around 4 to 2 (four touchdowns to two and throw in a couple field goals). Even in hockey the scores are generally a little higher and with that you get a fight or two and some really hard knocks and lots of "shots on goal". Basketball, on the other hand has too much scoring ... you can skip the first three quarters and just show up for the fourth and leave it at that. In other words, the American viewer has an expectation of seeing a significant event every 10-12 minutes. This means that if he goes to the can or to get a brewski he risks missing a critical play.

Not so with soccer. The fans have plenty of time on their hands and put it to great use. They attack one another ;o) ... possibly out of simple frustration. Hell, that's why men are interested in sports in the first place. Sports is a tension release. Even watching it is a "release" ... and an excuse to get away from the old lady.

Soccer players are frustrated

They practice so long that they can eat with their feet and type faster than Mavis Bacon (or whatever her name is). Then when it comes down to the game itself, they make a great move or two and somebody trips them and the next thing you know they're eatin' sod. On and on it goes ... lots of deft playing, great footwork and passing ... the old give 'n go and ... whudya get? ... a mouthful of sod.

Once in a while a player would like to eat sod in the goal along with his buddy ... the ball, i.e. to score. That goal is tighter than a $2500 whore.

And those scores you do see ... what is that shit? In the final World Cup Soccer Game ... for the championship of the planet ... in a game that more than half the planet is intensely familiar with ... we see ...
1 - Corner kick header score
1 - Penalty kick score
1 - Shootout after two full hours of sweat in which 8 of 9 attempts were made, i.e. a penalty kick is almost a sure thing. Result ... game, set and match to Italy who were outplayed by France in the last overtime period by almost unanimous consensus (they played evenly for the rest of the time).

It's as if you watched the Super Bowl and there was a field goal and a touchback and not a single touchdown. What would Americans think of their own football game if the main object of the game was seldom attained. But this isn't anything out of the ordinary for soccer. A straight up goal from field play is the stranger in this sport. What they practice for ... sometimes for decades ... is not how points are scored. They are scored from the "ornaments" of the game. We have a meal with potatoes and corn and green beans on the plate ... but no meat.

Something must be done.

From what I've seen ...

this is a great game. It just needs to address its fundamental priorities. They need to score something on the average of four to six goals per game ... FROM THE FIELD ... in the manner systemic to soccer, i.e. by play making, by the fundamental action of the game ... you kick the ball to another teammate, who kicks it to yet another who does some fancy footwork, who passes it deftly to another who has gotten himself into position to kick it home off another teammates chest ... you know the drill here.

For starters, they ought to degrade the penalty kick. Since it's a sure thing (like a basketball foul shot) it should count for less ... say, half a point.

From what little I know of the sport, I'd chuck the offside rule for passes in the goal-half of the field ... like hockey's icing the puck. If you kick it from your half of the field to your own player in the other half ... and ... there is no opposition player between him and the goalie ... it's offsides. But if both players are in the same half of the field, any type of pass maneuver is legitimate. Then you'd get more goals and more shots on goal ... and they'd be in the spirit and system of the game as well.

soccer.gif - 5kb

Whudya' think?