Tuesday, July 08, 2014


World Cup of Soccer 2014



On Sunday, the World Cup of Soccer final game will take place in Brazil, at 3:00pm. The “Third Place Game”, as it is called, takes place on Saturday, at 4:00pm. At the time of writing, four countries remain in the hunt for supremacy in the soccer world: Brazil, the Netherlands, Argentina, and Germany. They have survived from a group of all of the countries in the world that tried to play in the tournament in Brazil. Canada did not make the cut. The Americans got there, but were knocked out before the list was whittled down to the final four.



In this neck of the woods, most supporters are in the Dutch camp. I have heard the whispers, “If you’re not Dutch, you’re not much”. Heading into the Semi-final game on Wednesday, the Dutch know they will have their hands full against the Argentineans. Historically, South American teams have owned the Cup when it is played on their continent. The same applies when they play for the marbles in Europe. And, just in case you may not have been paying attention over the years, no North American country has ever worn gold medals.



For your information, soccer games are 90 minutes long, two 45 minute halves. If teams are tied after the 90 minutes, they play a 30 minute overtime period. After that period, the winner is determined in shootout; however, the soccer people refer to that situation as “penalties”, not penalty kicks, mind you, just penalties.



Without boring you with a complete rant about soccer, I will touch on a few concepts that drive North Americans crazy, particularly the hockey folk.


  1. Fakers

I know some European descendents who cover their faces in shame when they see the antics of professional soccer players. It is as if snipers in the crowd have targeted certain players. With little or no contact, they hit the turf, and appear to be in mortal danger. If the referee pulls out a yellow card, some of the pain subsides immediately. If a red card comes out, almost instant recovery. Some of this behaviour has carried over into hockey, shamefully. Those who act in this way will find comeuppance, sooner or later.


  1. Officiating

The field is too large, the game is too fast, to have one referee to handle all of the work. I recommend three referees for the game. A lot of the nasty behind-the-play activity has been eliminated in hockey with the two referee system. More “diving” has been called, with that extra pair of eyes on the ice. As well, they have to come up with a better system to call offside. It is far too nebulous. They need a “blueline”, of sorts.


   3. The Language

As long as they are playing the game on our turf, it shall be called soccer. Football is entirely different. People who play football wear helmets. The game will be played on a field, not on a pitch. If you can’t put the ball on the net, you will get a zero, not a “nil”. That is just the start. I said I would not rant.



  1. Substitutions

There is whole pile of nonsense that goes on when a team wants to change players. Signs are raised, plenty of hugging, high fiving, all that stuff. I recommend that they change “on the fly”, that is, pull someone off and put someone else on whenever necessary, without a stoppage in play. It would add an ounce or two of excitement to the game.



I am going to consult my “Party Brazil Phrasebook” now for further suggestions.


It is, after all, “The Beautiful Game”. In desperate need of improvement.


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