Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A few WC Tidbits

1) Two things I miss about not getting the Euro feed of these games. First, the announcers. They have the Brits announcing the EA Fifa games - (relatedly, I almost impulse purchased an XBOX360 just to get the new FIFA game, absolutely stunning) why can't we get us a few? Marcello Balboa's voice my induce a seizure before the tourney is over. I might even have to switch to Univision.

Second, though is the national anthems - for some reason one of my favorite parts of international matches. Really gives the nationalistic flavor, but almost more importantly, serves as a sort of introduction to who's playing. Incidentally, ESPN is doing a crap job of showing the lineups and formations - it took me about 15 minutes to figure out France's back 4 as the whole game was in Switzerland's half to that point.

2) Via TNR's World Cup Blog every goal of the tourney is here. My favorites to this point are Zihna's header for Mexico and Cahill's rocket of both posts to win the opener for Australia.

3) At ESPN.COM, Michael Davies is blogging the World Cup again. His 2002 diary was quite strong (with its appreciation of the Japanese team. More specifically, their individualistic hairstyles [incidentally, one of the stronger passages in "Thinking Fans Guide to the World Cup" is the entry on Japan discussing the transition from the corporatism of baseball to the individualism of soccer] Most specifically, the glory of the spiky red hair and even spikier game of their midfield enforcer TODA!.)

He's off to a good start this year as well, including his rating of the 'pantsness' of various English players in their unsatisfying victory over Paraguay.

1 comment:

Otto Man said...

I'm with you on the announcers. In their defense, they're trying to walk an impossible line between appealing to hardcore fans and explaining things to the newbies.

But I actually thought Balboa was better than his partner, O'Brien. He had so little to say in the Costa Rica match that he actually described the location and neighbors of the country.

Who really kills me is Tommy Smyth, a guy who's actively seeking to become the Dick Vitale of soccer announcing. Ugh.

I've actually been impressed by the analysis/commentary of a few of the pioneers for Team USA. John Harkes has been strong in commentary, and Eric Wynalda and even Alexi Lalas have been doing a good job in the ESPN studio. Nice to see them assume an elder statesmen role of sorts.