I'm going back to normal programming but am placing the World Cup post here since it has attracted a lot of comments. You can continue to post comments here.
What I saw in the 2010 World Cup thus far:
- Hope for the U.S. in football (soccer): at least in New York City, a lot more bars and restaurants have TV screens up showing the matches this year than 4 years ago
- Hope unfulfilled yet: many of said bars are not open for the 7:30 am matches despite advertising that they "show every match". Sleep deprivation is part of the experience that has not transferred over yet.
- Reason for hope: the disallowed goal against Slovenia was a clear refereeing mistake, and a whooper of a mistake -- but.. such things are part of the game, and part of the history of the game. Penalties wrongly given, or not given; offside flags pointing up when it should be down, or vice versa; handballs missed; etc. The current outrage is great for football in the States; we'll be talking about this disallowed goal for generations.
- Speaking of missed handballs: did anyone else see a Dutch handball prior to the ball passing to Sneijder before he shot the winning goal? All the subsequent TV feeds only show Sneijder's shot but there was one replay I saw that seemed to show handball but they never showed it again. If so, the Japanese also have a reason to gripe. (PS. Around 0:34 into the video, you can see Van Persie using his hand to control the ball.)
- Pointless statistics: football is not a game that can be easily summarized by statistics - all the numbers they throw out are quite meaningless to understanding the outcome of a game: time of possession, number of touches, number of passes, number of shots, etc.
- They are all Italians now: so many teams are playing conservative counter-attack football (which I happen to think is the right strategy for most teams); I was shocked that the Dutch team against Japan played like a classic Italian team: they went ahead 1-0, and then just protected the lead. Interesting no one complained when other teams adopt this strategy but when the Italians do it, everyone is crying foul... the ESPN announcers didn't realize that the Dutch stopped pressing forward until the latter half of the second half.
- Most disappointing teams: England (Wayne Rooney is the problem, not Robert Green), Australia (just a mess), Germany (should've at least tied Serbia)
- (Unfancied) teams that can be proud of their work so far: Mexico, the Asians, Switzerland, USA, New Zealand
- Forza Azzurri!