I left work early today to go watch the Germany-Argentina game in an apartment full of noisy soccer fans. I got a front-row seat and it was hella fun, but also very stressful, but also very joyful when Germany finally won. And also very, very loud. This is a day (and there are not very many of them, honestly) when being into sports is a Good Thing, and makes up for all those days when you kick things and say, “I hate soccer ( / football / basketball / hockey / rugby / whatever).” Now people are driving around and honking and blowing whistles and waving flags and I’m enjoying the euphoria.
Bittersweet, though, because Italy slaughtered Ukraine, 3-0. Ouch. And lest you wonder about my soccer loyalties, well, Ukraine is a newcomer, this is the first time that they even qualified for a major soccer tournament, and I’m totally impressed that they got this far. Also, I like underdogs, and now Portugal is the only one left in the running.
Also? Italy is a beautiful country, fantastic culture, food, art and architecture, but watching them play soccer is like watching a dogfight. They play dirty: They hurt people and act all bewildered and victim-y when they get caught. They run into (or trip over) an opponent and then fall over howling and clutching a shin, to try to get the other guy in trouble. That’s how they beat Australia, you can see in the replays that Neill didn’t tackle Grosso. Grosso took a dive, the ref bought it, and awarded Italy the penalty shot that won the game. That is both lame and sucky, and I want them to lose because I don’t like the way they play. And as if that weren’t enough, their jerseys this year! Pre-installed pitstains! Oh my God! And the numbers? Yes, you saw that right: shiny gold stuff. Ew. I’m sorry Samirah, but violence + whininess + fashion crime = Bad soccer.