Sunday, June 11, 2006

The World Cup

It started two days ago. It has received very little news in the US national press, but I suspect that will change tomorrow when the home team plays it first match. No, I am not talking about baseball or the NBA finals, both of which are on prime time television. I am talking about the World Cup.

It is for a short time every four years that I have my television on most of the day. My wife just shakes her head at me with a smile. Herself, being European, she understands my foreign fascination with the sport that is obsessed over by men and boys, and in increasing larger amounts, women too, throughout the rest of the world.

This year the World Cup is being hosted by Germany. Similar to what occurs during the Olympics, teammates find themselves on opposite sides as friendly rivals. Football, the word that truly defines the sport, with highly paid athletes fighting aggressively on the pitch (field) for the round ball. A sport that has literally united a country torn by civil war and in the case of the United States given recognition to a sport often in the shadows of other major-league sports in America.

For those who are interested on times and match-ups and, more importantly, what channel to watch, other than Univison, the best interactive menu on the World Cup is done by the New York Times online. If you go to the website provided below, it is in the upper right, entitled, Cup Tracker.

If, reader, you do not watch soccer, as it is called in the US, I recommend you tune in for a brief time. ESPN2 as well as ABC are providing the coverage on the games. The commentary is in English and easy to follow. With other sport coverage, such as the NBA finals this week, I challenge those of us in America to compare the difference in attitude, sportsmanship, and refereeing. It is enlightening.

As I write this post, the Netherlands, has just beaten Serbia and Montenegro 1-0. Today, on ABC at 10:30am CST, Iran vs. Mexico in a first-round game in Nuremberg, Germany. Later today, at 1:55pm CST on ESPN2 Angola vs. Portugal play in a first-round game in Cologne, Germany.

So, grab a beer and chips, and be prepared to shout GOOOOAL.

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