Wednesday, June 23, 2004



The Huns have been conquered.

Euro 2004, Germany in desperate need of a win to get out of group play and go into the "knock-out round" (European for "playoffs") and playing a Czech squad primarily made up of Czech second-stringers because the Chex had already clinched first place in the group. Meanwhile, Netherlands had a match-up against relatively weak Latvia. Result: the Dutch rout the Rigans, the Chex clout the Klauses and the Germans are heading home humiliated.

A nice day in Portugal, I think.

Note that I really don't like soccer (that's American for football) -- too little scoring, horrendously corrupt and/or inept refereeing, an ingrained tendency to play not to lose, a colossally stupid way to decide games in knock-out situations (penalty kicks), and entirely too much exhilaration derived from mundane occurrences (picture every Brit broadcaster you've heard exclaiming about "a lovely bit of play in that sequence"). Nonetheless, when it comes to the Euro championships or the World Cup, I'm interested because of the geopolitical rivalries and the historical interplay between any two countries.

Moreover, I can almost always pick a side that I want to win or a reason to root against someone: i.e., Argentina v. Romania = Nazi safe-haven versus Communist victim, we go with the Commie victim; England v. France = Nazism and Communism fighter v. Nazi-collaborator and America-hating, we go with the Brits, natch. When you put it in that context (and the soccer-loving world usually does), soccer can be great fun. Like when the Germans lose . . .

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