Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I've been missing the excitement of being surrounded by people who care about the World Cup. So far, the only person I've interacted with who has cared the least little bit about it was the man at the po-boy shop who cashed in my Powerball ticket last week ($3!). While waiting on customers he could not take his eyes off the game on the TV above the door. Asked him who he thought would win the finals and he laughed, "Brazil!" Ha ha! But Brazil is OUT. And now Germany is OUT.

I've got to find somebody/someplace with cable and a big screen TV.


Anonymous Rachel Thompson said...

Greetings from an old high school buddy! Perhaps I can share some of the excitement with you from cyberspace. I live in Germany now, and there's been no shortage of excitement here. I remember for the opening game I was walking home from work, and I could tell when Germany scored because a roar went out from all the homes. Afterwards people went nuts, drving around, honking, shooting fireworks- and that was just the first game!!
It was nice to see such optimism here. Germans are usually rather pessimistic and have a difficult relationshihp with their national identity. I was hoping they would win just so the mood would hold out.
I'm not as much into soccer now that I live here. When you live in the US, it seems like this really international thing- with a touch of the unusual. After seeing how obnoxious, racist, ignorant and violent soccer fans can be, I'm kind of disillusioned. (Even Europe has its stupid people). But the World Cup does manage to bring in that international spirit. That's about the only time I watch.
Hope you're enjoying it. I'm rooting for the froggies.... how about you?

July 06, 2006 1:02 PM  
Blogger Jennifer P. said...

Wow! It's been a long time. It's great to hear from you. Where in Germany are you?

On the World Cup question, I was rooting for Portugal... but that fantasy's over. I'm feeling split equally between supporting either Italy or France.

If a World Cup game has teams from different continents, I usually root for the non-European team. Games matching former colonies against former rulers are particularly exciting. When Senegal beat France in the 2002 Cup that was fantastic! I was really really hoping Portugal and Brazil would meet up in the quarter finals. In that case I would not have rooted for Portugal - my loyalities shift depending on the geo-political subtext of a given game.

Also, games between neighboring countries are usually intriguing. I root for Mexico when they play the US. If Greece and Turkey were ever to play each other, I'd root for Turkey in a heartbeat. France vs. Germany: I'd root for France. England vs. Germany: I'd root for England.

Hmmmm, trying to think of a situation in which I would root for Germany. I really like Germany; where else can you find people surfing waves in urban drainage canals? But it's hard to root for Germany's soccer team to dominate any other country's team, geo-politically speaking. Hypothetically, if Germany was in the finals against Brazil as a repeat of the Cup's finals, I would root for Germany against the defending champions. Brazil has won so very many times and wouldn't need two in a row. That situation trumps the New World vs. Old World bias.

In 2002 it was really good that Korea and Japan didn't meet up. My feelings would have been conflicted. Living in Japan I would have wanted Japan to win, but then that would have confirmed the feelings of genetic superiority that some Japanese nationalists have over Korea, a bad thing. For that reason I would have wanted Korea to win. So, happily that meeting never happened and the two countries grew closer through mutual admiration for each other's ability to stage massive group synchonized cheering displays.

So, Italy vs. France. Hmm. France wouldn't be in the finals without Zidane. It's his last World Cup and it would be a happy ending to his career if the team won. France has had a tough year with the riots and fires. It would be good for national morale. I met a lot of wonderful people throughout France last year. All points in France's favor.

Points in Italy's favor: It's been longer since their team won the World Cup. They don't depend on one star player. Italians make such great gelato. That may seem unrelated, but there are many happy memories associated with Italy (and gelato). Cheering for Italy is like cheering for gelato. People in Italy are gracious and friendly, pickpockets aside. Finally, their team is the underdog.

When it comes down to it, I'm leaning ever so slightly toward Italy just because the winning team gets automatic qualification for the next World Cup and I think a French team without Zidane should have to earn their spot.

Too much information, eh?

July 09, 2006 11:37 AM  

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