Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Spain/Netherlands final sucked

All the momentum gained by soccer in North America following the American's short-lived run in the World Cup quickly dissipated when, during the final between the Netherlands and Spain, we were reminded why we don't watch this stupid sport.

It's a real shame. The game that is played in MLS and the NASL Divisions is entirely different from the type of game that we saw in the Final. Progress was made. The United States loved Landon Donovan for a short while, while Canada, with Toronto FC's representation in MLS, with Vancouver and Montreal (and Ottawa?) set to join, it was good for soccer in Canada too.

The more our American media outlets celebrate the game, which gives us reason to check out our local teams. CBC saw tremendous ratings with their coverage. This was a make-or-break year for soccer in North America, and if the world wanted to win us over, well...

The performances of a few, not all, but a few, of the players at the World Cup shut off our interest. John Heitinga, Arjen Robben, Andreas Iniesta, Carles Puyol and the eight other players who were carded in this game. Howard Webb, the inexplicably inept official who blew his whistle only when a player went down. All of these guys are at fault. The scoreless tie through 116 minutes didn't help, and neither did the Dutch frantically arguing the call on the first goal of the match.

So what to take from this tournament? Canada wasn't in it, so we can't exactly gauge our performance, save from K'Naan's abysmal opening ceremony performance. Having conquered hockey and ice dancing, most Canadians would love to see a team in Brazil in 2014.

We have our obstacles, and the crappy final is one of them. It doesn't leave us with good memories. Soccer left a little sour. Had this ended with the Germany/Uruguay third place game, a 3-2 nailbiter for the Germans, we're good. The hardcore footie fans put aside their hatred for the inferior MLS or NASL and watch a local game. The casual fan keeps the channel on should they find it on TV (and wonder what happened with the buzzing).

All that is good. All that gets our good athletes to play soccer and make a name for themselves here, for them to stay here, and play for Canada internationally. (I'm looking at you, Owen)

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