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July 02, 2014

Comments

Jeff

Ditto to all head scratching rules and characteristics of the game you mentioned. You may remember our first introduction to soccer was at St Mike's when the college started a team. I remember Norm Roy being one of the players. My best moments are the Kia commercials. The best one is watching the face of the black guy in the garage when the Brazilian model walks away!

Paul A. Tamburello, Jr aka pt at large

My junior year roommate Bob Tobin was one of the kids who signed up to play on the team led by Dr. Citarella in 1960 when A.D. "Doc" Jacobs asked him to start a team and to coach it. http://www.smcathletics.com/information/halloffame/citarella_armand
A successful opthomologist, Dr. Bob Tobin established the "Doc" Citarella Scholarship for scholar-athletes with his classmate Richard Endrelunas, Esq. (SMC '64) to honor Professor Armand Citarella who was a highly regarded classics scholar and the first soccer coach at SMC. Some of the kids who made the team had never played soccer before!

Paul A. Tamburello, Jr aka pt at large

That's another thing about the soccer matches so far - no commercials during the game, keeps you glued to the tube. BUT here's the one you liked, certainly gets attention.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2Aa0IA21wk
Here's another
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHhFGu4ZuTc
KIA thinks strategically, huh?

Mary Seppi

Nice writing, Paul!

Paul A. Tamburello, Jr aka pt at large

Thanks, Mary! I know you see lots of soccer in Chile, who lost a tough match against Brazil I think.
World Cup soccer is making a pretty big splash in the USA.

Mary Seppi

I wasn't so into it before either, but what a thrill to see the best athletes in the world with no note of steroids...
Even my mom is into it.
Again, nice article!

Bill Ives

Paul - Great post we were in Amsterdam just before the Dutch played Spain in the opening game. this represented a rivalry that goes back centuries as were leaned in several museum there. The Dutch threw off the domination of Spain in the 1600s. The local feeling was they would have less luck this time. Then they went on to beat Spain 5 -1 while we were flying back. The city was draped in Orange as we left so there must have been a lot of beer drinking after that win. We will now be cheering them on this afternoon. Look forward to seeing you on the 15th.

Ann Baker

A great article. Now if you had been watching with someone who had grown up in the sport, you'd still be writing . And we watched some of the games on the Spanish channel. A whole other flavor than the US. Including TV commercials. And there is more to come…………..

Paul A. Tamburello, Jr. aka pt at large

I just finished watching the match between Costa Rica and the Netherlands...two extra time periods then a Shoot Out, the first one I ever saw. Whewwww. I see what you mean.

A Friend

Dear Paul,

So glad you're enjoying the WC.

No time outs, except those by the referee, usually to deal with injuries or more likely fake injuries; he adds time (known as "stoppage time") at the end of the half--usually 1 to 5 minutes--to compensate for minutes lost to time outs. No ads. Professional players worldwide have their shirts covered in ads, but they don't do that at the WC.

Most difficult rule to comprehend, and the one most often invoked, is the offside rule. In its most simplistic form, it says that unless you (the player) have the ball, there must always be at least one opposing player (i.e., defender, not including the goalie a/k/a "keeper") between you and the opposing goal. If you're approaching the other team's goal without the ball, and a teammate behind you with the ball kicks (passes) it to you, you cannot be past the last defensive player (again not including the keeper) when the ball is struck.

You have to be at least "even" with that last defensive player when the ball is struck. The sideline (in soccer it's called the "touch line") referees have been very good about making the correct calls throughout the tournament.

Also, the offside rule does not apply during a corner kick.

Fake injuries are part of gaming the referee, and are a plague on the sport. They're the reason a lot of Americans (rightfully so) don't like watching. Brazil's Neymar had his back broken last game; I thought he was faking. And NO FOUL WAS CALLED.

Brazil's strategy--disgusting, technically illegal, and very un-Brazilian--is to rough up the other team as much as they can, and dare the refs (cowed by a rabid pro-Brazil crowd) to yellow card (or "book") them. If a player gets two yellow cards in a game, he's out and the team plays shorthanded. Yellow is a "caution" card. A red card is given for egregious fouls and results in instant expulsion; again, the team plays shorthanded.

Brazil got away with it (sort of) vs. Colombia, where they pounded with impunity (due to poor refereeing) on James, the Colombian striker and rising world star. As Colombia started to fight back, Brazil's own star striker, Neymar, paid the price for their brutal tactics, which came around against them when a Colombian defender accidentally (on purpose) kneed him in the spine.

Unlike Colombia, which was trying to play the game the way it should be played, at least in the first half, Germany will gladly match Brazil foul for foul. However, give the endemic corruption of FIFA, the referee may well penalize Germany more because Brazil is the host country, and the Brazilian fans may well riot (and/or lynch the ref) if their team loses.

The best offensive player (or "striker") on most every team wears the number 10. Lionel Messi of Argentina is considered the best striker in the world, and has been for at least 5 years. And yeah, he's number 10.

In case you didn't see it, one of the greatest goals in World Cup history (and one of the greatest single achievements in any sport) by Dutch striker van Persie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tS0swOhqBM

Note how careful he was to stay on side (see the white players between him an the goal line) when the ball was struck. By the time the ball reached him, he was two yards ahead of the nearest defender.

Best all-around player in the world, IMO, is Netherland's Arjen Robben. Not the most prolific scorer but so dangerous with the ball, creating plays and dishing passes to open teammates.

FIFA (which puts on The World Cup) is corrupt beyond words, but these are a good start:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlJEt2KU33I&list=TL1SVGbt22opI0tYUzvdCUJ1H3LoQw-P2L


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