June 12th, 2006

Conrunner Kevin

Ouch

Especially after the remarkable come-from-behind victory of Australia over Japan in the early game (congrats to the Socceroos), I thought the USA might be able to break the dismal record they have when the opponents first score against them (0-13-1), but it was not to be, and worse, the Czech Republic got extra goals for that likely-to-be-crucial goal differential tie-breaker as they won 3-0. The USA did not look good, with one good shot that hit the post and a couple of decent scoring opportunities, but otherwise they looked tired and listless. I hope that USA coach Bruce Arena is able to find a combination that will come out and shine against Italy next Saturday. Now I'm rooting for a draw between Ghana and Italy, although it doesn't seem likely.
Conrunner Kevin

More of that Funny Furriners Round-Ball Game

Italy and Ghana did not oblige the USA by playing to a draw, which puts the Americans in an even deeper hole going into their second match. It's not impossible -- Turkey lost their first match in the last World Cup and came back to eventually finish third in the tournament -- but it's not going to be easy.

A promised pile of work did not materialize today, so I went out for a walk around Quarry Lake Park, which I had pretty much to myself, except for the birds, rabbits, squirrels, and fence lizards (lots of those -- dozens of them basking on the rocks). I took my radio with me and listened to sports-talk radio. While at least one of the hosts was talking about how the Sweden-Trinidad & Tobago match sort of reeled him in, some of the others continue to have this condescending attitude toward the game that everyone else in the world calls Football. The fascination with it apparently completely mystifies most Americans. The KNBR guys were talking to a US sports reporter in Germany, who summed up the US attitude by saying, "I don't plan to stick around after the US is knocked out, which doesn't look like long now." As usual, the American attitude is that any sport that we don't dominate must not be very important, and is something played by People Who Talk Funny. Sigh.
Conrunner Kevin

One Second of Fame

While sitting here at home working (to the extent that they're feeding me any work to do), I used the other laptop to download the NZ Maori-Ireland match that I attended last weekend with dave_gallaher. (I can't access MediaZone through the company network -- it's blocked -- and while I'm using my personal laptop, it's logged into the company network via VPN.) I'm now watching the match from a different perspective.

Of course, since I know exactly where I was sitting, I also had an eye out to see if I could spot myself in the stands. Right after the first Maori try, at 10:44 in the match and 21:26 into the MediaZone downloaded file, they briefly pan the stands, and I saw me and Dave in the middle of the shot. My head is turned away from the camera, and Dave is blocked by the person in front of him, but I'm pretty sure it's us.

Update, 22:15: Initially I wrote here that I couldn't grab a frame to show here, but one of the comments below, I was able to make the necesssary change to be able to do so.

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