I’m not prone to commenting on soccer, but for some weird reason I found myself watching the Women’s World Cup final yesterday, and I’m glad I tuned in at the beginning. The U.S. team came out and played a game that was both methodical and maniacal at the same time–a tough bit of work, but somehow they managed it.
Even someone “soccer unaware” could tell that the Americans’ aggressiveness caught the Japanese team by surprise, and the strategy of playing the free kicks low and running interference so the trailing attacker could finish off the play–that showed an intelligent analysis that found some gaping holes in Japan’s defense. Carli Lloyd’s mid-field kick for the fourth goal just added a touch of luck to an otherwise dominating performance.
And great thanks to the gals on both sides for not flopping to the ground and miming some great tragedy just to get a call. All in all, I guess this goes to show that when the game is played at its highest level of both stakes and skill, soccer isn’t the dreadful show it usually is.
So there it is: all it takes to make soccer worth watching is the highest possible stakes, athletes actually behaving like athletes, great execution, and personal national bias on the part of the viewer. Should see all those stars align, oh, I guess in about four years sounds right.