Monday, 10 July 2006

regularly scheduled programming

I was feeling pretty tired Sunday evening, so it was with some reluctance that I strapped my camera to my belt and walked into town to observe the crowds watching the world cup soccer final. Maybe there were good reasons - I was pretty tired, and have become increasingly critical of soccer as a sporting spectacle recently - but I just didn't feel there was any real buzz amongst the masses. There were plenty of people gathered, probably more than the QF against Brazil, but it wasn't jumping like it was the previous week. It was probably more boring as a game, too, which might not have helped. In any case, at the end of regulation time, I was yawning so much (how does that happen?) that I jumped on a metro back to my place. On the walk from the metro I heard the cheers and groans inspired by the penalty shootout (if there is a more arbitrary way of deciding a sporting result, I haven't seen it), culminating in a loan drunken teen yelling in frustration when Barthez failed to stop the final Italian penalty. The streets were as empty as I've seen them during my time in Rennes, and the vibe of walking through deserted streets while one lone yobbo screamed from his balcony was somehow a cool vibe.


Lee said...

i'm watching the replay at the moment and I'm glad I didn't get up for it.

Jim said...

In 64 games, the world cup saw 147 goals at an average of 2.3 per game. The total's a little higher if we count the 21 "goals" that came in the 4 games decided by raffle (penalty shoot-out).

In 8 games, round 14 of the AFL season saw 221 goals at an average of 27.6 per game. No games were decided by raffle.

Jim said...

As an addendum, penalty shootouts are also possible in rugby. For example, had Wilkinson missed his drop goal in the RWC final against Australia, and had England and Australia then both gone totally scoreless during an additional 20 minutes of sudden-death extra-extra time, then there would have been a dropkick-off to decide the match. This is, suffice to say, unlikely, given the relative ease with which a team can score (try/penalty/dropkick) in rugby.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that the quality of one soccer goal can be infinitely greater than some of those dribbles through the majors in AFL. I got up at 4 am and it was great to see those Italian goals. I think there is room for improvement in refereeing and they might consider moving to the third umpire for the play acting. It could make a good TV program of watching the acts, examining the injuries and testing recovery times.

Jim said...

Can be, yes. But an Akermanis snap from the pocket on the run is better than a dodgy penalty after a guy dives in the box, and a Michael Voss bomb from 60m with 2 minutes to play in a tight game is worth more than an own goal.

The quality of goals varies in the two games. Perhaps the average soccer goal is worth more than the average footy goal, but never 12 times more valuable.

The problem with soccer is that the play-acting, the low-scoring, the too high price put on defence - these problems are all very intricately intertwined. The problem is not that a guy rolls on the ground faking an injury, but that the state of the game would encourage him to choose to do that instead of playing the ball. Because scoring is low, a bad shot is worth nothing, but a free kick is worth much, much more. Compare this with rugby, where a player would never dive with a remote possibility of a try, because stopping play to take a penalty or something is not rewarding for his team.