Nobody could possibly watch all the games, even people between jobs like me. This was pointed out by my 8-year-old who wanted the TV, so I told her the story of how she was born the day before the 2006 World Cup started, which is why I ended up watching lots of it even though it was coming in from Europe at weird times: Paternity leave plus a newborn’s sleep/wake schedule. But she persisted in her (losing) argument for a switchover to Bugs Bunny.

Colombia 3 Greece 0 · Really, the least engaging game of the tournament so far. Colombia had some flashes of speed and precision, but from Greece more or less nothing; you can’t attack at a walking pace. And who was supposed to be covering Teo on that first goal? Group C is looking awfully soft, to me; but Greece ain’t getting out of it.

Uruguay 1 Costa Rica 3 · I didn’t see it, life having intervened. But on general root-for-the-underdog and Costa-Rica-is-nice grounds, you gotta smile. Well, except for Uruguay is nice too. The Costa Ricans are never gonna get out of Group D, so I’m happy they got a day to smile.

England 1 Italy 2 · I was out of the house at a family event, but my active attention wasn’t fully required after the part where I performed on Djembé behind a German children’s chorus (it’s a long story); so I watched this on my Nexus 7 using the CBC World Cup App; what a nice surprise! Good picture on 4G and only the very occasional glitch.

It was a fair result. Yeah, the Brits attacked more and had some missed opportunities, but the Italians didn’t miss on their opportunities. A lot of England shots went wide; target practice is indicated. So far, the only teams that have made me say to myself “They could go all the way” are Holland and Italy; but the bookies still like Brazil.

The game was played in Manaus which by the way I’ve actually been to, where by “been to” I mean “my flight from Toronto to São Paulo in 2011 made a medical-emergency landing at, and they kept us on the plane”. So here’s a picture of the jungle by the runway and part of the town from the air.

View from an airplane on the runway in Manaus
· · ·
View of part of Manaus from the air

When they opened the airplane door, a warm wet wave of jungle air rolled in and I wanted to get out.

Côte d'Ivoire 2 Japan 1 · I enjoyed this one probably more than any other game so far, it just felt lightweight and fun. And I have to say that goal by Honda was as slick a shot as anyone in the tournament has taken so far.

But Côte d'Ivoire deserved the win, even though the second goal was maybe a little soft. Having said that, if FIFA found a way to penalize them for their shameless late-game attempt to run down the clock, I’d applaud.

Anyone can see that Aurier’s crosses are pure poison, but what nobody seemed to notice is that for more or less the entire second half, the Africans pulled together a tight-laced defense that gave Japan pretty well zero meaningful opportunities. That, and the fact that Didier Drogba has been my personal favorite football player for quite a while, has almost but not quite got me thinking that this might be the year for an African World Cup breakthrough.


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June 14, 2014
· Sports (5 fragments)
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