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July 01, 2018


My interest in what USians insist to call soccer is close to nonexistent.
Still I have a lot of Schadenfreude for Germany losing in the preliminary round. AT LAST!
What's less pretty are the attempts by German RW 'populists' to blame it all on players of non-German origin on the team and to foment hatred against ethnic minorities in general based on that.

Since this is an open thread, here's something completely apolitical: My German translation of 'Atlanta Nights'* is finished as of yesterday (at least in handwritten form). Now I could use some helpers for the Latin translation. Anyone interested?

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_Nights

What, giving up on Icelandic? ;^)

Wow, Hartmut. I hadn't realized that someone had taken Bulwer-Lytton to a whole new level.


Slide thru to #2 cartoon

libjap, that's far beyond my proficiency level (and my dictionary).
Latin on the other hand is in some ways easier than German because English -ing forms directly translate into Latin participia coniuncta while German usually requires turning them into subjunctive clauses (more cumbersome and also removing the ambiguity, e.g. whether the sense is causal, temporal etc.).
Atlanta Nights has lots of sentences that cry out for a transformation into a Ciceronian period.
Plus purple English uses far more words directly taken from Latin than common prose. Of course the effect gets spoiled a bit because in Latin those are the normal words without purple tinge.

I play a game with my son during penalty shoot-outs in which I try to predict whether a player will score or miss based on how he looks as he prepares to take the penalty. I think I do a lot better than blind chance.

Just now my son had a go at it and correctly predicted that a player would miss. That's my boy.

FIFA has resisted technology because the Laws of the Game are supposed to apply at all levels and in all locations. Theoretically there should be no difference in how a match proceeds whether it is a UEFA Champions League final being played in a multi-million dolar stadium or an amateur club in The Gambia playing on a patch of dirt. You aren't going to attract many votes for VAR from the CAF delegation, frex, unless you are planning to offer them something in return that will help build the sport in Africa.

And I don't think Japan would (or should) have changed their approach. Certainly Senegal did not blame them for using the rules in their favor. If the result is unsatisfying, then the rules need to change, not the way that the teams use the rules to their advantage.

And I'd rather have Japan's approach to winning than any of the deliberate handling or professional fouling that teams resort to when the standard moves away from fair play to some other measure.

Germany was ripe for a big disappointment. They brought a slow, satisfied midfield to a tournament that was full of pacy, hungry opponents. I think that Özil and Khedira should shoulder a lot of blame, just not for any of the anti-immigrant crap that some of the fans want to give them (even if Özil brought a lot of it on himself what with his meeting with Erdogan).

The other reason to resist technology is that the game doesn't naturally have the sort of breaks you get in sports popular in the USA. VAR is good for helping the ref reach the right decision, but you'd rather not keep having breaks in play to look at the video.

I am sad that Iceland went out in the Group Stage, though not surprised. What a great story and a tremendous accomplishment to make it to the WC in the first place.

We were staying in a hotel across the street from the stadium in Reykjavik the night that Iceland beat Ukraine in qualifying and watched the match live on TV (along with pretty much all of the country). The windows were open so we got five seconds of advanced notice for every high and low of the match based on the noise of the crowd. The hotel was full of grumpy, hung over Ukrainians the next morning at breakfast.


Great observations Nous. Hadn't thought of the 'game the same for everyone' point, but that means that they are giving up on that?

About Japan, I'm torn, though I agree it was getter than handling or fouling. Hidetoshi Nakata, who was one of the National team for the Germany World Cup, was asked why he didn't flop and do the histronics and he replied 'would you really want me to be that kind of player?' Of course, he retired immediately after the World Cup at the age of 30 because he said he no longer enjoyed playing.

But separate from that, the fact that there is really no point during the game, except at the halftime, that allows for the team to have a moment together or to reset, seems interesting. I guess rugby is similar in that aspect, and that stands in opposition to American pro sports.

While it would be great to just talk about sports, the real world always has a way of intruding, so I was sorry to hear about the backlash that Hartmut mentions. Özil's initial elevation to the national team always seemed like a bright spot, but I guess I underestimated the power of cognitive dissonance. It's great when the team is winning, but if they are losing, it has to be the dirty foreigners' fault.

The big European clubs wanted VAR and they have enough monetary leverage to push it through. There have been enough threats from them and UEFA to break with FIFA. Might as well adopt it and get something for it in return rather than losing the biggest cash crop straight off the top.

Best joke of the WC so far ?
'Don't cry 4-3 Argentina' was a decent effort...

I thought 'don't mention the VAR' after Germany got their butts kicked by South Korea was good, but I can't figure out who said it first.

Probably the UK press - still a bit obsessed by WW2.
We really ought to get over it, which is why I prefer the Argentina one.

I’ve posted this before but this is with slight modification now:

Proper team rooting order:

1. Ur home country
2. Any team from Africa
3. Any team remaining that has never won the Cup
4. Brazil
Eleventybillion: Germany

With apologies to Hartmut

Think Japan made up for their sitting back in the last match of the groups with that hard-fought game against Belgium. And Belgium showed that they have a lot of resilience.

1 USA didn't make the WC and didn't deserve to. I have relatives in Sweden, so they are the next closest thing.
2 I was rooting for Senegal until they went out.
3 Belgium would be a worthy first-timer.
4 I'll take Germany over Brazil any time based on style of play.

Well, my sleep rhythms are screwed. What a game. I can't imagine the inverse happening (Japan down by 2 coming back to take 3) so I guess that is the difference between good and really good.

Nous, your list is great, with the exception of #2 for me.

Ugh, no need for an apology. My own interest in the sport is minimal and I hate, how it reignites the old flag-waving habits (I mean the literal ones) that seemed safely dead after WW2. Since reunification it has become acceptable again at least in the context of this sport (far less or not at all for the Olympics btw).

Ugh, missed off your list: those teams whose fans tidy up the stadium after the game.
Hence my great disappointment at the Japan result.

And even the dressing room (courtesy of, horror, the Daily Mail...):

One of the interesting things about the world cup is that no country outside of Europe or South America has ever won it. In fact no countries outside of those two continents has ever made the final.

And so it will be again this year, assuming Russia counts as European.

And as for semifinalists - only 3 countries outside those regions have ever even made the semifinals, again depending on how you count Russia/Soviet Union.

Well, I am 50% of the way towards having my dream bracket for the semifinals. Would love to see Janne's boys knock off another big name, but this is the first WC in a long time where I don't mind England doing well. Credit to Southgate for that.

Now if I could just swing it so that both Russia and Croatia are abducted by aliens and Japan called on to fill the void...

France v. Belgium should be a really interesting match.

Anything but France in the Final.

D'you know, I couldn't care less about football, but I'm finding the national celebrations rather moving, and in particular the whole "It's coming home!" thing being done with such wit and joy. It's actually (I can't believe I'm saying this) fun...

I'm glad Croatia won, despite the subtle poisonings.

France > England/Belgium > Croatia on the strength of the remaining sides. France is ridiculously talented and has no weak positions. They should win, but this is soccer, so they could just as easily lose. Belgium is not as ridiculously talented across the board as France, but their attacking players are every bit as dangerous and capable of creating magic, especially on the counter.I favor Belgium because they have not yet won it all, but I would not be too upset if France won.

I've spent many years cheering English arrogance getting another poke in the nose at the World Cup. This year I am over it. England is playing as a team and seems finally to have gotten past their weird pastiche of entitlement and impending doom.

Croatia? Meh. They are lucky to have made it this far. Decent players who have benefitted from Argentina's struggles and who, themselves, struggled against a profoundly mediocre Russian side. They have benefitted from having the least challenging path to the semis. They are capable of beating England, but I'd be more than a bit surprised if they did, coming off of a match that went to PKs and all the attendant fatigue and injury worries. I think the match is more England's to lose than it is Croatia's to win.

England vs. France? I'd root for a good match. Belgium vs England I'd root for Belgium. And I'd take either Belgium or France over Croatia in the final.

Rooting for England to win the world cup all the way from Omaha, hoping the England team's Transmission (Midfield) work hard

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