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Saturday, July 08, 2006

World class World Cup writing

I think one of the reasons why Americans don't get soccer is the lack of really great sportswriters paying attention to the game. There's no Ring Lardner or even Red Smith of American soccer.

Here's an excerpt from the best British column on the World Cup that i've come across;

It's hard to argue with the Peruvian legend Teofilio Cubillas when he summarises France's victory over Spain with the words "The score says all you need to know about this match" and indeed my only displeasure with the Technical Study Group is that they have stolen the acronym of my own unofficial World Cup working party: The Trivia Study Group.

While Fifa's TSG investigates playing methods my own TSG brings matters of altogether lesser footballing import to the world such as the fact that Sepp Blatter's wife is a professional dolphin trainer. (A woman in a halter-neck who throws raw fish at you - what more could a man want?).

For many Germany 2006 has been the best World Cup since 1982. For the TSG, however, it has been about as entertaining and innovative as that moment on Five Live when they read out the text messages: "And Big Tezza on the M62 says: 'England! England!' and we've got 'England! England!' also in from Wezza on the A4, while Pezza in Willesden says: 'England! England!' Keep them coming in!"

Where, for example, have been the irritating pre-planned goal celebrations of yesteryear? Last time around we were treated to the sight of dozens of goal scorers removing their tops to reveal a T-shirt bearing a picture of a newborn child (quite often one the player believed to be his own). This time it has just not happened. Not once. Have footballers stopped procreating? And if so where will the Frank Lampard juniors of future generations come from?


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