For anyone that missed the Argentina-Holland game, I suffered so that you do not have to. Before the game, I predicted that it would end in penalty shots and, sadly, I was correct (Too bad my lottery predictions are not as prescient!). This might have been the most-boring soccer game…ever. And, that’s saying a lot, because most soccer games are boring. Fortunately, I had a book to read. Rarely did I look up, because nothing happened. To give you an indication, Holland did not have a single shot on goal during the regulation 90 minutes of play. Statistics do not lie, even in sport. Zero shots on goal by a team that wants to be world champion. And, this is the team that beat the reigning world champion, Spain, 5-0 in the opening match. Argentina, another team that wants to be world champion, beat Holland in a penalty shoot-out, and must face Germany managed only three shots in 90 minutes of play. And, the supposed “best player in the world” is on the Argentina team. He didn’t look best last night.
It was obvious that both teams were so afraid of losing, neither was willing to take risks. And, risk taking makes for exciting games. Risk taking results in goals, albeit ofter for the other team. Even if the Dutch deserved to lose, Argentina did not deserve to win.
This was a miserable game, with two worthless teams, worthless players, worthless coaches, worthless strategies, worthless tactics, and no goals. Penalty shots do not count: they are merely to decided a default winner. Anyone can win a crap shoot.
My only hope is that Germany will not lower themselves to compete at the level of Argentina in the final. I will have a book handy, just in case…
The main headline of Gulf News, the English-language newspaper in Dubai that I find outside my hotel room door each morning, blared today the following.
UAE ranks 14th, ahead of US on human rights
This is the conclusion of a Norway-based human rights organization (the country that produced one of the Nairobi mall killers). The US landed at 20th, behind Germany and France. Norway won the prize, followed by Sweden and Australia. I not know what happened to Holland, Denmark, Finland, or Switzerland, to name a few nations that I find rather civil.
Anyway, the folks in Dubai are proud of themselves. That does not mean that any prejudices will be removed....
It seems that two of the most civilized and civil nations on this planet do not.
I read today that the Canadian government has collapsed...again.
It seems that they have had four elections in the past seven years and can't seem to find a leader capable of forming a majority. Still, life goes on.
The same thing seems to happen with similar regularity in Holland. I read often about collapse, paralysis, and weak coalitions...and even no government. Still, the Dutch get on with daily life in an orderly manner, as if government is meaningless.
Citizens of these two bastions of niceness seem to have not discovered demonstrating, rioting, or bombing...or can't be bothered. No one wants to upset the status quo.
Why can't it be like that everywhere?
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.