But the upshot is, I'm glad Korea made it to the round of 16, so that I get to go watch Korea play in the knockout round, and yeah, I'll wear my red horns, and yeah, I'll be mixing it up with the masses in City Hall. It's an experience unlike anything you've ever had before. What would it take to get 600 000 or 1 000 000 Canadians gathered in one place? I can't think of anything, except a broom the size of Saskatchewan.
Because he helped me with the translation request from the last post, I'm totally pimping my buddy's blog: Korean Football. Go read about the world cup there!
BTW I'm still looking for a few people who can help with English to Korean translations.
A few other thoughts about soccer (as we North Ameracaners call it)
1. It will always be the world's most popular sport, because any poor kid can take four rocks (goal posts) and something resembling a ball, and play a game of it. The only other sports even CLOSE to requiring so little equipment are basketball and track and field.
2. It will NEVER be popular in North America, the way it is in the rest of the world, until players get penalized, I mean, really penalized, for falling at the slightest contact. I like the rule suggested by an (american) sports columnist: if play has to be stopped because a player goes down, he has to sit out for ten minutes, no questions asked. Substitution can be allowed, but he has to be off the field for ten minutes: if you're actually hurt, you need the ten minutes. If you're not, you get up and suck it up. As long as jokes like this (see video) are made about soccer, it won't gain traction in the continent of ice hockey, lacrosse, and 'Mercan Football.
3. It also will never be popular in North America because there are too many draws, and too many 1-0 games.
4. It doesn't need to be popular in North America.
5. In international competitions, I root against the USA, not because of the Canadian inferiority thing (that only kicks in when it's Canada vs. USA), but because if Brazil wins the world cup, it's a month-long party in Brazil. If France, England, Argentina, etc. win it, it'll make that country's sports half-decade. USA has SO many sports things going on, they don't NEED the world cup, too. If US wins the world cup, most Americans will go "Yeah! Awesome! Is Nascar on?" (or whatever their favorite sport is) and forget the world cup next time a baseball pitcher takes a perfect game into the 8th inning, or A-rod takes his shirt off in Central Park, or Terrell Owens comes out of the closet.
6. In the same way that bad horror movies are more watchable than bad movies of any other genre, blowouts are more watchable in soccer than any other sport I've seen. Spain dismantling Honduras, Portugal spanking North Korea, Germany handing Australia their jockstraps: a superb team in total control is actually fun to watch in Soccer (as long as they aren't slowing down the game). In Hockey, the closer the game is, the better it is, and the more evenly matched the teams are, the more fun it is to watch, and blowouts are boring. Most other sports, too. In soccer, some of the evenly matched games were actually more boring, because each team just moved up and down the middle, and then took turns failing to penetrate the other side's defense.
Plus, the fact that a two goal game can count as a blowout, means that every once in a while, a team might dominate the ball, but concede a fluke goal or two that ends in a wacky result. Mistakes are REALLY costly in soccer - it's the anti-tennis (tennis, where you can make dozens of unforced errors and still win). That it all comes down to one game, and goals are so hard to come by, means that anything can happen. (Go New Zealand!)
7. It's amazing how, even with a dozen players on the pitch per side, the stars somehow manage to assert themselves. Somehow BECAUSE there are so many players on the field, they find ways to shine, which seems counterintuitive - you'd think they'd get lost in the crowd.
8. FC Barcelona have the best jerseys of any sports team I've ever seen. Messi's fun to watch, but those jerseys are exactly my colors. I want one. I'll wear it to the new Manchester United bar in Jongno.
If you see me at the next game in City Hall, say hi.