1:23 am in Berlin — Here’s the quick World Cup report with apologies to the conventions of structure and story telling as I have a 10 am flight out of here and need to sleep.
- The World Cup is indeed the greatest sporting spectacle on earth. 1 billion people watched it on television. 69,000 were fortunate enough to see it in the Olympic stadium. I come from a sports-obsessed town (Boston) and nothing came close to this spectacle.
- I was one of those 69,000 and can only say one thing tops it for me and that was winning the club championships of the Cotuit Mosquito Yacht Club at the age of 15. But I digress….
- France should have won. The came out in the second-half in control and played masterfully after a back-and-forth game in the first 45 minutes. Zidane knocked in a penalty shot, but Matarazzi answered and the score stayed tied for regulation time before going into an extra half-hour.
- Zidane seemed to get an undeserved red card and got bounced out of the game at minute 110. The crowd turned solidly against the Italians after that injustice and the place was one big booing whistle every time the Italians took possession. I recall that wars have been started over soccer matches, and for the finale, the “beautiful game” turned ugly.
- When I saw the highlight film and discovered what it was that Zidane did to get the heave-ho, I agreed with the ref wholeheartedly. What a sad way to end an career.
- The best part was watching the sea of French fans on one end of the stadium and the Italians on the other. They were astonishing. Songs. National anthems. They put the fan into fanatic.
- I love sports without instant replay.
- Jerry Yang is a face painter.
- Soccer will never take off in the U.S. until the U.S. develops its first superstar. The game is way too slow for the average fan accustomed to the scoring frenzies of the NBA or the brute horsepower of the NFL. See the recent piece in the New Yorker for a better explanation of why the U.S. is an island in a global sea of Fussball. Plus, we wouldn’t put on Placido Domingo for our half-time show.
- It was weird being in that stadium. I looked down at the track and thought of Jesse Owens.
- Why did I keep thinking about how Hunter S. Thompson would have covered this?
- Penalty kick endings are amazing. The entire crowd was holding its breath. I can only imagine the scenes in the bars and tavernas of France and Italy tonight. People must be rioting in the streets of Rome.
That’s it for now. Thanks to Yahoo! for the amazing opportunity to attend. Photo stream is here.