None of the matches today are particularly interesting, although I am curious to see if the Swiss can pull themselves together after the shellacking they received at the hands of France. As good as the Dutch have looked, no team has impressed me as much as Les Bleus. I’d be very surprised if Ecuador can stay within two goals of them… which, given the accuracy of my expectations this tournament, probably indicates a 0-0 draw.
Although I was skeptical of Spain’s chances of repeating and I did not, like many before the tournament, count out the Dutch. But let’s face it, absolutely no one in the entire world expected Spain to go out in the group stage or Costa Rica to win its group. But apparently someone did genuinely expect Luis Suarez to bite someone; I heard that a man won a 175-1 bet courtesy of his toothy attack on Chiellini.
One thing that has always confused me about those who don’t follow the Beautiful Game is the way they ludicrously insist it is a non-contact sport for wusses. There have been a few less games than one sees in three weeks of the NFL season, and yet there have been more horrific injuries in this “non-contact” World Cup than in the opening three weeks of last year’s NFL. Between the fractured eye sockets, broken legs, and KOs, it’s simply ludicrous to claim that the player are not physically tough when they are taking that kind of abuse while running up to 15k per game.
Even on the amateur level, the season can be a bit of a death march. I’ve mentioned before the season when my old team went from 33 to 10 healthy players over the course of the season. My current team lost its second captain in successive years to a blown-out knee, and as for the rest of the club, the first team lost a midfielder to a broken leg, a midfielder on Ender’s team broke his collarbone and the starting goalie broke his arm. I did full-contact martial arts for six years, and while we got considerably more banged up and bruised on a regular basis, the serious injury rate was fairly similar.
In six years of martial arts, I was KO’d once and broke a few bones, but I was never temporarily blinded or had my kneecap ripped open, both of which happened during the same season a few years ago.