Just some thoughts on the running thread in my life at the moment, VM...Verdens Mesterskab, better known in English speaking places as the World Cup.
Part of the cover story in today's Metro Xpress (one of two free morning papers) on Portugal's victory yesterday over Angola (inexpertly translated by me): Portugal have been named among the favorites to win the Cup. Yesterday the Southern Europeans also won their first match in the tournament 1-0 over Angola, but without maintaining a same high level of play throughout the 90 minutes. Pauleta scored the only goal of the match with assistance from the 33-year old Figo, who at times played as if he was young again.
My first question, and I don't ask this sarcastically, I really want to know, is: when is a player seen as so old that, when he plays well, it's like returning to youth? Figo has been past that point for a while, as far as I can tell. After all, isn't Pauleta also 33? Yet I never hear him being referred to in those ageist terms. Is it just that Figo has been in the public eye for longer and so seems somehow older?
My second question, and I'm not being sarcastic here, either, much: why is a lackluster, but winning, first game in the qualifying rounds so bad? Would it be better if Portugal had ripped Angola to shreds, but were as a result much more tired, so that they ended up losing a later game because of that? Would the fans be happier? I have the same question about the England-Paraguay game. Isn't it better to save the sexy action football for the knockout rounds where it counts?
And, in the interests of journalistic fairness, the other free morning paper, Urban, today had an interesting look at why women like football, from a columnist named Marie Østerbye (translation also mine, also inexpert): What is there not to like? Truly well-conditioned men, drama, sweat, exciting tricks with a ball, and not least, mean who show FEELINGS.... Here are men who writhe in pain. Who celebrate their happiness or scream with rage. And who will sometimes even CRY. Yes, there you have it. A rationalization for diving. Is it to get your opponent a yellow card? No, it's to pull chicks.