Four years ago today I linked to an article about nationalism and soccer, saying that I wasn't too caught up in World Cup fever in 2002. What a difference four years make, as I've seen at least a half-dozen full games and a few more second halfs of games, including Brazil's two goals in the second half of their match against Australia. (I watched it at Pogue Mahone Irish Pub in Toronto, while eating brunch. Australia deserved a draw, with several glorious chances.) In the streets of Toronto I've seen flag-waving for Trinidad & Toboago, South Korea, Italy, Brazil and surely others the flags of which I don't recognize. Little Italy, after their victory against Ghana, still had people in cars hootin' and hollerin' and waving flags on College St. in Toronto 4 hours after the game. Canada, not having its soccer team in the World Cup, doesn't have a home team, so each nationality cheers for "their home team", where I've been cheering the athleticism and excitement that comes with each goal.
"Game theory, applied to the problem of penalties, says that if the striker and the keeper are behaving optimally, neither will have a predictable strategy."
"The paradox is that the things that make FIFA seem like an ideal organization--its egalitarian voting structure and its insulation from outside forces--are the very things that have made it a graft-ridden autocracy."
"Obviously, if you are only going to watch a single match, wait for the final." That's the plan.