This blog is about my experience with the World Cup, and today, that means not much discussion of the matches. It was the longest day of the tournament, four matches over 11 hours beginning at 3:00 AM my time. I had every intention of catching them all, even if I watched some of the action on delay via the DVR. But I woke up a little past 3:00 and thought to myself, I'm about to turn 65, I may be too old for this. I started listening to France-Australia on the radio ... I had read the matches were available here in the States ... turned out it was just a simulcast of the Fox Soccer TV version. I fell into and out of sleep, got up a little before Argentina-Iceland, watched the highlights of France-Australia, and watched the second match in its entirety. I then went back to sleep, woke up a few minutes into Peru-Denmark, watched that, went to breakfast with my wife, and came home about ten minutes into Croatia-Nigeria. So I watched a lot of soccer today, but it wasn't comprehensive. So any comments here are tentative and uninformed.
Paul Pogba's goal was well-taken. Peru-Denmark was made better by all the loud Peru fans in the crowd, while Kaspar Schmeichel did his dad proud. Argentina-Iceland was disappointing for those of us rooting for Argentina, and Messi deserves better than to remember this solely for the missed penalty ... he was Argentina's best player on the pitch, otherwise. Once again, I turn to Jonathan Wilson: "Lionel Messi, Argentina Left Frustrated After Being Denied in Iceland Draw". Iceland is a nice story, and the draw against Argentina tells us their strategy is working, but for the first time in this tournament, I found myself complaining about extreme, 9-or-10-behind-the-ball defense. Finally, there's Croatia-Nigeria, which had two goals, one an own-goal and one a penalty. Given that I was barely moving at that point, I needed something more exciting.
I'm going to attribute most of that to my tiredness. After three days, this has been a good World Cup, and tomorrow we get two CONCACAF teams, Germany, and Brazil.
The highlight of the day came in the Croatia-Nigeria match. Viviana Vila was the color commentator on Telemundo, the first time a woman analyst called a World Cup game in the U.S. She did fine ... no surprise, she's been at this for almost 15 years ... I don't always trust my evaluation of Spanish-language color commentators, since my command of the language is a bit more shaky when the talk moves away from simple play-by-play. But she knew her stuff, worked well with her partner, Copán Álvarez. (I understand USWNT great Aly Wagner is performing a similar role for Fox.)
I've posted some calls by Andres Cantor, so it's only fair to toss in one from Sammy Sadovnik, another favorite of mine. I imagine this one was bittersweet for Sammy, who is from Peru.