18 November 2009

Settling In For Some Football

AND THIS TIME I don't mean American football. I've just poured a cup of coffee and am about to watch the biggest soccer game France has played since the 2006 World Cup Final. If France can beat or draw Ireland tonight, they will qualify for the 2010 World Cup. If Ireland can win, they will claim the spot and France will miss the tournament. While France is not the dominate team they were a few years ago, they are still clear favorites against Ireland -- especially after winning the first leg of the match 1-0 last Saturday evening in Dublin. Tonight's game is being played in Paris.

This is about as good as it gets for me -- qualifiying matches for the World Cup. I'd rather be watching baseball, American football, or hockey, but I'll take this -- mainly because games like the one tonight have something that American sports rarely get: important games that pit country against country. For France this is a moment of national unity; for Ireland it's probably something even great than that, if that's possible.

America doesn't get this very often. Rare is the moment when the United States can rally around a national team in a sport they really care about. There are no moments like this in Football, baseball, or basketball. It just doesn't happen, and that's too bad. Sure, American's will root their hearts out for the US soccer team during big matches, but can you imagine if there was a meaningful tournament like that in a sport we really cared about.

Anthem just played. Allez les Bleus!

Oh, and if you haven't been following the Egypt-Algeria rivalry, you can catch-up here. Algeria finally claimed the spot for the World Cup, but this might be an example of when country vs. country sports get carried away. I was happy for Algeria and glad they won, partly because of the violence against them when they played last weekend in Cairo.

France and Ireland draw 1-1 giving France the win 2-1 on aggregate. But the game-tying goal by France (in overtime) comes on a terrible, terrible non-call by the officials. Theirry Henry clearly plays the ball with his left hand in the box and sets up the goal -- everyone seemed to see it except the officials.


J. et K. said...

Allez les Bleus!

Akinoluna - a female Marine said...

World Cups games are about the only sports matches I like watching.