FanDuel - WFBC

May 22, 2010

Champions League has been decided: (Spoiler-free fpp) The Bernabeau was a great host to a well-played match and Howard Webb did the UK proud, not handing the game to one side with crap refereeing. Given the quantity and performances from players on both sides, Argentina and the Netherlands have to move up in World Cup forecasting.

posted by billsaysthis to soccer at 06:06 PM - 14 comments

Okay, now that we're inside...

Milito, Messi, Higuain, Tevez, what an attack force! If Argentina only had a top quality keeper and maybe better fullbacks even Maradona would have a tough time preventing them from lifting a trophy.

Robben, Sneijder, Kuyt, van Persie, van Bommel, van der Saar for the Dutch!

This is why I love the World Cup, a month of intense play by most of the world's top players and always a few who shoulder their way into the spotlight.

Did they mention during the pre-game, match commentary, halftime and post-game that Mourinho is probably staying in Madrid to sign for Real? Mentioning just in case they forgot...

posted by billsaysthis at 06:10 PM on May 22

However, Cambiasso and Zanetti didn't make the Argentina squad. There's some of that missing defence right there.

posted by owlhouse at 06:13 PM on May 22

On that second goal, Milito juked the defender out of his socks. It was like something from a cartoon (or an extended Nike commercial).

The pregame announcers on Fox said there was a debate whether the World Cup or Champions League final is bigger. They voted, naturally, for the event they were about to broadcast and Eric Wynalda called it the sport's "Super Bowl."

I'm thinking not so much.

posted by rcade at 09:10 PM on May 22

Milito, Messi, Higuain, Tevez, what an attack force!

And Sergio Aguero as well, although he did not have the goal-scoring record of his countrymen this season.

The pregame announcers on Fox said there was a debate whether the World Cup or Champions League final is bigger. They voted, naturally, for the event they were about to broadcast and Eric Wynalda called it the sport's "Super Bowl."

I would have to disagree with the assertion that Champions League final is bigger from the standpoint of viewership (provable -- it is not) or from the perspective of the players (not necessarily provable, but I suspect if you polled a bunch of players, they would identify winning the World Cup as the pinnacle of achievement). What is interesting is whether fans have a greater affinity for club or country. If you gave the average English Liverpool supporter a choice that either England could win the World Cup this year or Liverpool could win the league next year for the first time since 1990, what would he/she choose?

During the Olympics, my brother-in-law and I were out at a bar here in Chicago during the Olympics (the day before the gold medal game) and bumped into a couple of grizzled old fellas wearing Blackhawks jerseys. We struck up conversation about the Olympics and after talking a little bit about the US team's chance to repeat its performance in the group stage, I said to them that from the standpoint of 'Hawks fans (having previously acknowledged that I supported a different team), either way, one of their top players was going to win a gold medal. And one of the guys basically said, "I don't really give a shit about the Olympics, so long as the 'Hawks win the Cup this year." I am sure some of this is due to the fact that Americans potentially have a different view of club v. country than those in other countries and because Olympic hockey has not historically been a huge deal for Americans, but I wonder if this same viewpoint would be shared by your average Canadian hockey fan.

posted by holden at 09:48 PM on May 22

holden (my first car was a Holden):

The North American mindset is different from the rest of the world. In sport loyalty to club trumps pride in national teams, hence the lack of interest in global sports. Or the other way around? Attribute it to lack of global awareness, however there is a change underway.

posted by trueblueroo at 10:08 PM on May 22

Highlight of Milito goal.

posted by DudeDykstra at 11:12 PM on May 22

By the way -- How fantastic is that Nike ad?

posted by holden at 11:38 PM on May 22

Very.

posted by rcade at 07:17 AM on May 23

Late to the party, as always.

posted by holden at 07:53 AM on May 23

Kun Aguero: I'm sure he's the real deal, but the few games of his I've been able to see haven't given me the perception that he's worth the huge fees I see bandied about for his transfer. Who do you not play for ARG to get Aguero minutes?

Club v. Country: This is a hard comparison for me as club competition is longer, in a sense, game or two per week for 9-10 months of the year, while national teams play here or there in qualifiers and friendlies but the intense bits, the World Cup and continental championships, are three/four weeks every other summer or so.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:49 PM on May 23

Kun Aguero: I'm sure he's the real deal, but the few games of his I've been able to see haven't given me the perception that he's worth the huge fees I see bandied about for his transfer. Who do you not play for ARG to get Aguero minutes?

Re Aguero, I don't think he gets on the pitch except as an injury replacement or if Argentina are really forced to go for goals late in a match they are trailing. Still, pretty impressive when he is your team's fifth choice attacking player. The wild card here, of course, is Maradona, who has not always been the most rational in team selection or tactics. Add in the fact that Aguero is his son-in-law and... who knows what Diego will do.

(Agreed on the reported requested transfer fees being out of whack; I don't think the performance justifies it.)

posted by holden at 02:24 PM on May 23

The pregame announcers on Fox said there was a debate whether the World Cup or Champions League final is bigger.

Fox/FSC sour grapes there. It's probably the biggest game of the world season in a non-World Cup year -- the biggest game of the English season was the cracker earlier that day -- but it's a distributed global interest even then, and right now people's minds are already wandering towards Soccer City and the delicious novelty of Serbia vs. Ghana.

It perhaps didn't help that the pairing always had the whiff of that kind of game with that kind of result, and Bayern's failure to convert their possession in the second half pointed towards an almost-inevitable game-killer on the counter from Inter. Sweet, sweet goal, though.

(The commentary feed was courtesy of Sky, and it's the last Martin Tyler / Andy Gray pairing till the new English season. Tyler will be in the ESPN booth in South Africa, while Gray has the unenviable task of serving up the crumbs from the confines of the FSC studio.)

If you want predictions: after a captivating start, the Dutch will break the hearts of their nation and the total-football nostalgists. Again. That's a safe bet. Argentina-- who knows? No reason why they can't win it, even factoring in Maradona on the touchline.

posted by etagloh at 01:19 AM on May 24

Can I ask if there are any commentary teams that do not feature a dour Scotsman as the color commentator? Gray was true to form on Saturday, going so far to disagree with the figure Martin Tyler quoted for Madrid's altitude.

In a display of stunning AI work, FIFA World Cup 2010 has Gray down perfectly: when I potted my 5th of 6 first half goals yesterday, he declared that I was good, but not yet deadly. And when I hit the post on a chance for my 9th of the game, he said the great ones don't miss those.

posted by yerfatma at 10:01 AM on May 24

Regarding which is bigger, the Superbowl or the Champions League final:

I'd read some time ago that both get around 100m viewers. This was for a Wednesday night Champions League final. I don't know what the figures were for this year, but I would imagine that being on a Saturday night would have helped greatly. The Superbowl is a bigger event relative to the rest of the American football season than the Champions League final is to the rest of the soccer season, but globally, soccer is so much more popular that it all balances out.

The match went pretty much as expected. Bayern had the lions' share of possession but didn't create too many chances. Inter defended well, broke quickly and scored a couple of sucker punches. Say what you like about Mourinho, he knows how to organise a defence (see also the 10-man stand v. Barcelona.) Inter are not the most attractive team in the world, but they beat Chelsea (double winers in England), Barcelona (Spanish champions) and Bayern (double winners in Germany) en route, so they have to be respected.

posted by salmacis at 10:29 AM on May 24

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