So here’s a thing about soccer. I just finished watching the Switzerland-Ecuador match, right? Something happened in that game that apparently almost never happens in soccer: the game was won, excitingly, in the final few seconds, with Switzerland scoring the winning goal with maybe ten seconds of extra time or extended time or furthermore time or whatever the hell they call it left.
Now, the way the World Cup works (warning: I’m gonna get details wrong; it’s inevitable) is that your team gets points based on how you do in each of the group matches, and then the teams with the most points in each group move on to what I think is a standard elimination-style tournament. Or something. Point is, you get points for how you perform in a game– you win, you get three, you tie, you each get a point, and if you lose you get no points.
With about three minutes left in the game, the announcers gave up. And they clearly expected both of the teams to just stop playing, because there were three minutes left and, hell, you can’t score in three minutes in soccer. It was being treated as a foregone conclusion that the game was just going to be a tie and that not only was there nothing that either team could do about it, it was portrayed as genuinely surprising that either team even would want to. They’ve got their point for their tie; what’s the point of trying to win?
Then Ecuador got off a decent shot at goal that didn’t end up scoring, to which the announcers reacted with clear surprise. And then Switzerland actually scored, winning the game, and it was almost like they’d done something impertinent by daring to actually play to win when there was just a little bit of time left and clearly the game was supposed to end in a tie.
Can you imagine this happening in football or basketball? Three minutes is an eternity in a close basketball game; there could be half-a-dozen lead changes left in a close game in that amount of time, and while I’ve certainly seen any number of football teams take a knee in the last few seconds to end the game, the idea that you’d give up with more than a few seconds left is ridiculous. If there were two or three points separating the teams, okay. Soccer’s low-scoring; you’re not going to overcome a three point deficit in three minutes without some miraculous play. But a tie game?
Get it together, soccer. This is the fuckin’ World Cup; play like you wanna be there. And the announcers shouldn’t be playing into this nonsense.
I’m watching France play Honduras right now; I’m going to have to miss a chunk of this game as I have a pie to make before we go over to my sister-in-law’s for Father’s Day celebrations. Yes, I’m making pie.
Which means I’m baking.
It will go poorly. Be excited!