I apolgize to everyone for dropping off the face of the earth. I went on vacation to Portugal, again foolishly thinkiing that I would have at least limited internet access. I was so wrong.
Needless to say, the only thing I feel competent to comment on at this point is world cup soccer.
Both of the teams that I support were eliminated in the first round and in the same group. At least the US team got a tie with Italy who just knocked out Australia today with a penalty kick literaly in the last second of the game.
After all the rolling around the Italians did against the Czechs (don't get me wrong, the Czechs played horribly and deserved to lose), I wanted to see them go down. Obviously, I did not get my wish, but Italy looks weak going into the next round.
Ukraine has pesently defeated the Swiss in a shoot-out after extra-time yeilded a 0-0 tie. The star for Ukraine, Sevchenko (pronounced, "Shev-chen-ko") ominously missed the first shot, but his teamates more than made up for it as the next three converted assuring the win before the Swiss were even allowed their final kick.
Ukraine will now go on to play Italy in the quarter-finals. The Ukraine is the first team I have rooted for that has one anyting, the US, the Czech Republic, Paraguay, Equador, Austrailia, Mexico.... all eliminated. The Ukraine has restored my faith in the underdog, and I will root for them and Ghana for at least a couple more days.
And since I was in Portugal, I will root for them too, despite their appaling performance against Holland. Having said that, Holland deserves everything they get in world cup soccer, or any other national tournament. What we saw in this game was a classic battle between two teams who still consider themselves contenders, although neither really are. They both have historical claims on dominance that ring hollow today. As a result, you get the bloodbath of desperation that we saw last night. What was lost in all the carding and sending off was an shooting clinic by both teams but especially the Dutch. Perhaps only the Australians who lost in the last minute, or actually the last second, have a more heartbreaking story. The Dutch had so many missed opportunities. They will be left with "What if?"
It is much better to watch World Cup Soccer on Czech TV than on Portuguese Television. The Portuguese show only Portuguese and Brazilian games on regular TV. You have to pay 22 Euros per month to see the rest. In the Czech Republic, all the games are on CT2, the second state run channel. Right now they are playing a jazz concert after the game, with no commercials. At halftime, there is very good commentary and about 3 commercials. One time, during a World Cup match at halftime, they played a short. concise documentary on Egyptian Hieroglyphics. I'm not making this up.
I think of this when I get letters pleading with me to help save PBS.
I'll be plugging in and plugging away soon.