Spain Wins The World Cup In Spite Of Debilitating Nike Ad

Truth be told, before yesterday the first part of the title was as absurd as “The Red Sox win the World Series” would have been 10 years ago or even “Longhorns top the Sooners” during the early naughts.

Spain’s National Team, La Furia Roja, had a knack for falling flat on their collective face World Cup after World Cup. This all changed yesterday to be sure, after La Furia Roja defeated the Netherlands, who have now lost 3 World Cup Finals (’74, ’78, 10), 1-0.

I believe however that the breakthrough which culminated yesterday began in Euro 2008, which the Spanish won by besting Germany by the same score they beat the Dutch yesterday. That tournament set them on a course of excellence, winning 35 matches in a row until they shockingly lost to the U.S. at the 2009 Confederations Cup held in South Africa.

They then proceeded to breeze through World Cup qualifiers, becoming a favorite to take home the hardware in South Africa entering as the #2 squad in the world according to FIFA. In their first World Cup match, La Furia Roja fell to the Swiss, prompting echoes of “Different World Cup, same old Spain”.

Spaniards readied themselves for another World Cup collapse by their beloved team, blame was sent down bizarre avenues.

Yet, here we are July 12, 2010 and the FIFA World Cup trophy will call Spain home for at least the next 4 years.

A more remarkable feat may be that Spain won despite three of their players’ involvement in Nike Soccer’s “Write the Future” ad (watch it here).

An ad made before the start of the World Cup featuring England’s Wayne Rooney, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Italya’s Fabio Cannavaro, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, France’s Franck Ribéry, Brazil’s Robinho and Ronaldinho. To say that the campaign was a poor prognosticator of World Cup success is a vast understatement, a rundown:

Read more of this post

Advertisements

A Hapsburg, LeBron and Martha Stewart Walk Into A Bar…

Carles Puyol (right) who looks like he just stepped out of a Hapsburg family portrait, heads Spain into the World Cup Final. As a descendant of the Hapsburg’s, Puyol will be looking for some payback by cracking some skulls against the Netherlands on Sunday

My guess is that since LeBron James missed not having a signing day presser coming out of high school, he’s making up for lost time with “The Decision”. Great column on the LeBron “saga” that  mercifully ends tonight.

When the folks at NASA aren’t trying to reach out to the Muslim world, they’re conducting valuable research.

Forget Wife Swap, how ’bout an old-fashioned spy swap? Makes me want to re-read The Cardinal of the Kremlin.

So now these “elites” will become embittered and “cling to martini glasses or environmentalism or antipathy towards people who don’t think like them or anti-American sentiment or anti-capitalism sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Right POTUS?

Unbelievable pictures of Monterrey in the aftermath of Hurricane Alex.

Holy poncho Batman! Martha Stewart had lengua, easily the most underrated “cut” of beef.

Caught this on PBS last night, I might or might not have almost shed a tear because of Jackie’s courage in the face of such bitter hatred.

[Photo Credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images Europe]

Maybe Team USA Thought They Were Playing México

It is quite possible that the only people who thought that the U.S. Men’s National Team had a shot against Spain, FIFA’s #1-ranked team, were the 11 guys on the pitch and their half-Vulcan coach (only thing missing are the ears, must be an autosomal recessive allele).

The best some fans of the red, white and blue were hoping for was at least a good showing (i.e. an 0-2 loss).

Prose and verse could be committed to endless reams of paper in praise of the American back line, the main reason Team USA pulled off the upset. Most notable among them was central defender, Oguchi Onyewu.

Univision’s Pablo Ramírez glossed him “Oguchi the Omnipresent” in reference to Onyewu blocking and winning balls all over the pitch. “Oguchi, siempre, Oguchi…”, another Ramírez instant classic.

I watched the match twice (part of it during my lunch hour, and the whole thing in the evening when Telefutura replayed it) and one thing became evident to me.

Team USA’s performance looked eerily familiar, why? Because their effort yesterday mirrored what they put on display when they play my beloved Tri. Opportunistic scoring and impregnable defense are the hallmarks of the Americans’ game against their bitter rivals to the South.

The only difference, of course, is that yesterday, the Spanish players didn’t employ any of the classless tactics sometimes employed by my countrymen (below).

rafa marquez

Congrats to Bob Bradley and the rest of Team USA.

John Tesh trumps Team USA’s Gold

So check it out, I was one of those crazy people who stayed up until 4 AM to watch Team USA outlast a persistent Spanish team in the Men’s Basketball Gold Medal Game (see “Redeem Team’ slides past Spain, carries out mission of Olympic gold“)

I told the wife that I’d go to bed if by halftime, it was apparent that the Spanish didn’t put up a fight. Well they did. Boy, 17-year-old Ricky Rubio (Spain’s point guard, pictured right) is going to be a big star in the NBA one day. Don’t let the fact that he looks straight out of Fern Gully throw you off.

I was also surprised (like analyst Doug Collins) by Spanish guard Juan Carlos Navarro’s ability to score at will against a robust American defense.

How good is Dwayne Wade? Much better than his Converse kicks, which let him down a few times as he drove to the hole.

Team USA was impressive in its victory but still let Spain get back in it by allowing way too many open shots.

Even more impressive than watching my adopted nation regain its rightful spot at the Olympic games, was listening once more to John Tesh’s epic, “NBA on NBC” score:

The tune holds fond memories for me since the Rockets won 2 titles when NBC had the broadcast rights to the NBA.

Only thing missing from this morning’s game though, was hearing Marv Albert and Matt Goukas…

Spain’s Basketball Team Drops the Ball

The Spanish Olympic Basketball Team is in a bit of hot water after a certain picture started making the rounds. A picture (below) in which the entire team is seen “making slit-eyed gestures”.

The quote (and picture) came from the following story,
Olympics: Spain’s eye-catching faux pas

Obviously the Spanish players saw nothing wrong or insensitive about making said gestures. Perhaps their attitude is an innocent one. At least that’s what it was when we used to do the same thing as kids in México. Not justifying it, just saying that when there isn’t exposure to other cultures this kind of thing is endemic (see Memín Pinguín), but can hardly be called malicious.  If such behavior persists after exposure, then that is a different story.

It is somewhat similar to Asians derisively calling Caucasians “round-eyes”. Which is interesting in light of what this post (#41 Eye Enlargement) alleges:

Fact: Asian women think that their eyes are ugly. They will go to many lengths to change the appearance of their eyes, from high-maintenance temporary alterations to more expensive and permanent options. So much so, that every Asian person has at least one sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, or friend who has tried to change their eyes.

Spain beats Germany on Chef Fernando Torres’ Roast Lahm

For the first time in 44 years, La Furia Roja lay their hands on a major trophy by besting the mighty Germans 1-0 in the Euro2008 final. The lone score came on a Fernando Torres strike in which he torched German defender Philip Lahm (right)

Here’s another shot, ball goes in the goal…
Reuters

This was the first Euro final I’ve watched since the 1984 contest between France and Spain. Since I had not caught any of the previous Euro2008 matches (no cable), I was pretty pumped to sit down in front of the telly to watch this one.

Some observations after the jump… Read more of this post

Hugo Chavez is an Indian

King Juan Carlos of Spain had the chutzpah to do what many have wanted to do, tell Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to “shut up”. I believe the King’s exact words were “¿Por qué no te callas?” [Why don’t you shut up?]

Look, I’m not advocating for this kind of outburst even if someone has it coming like Chavez certainly has for a long time, Hollywood celebrities and American ex-Presidents groveling at his feet notwithstanding.

Nor am I here to criticize Chavez’ policies or rants against the current American administration. Far be it for me to do this seeming how it is a cardinal sin for a Mexican to criticize the leader of another Latin American country. After all we are led to believe that Señor Castro is a saint and Cuba’s woes are the fault of the Norteamericanos.

Forget the fact that the only thing that unites Mexicans and Venezuelans is Spanish heritage, for the native populations of both countries are different. Which brings me to the main thrust of this post.

Naturally, Mr. Chavez was not thrilled with the King’s request and thus has demanded an apology from the monarch,

“Chavez demands apology from Spain’s king”

Now a quote from Chavez was of utmost interest to me,

Chavez claims he neither saw nor heard the king, as he (Chavez) was addressing Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at the Ibero-American summit.

“If I had heard him … I would have stared him down like an Indian, because I am an Indian and a little bit black and white,” he said.

Stared him down like an Indian? Someone should inform El Presidente how effective the Indians were in defeating the Spanish Conquista of the Americas.

The fact that Chavez said this in Spanish gives testimony to how effective the Indians were.