Santa Cruz Journal: June 26, 2014

 

World Cup Soccer Fever Hits the Kralovecs

We can’t get enough of World Cup! It has really reignited my love of soccer. I always was attracted to the passion and pageantry surrounding the sport. This started back when I was in high school and longing to see the wider world. I remember watching the 1982 World Cup on tape delay on PBS, the only US network covering the cup. How things have changed 32 years later! In recent years I have been a bit down on soccer because of the lack of scoring, the dull passes back and forth, and most especially, the flopping or falling of the players attempting to get penalties.

But this World Cup has had goals galore and aggressive, attack-minded style of play. There still has been some of the usual suspects (Uruguay/Italia/Spain) of “weasel flopping” which is defined as a player falling purposely to deceive the referee in order to get a either a penalty kick or free kick. I regard this as worse than biting, and I don’t understand why FIFA doesn’t come down harder on floppers. I also think fans should voice their displeasure more on players that practice this. The games and characters have been so exciting, from the Netherlands destroying Spain, to Luiz Suarez’s biting attack, to the Team USA win against Ghana and near win against Portugal. I hope the knockout rounds are as entertaining as the group stage has been.

Soccer is king in Bolivia as it is in much of Latin America. They do not much have much success however in World Cups. I am not sure why because they have a population of 10.5 million which is decent size, but they just can’t seem to produce great players or teams. Neighboring Chile, 17.5 million, does much better on the world stage. In the photo above, Luiz, one of the neighbor kids joined us for a game.

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