Tag: World Cup

FIFA Under Fire

About damned time:

Hours after Swiss authorities arrived unannounced at a Zurich hotel and arrested top FIFA officials early Wednesday morning, the Justice Department and prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York forcefully declared that their investigation had only just begun and pledged to rid the international soccer organization of systemic corruption.

“These individuals and organizations engaged in bribery to decide who would televise games, where the games would be held, and who would run the organization overseeing organized soccer worldwide,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, who supervised the investigation from its earliest stages, when she was the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “They did this over and over, year after year, tournament after tournament.”

Soccer officials treated FIFA business decisions as chits to be traded for personal wealth, United States officials said. Whether through convoluted financial deals or old-fashioned briefcases full of cash, people were expected to pay for access to FIFA’s river of money and publicity. The federal indictment lists 47 counts, including bribery, fraud and money laundering.

FIFA is one of the most corrupt organizations in the world. It’s not just the bribery, which has amounted to tens of millions of dollars. It’s the way they persuaded Brazil to burn billions of dollars building stadiums that are now useless (FIFA made an estimated $4 billion off the 2014 World Cup. Brazil invested over $15 billion in hosting it). It’s the way they look the other way as Qatar builds a World Cup on bribery, slavery and thousands of dead workers. If you missed it, here is John Oliver on the subject:

I’m going to make a confession: I really like international soccer. Last year’s World Cup was thrilling for the United States and I’m looking forward to 2018. But the organization that controls this sport is horrifying. They make American sports leagues — who extract billions in free stadiums from bankrupt cities based on economic nonsense — look like angels.

This is just beginning. This organization is thoroughly corrupt. I’m glad to see some justice may finally be done to them.

And Then There Were Four

Since the US is out I don’t know if any more WC posts will garner much interest, but I’ll throw it out there just in case.

Germany/Brazil in about 2 hours. While I always root for the host country, I can’t see Brazil going forward, not without their two best players (one out on yellow cards and the other with a fractured spine). While watching the Brazil/Columbia match that first half had more muggings than the Chicago South Side on a Saturday night. I was amazed that the ref. let them grab/push/kick/trip, the only thing missing was brass knuckles. It took 70 plus minutes in to see the first yellow card, and I am firmly convinced that if the ref kept a better hold on that match, Neymar would not have gotten that knee in the back.

Despite the 0-0 score at the end of regulation, that Dutch/Costa Rica match was chock full of highlights. That CR goalie looked like Tim Howard, so many shots narrowly blocked or off the cross bar, and 2 great penalty kick saves for the Dutch, very exciting. I know there is much grousing over the format, but PK’s are the only way to go, there has to be some finality and playing until someone scores is just stupid. That is my big gripe about the slams in tennis, the US Open is the only one run intelligently, allowing a tie break in the fifth set.

My favorite going into the semi’s is The Dutch, you goota love a team that goes all orange, but really, any one of these four would be fine, all are top notch teams and deserving.

I will watch the remaining 3 matches (having watched more WC matches this year then ever before) I get the appeal, the best athletes in the world playing on a world stage and for their country, the drama is baked in to the cake.

How’d He Do That?

Hand/eye coordination, yeah, it’s a rather big deal if you are an athlete, and if you actually get paid for manipulating a round ball, then you must really be good at it.

This video is making the rounds on the internet:

Nice catch , right? And talk about macho, no ,”Dang, that really hurt”, or even a wince. Wait, you mean that wasn’t real? a Gillette commercial? filthy capitalism. OK, there were some obvious  tells, like no batting cage, why wasn’t the reporter ducking for cover, and what a stupid place to hold an interview.

But it got me thinking about the incredible sports accomplishments that happen everyday, stuff that is real, and stuff that because of modern technology and the world we live in, we get to witness. Today’s athlete is really a marvel of modern science. Just in the last 50 years he has evolved into the unimaginable. And removing steroids from the mix (we’ll save that for another thread) things like diet, sports medicine, even training regiments have changed dramatically. The Olympics motto ,”higher, faster, stronger” is alive and well.

Some examples:

I happen to think that tennis players are pound for pound the best conditioned athletes in the world, who saw this shot last week?

Last year’s World Cup in South Africa provided some jaw dropping shots, let’s stroll down memory lane:

In the 2:00 minute mark, Maicon (2) from Brazil, that shot was what I considered the best goal in the tournament.

And the greatest athlete of that World Cup? Diego Forlan, you gotta problem with that?

Although there are some absolutely superb athletes in the NBA, I’m not including any of their trick shots here because, let’s face it, given enough chances, anyone here can make pretty much any of those trick shots ourselves.

Of course homage must be paid to the best commercials of all time, the McDonald’s Michael Jordan/Larry Bird “Over the freeway, off the billboard, through the window, off the side of the wall, nothing but net”, exquisite.