Friday, May 28, 2010

It's getting hot in here

World Cup fever is burning up, jack. Two weeks from today we'll be bathing in every last ounce of news, highlights, injury reports, tactical analysis, angry shouting, cautious whispers and joyous exuberance.

And Fox Soccer Channel is applying a substantial amount of heat. Good. For. Them.

I'm watching a program right now called "International Rivalries." The focus? Holland and Germany. I've said at least 17 times in this space that my knowledge of the game's history is incomplete. That's what happens when you grow up in a country where it doesn't matter. Love it? You bet. Stalk it? Would be writing this right now if I wasn't, dogg. Wanna suckle every minute you get with the game? Without a doubt. Study all of the nooks and crannies of its immense history? Haven't gotten there yet.

Enter Fox Soccer Channel.

I'm watching Leo Beenhakker, Cruyff, Voeller, Beckenbauer, Gullit, Moeller, Rep, Rijkaard. They're speaking with passion, confidence, disdain, regret and pride. You know what I'm coming away with from all this? It matters. This puppy matters a whole helluva lot. It makes generations, defines cultures and drives people mad (just watch that Greatest Goal Never Scored clip down below that Jim popped up the other day).

And I am getting fi.rr.d. up. about it, friend-o.

Highlights from the 1950s. The 1974 final. A 10-year anniversary match after Holland lost to Germany 2-1 in that final. Think about that? The two teams, fierce rivals came together 10-years later to replay the match. It ended as it should have the first time ... by all accounts. Holland were 1-nil winners with a Johan Cruyff goal.

Did you know that Holland scored in the first minute of the World Cup final with Germany not even touching the ball? I didn't. Until now.

Don't get me wrong, we all know the World Cup is huge but you'd be fooling yourself if you pretended it was as important to you 15 months ago as it is right now.

I mean, man, at this point, the intense significance is starting to be driven home. Push away all of the commercialism that drives the World Cup before the event starts up. Push away the star-making, the gloss, the celebrity managers, the wags. Push it all away and watch this video. In 1974, Holland opened the World Cup final ... like this. As they were unfurling their banner of Total Football, on the world's greatest stage, in front of their greatest rival and with a generation of footballers reared by parents who remembered the war and Germany's role in enslaving their country and killing 200,000 people (as said in the FSC program), they opened the match ... like this.

1 comment:

Kuba said...

I don't want to sound bitter here...but it should have been Poland vs. Holland in that final. The West Germans made sure the semi-final against the Poles was played on a water-logged pitch to stop the Polish teams menacing pace. How convenient for the Germans.

Gotta agree though that the FSC programming lately has been wonderful. Between International Rivalries and The Greatest episodes, I'm extremely prepared for the tournament.