Monday, July 14, 2014 at 6:13 AM

Germany Defeats Argentina 1-0 for World Cup Championship

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Germany v Argentina: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final

I should begin by reiterating that:

I had no emotional or financial interest in the outcome of this game. Nigeria was my pick to win it all. But after it was kicked out in the second round, I shifted my allegiance to Argentina.

(“Brazil Surrenders World Cup to Germany 1-7,” The iPINIONS Journal, July 9, 2014)

What can I say; except that Argentina’s loss makes me a two-time loser.

That said, I probably cannot exaggerate the national humiliation Brazil suffered (and will suffer for years to come) with its 1-7 loss to Germany in its semifinal match on Tuesday, which was only compounded with its 0-3 loss to the Netherlands in what was billed as its “must-win” match for the consolation bronze medal yesterday.

By the same token, though, I cannot exaggerate the national character Brazil demonstrated by resisting the temptation to use these devastating losses as an excuse to return to the anti-World Cup protests that preceded match play. I may not have picked the winner, but I was among few commentators worldwide who predicted (as I did in my June 12 commentary below) that, despite all lingering concerns and complaints, Brazil would host a terrific and festive tournament. By all accounts, it has – as the heretofore-improbable trending meme about Brazil hosting “the best World Cup ever” clearly attests.

article-2690667-1F9E21A200000578-266_964x640Still, with all due respect to rabid fans of this “beautiful game”, almost every match after the first round was a certifiable snooze fest. And even though they were clearly happy to win their berth into the final, even the Germans must have felt a little embarrassed or let down by the way their hosts essentially surrendered just minutes into their semifinal match.

Alas, this final match offered little more, especially given that the most thrilling moments of the match had both sides repeatedly demonstrating how tantalizingly close they could come to scoring. I’m sorry, but nobody will ever convince me that there’s anything exciting about watching guys dribble the ball up and down the pitch for 90 minutes without scoring. Can you imagine the spectacle of a Super Bowl ending in a 0-0 tie after regulation time…?

Granted, I suppose there’s something to be said for Germany scoring a truly spectacular goal towards the end of the 30-minutes of extra time. After all, this spared us the contrived pathos inherent in deciding yet another match by penalty kicks.

Incidentally, I readily concede that the real joy of this game might be the experience of watching it either in stadiums or local bars with rabid fans – you know, exorcising that innate, gladiatorial lust, which, try as one might, one cannot experience watching matches at home.

But don’t get me started on watching the purported Michael Jordan of this sport, Argentina’s Lionel Messi, look like just another journeyman player throughout this match:

Lionel Messi had one last chance to save the day.

After Argentina conceded the only goal of the match, Messi stood before a free kick 30 meters out, while the world watched.

His attempt sailed several meters high, and ended Argentina’s hopes at a World Cup.

(USA Today Sports, July 13, 2014)

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 4.04.10 PMHow ironic, then, that he should be awarded the Golden Ball trophy for being the best player of the whole tournament (i.e., given that he did so little to distinguish himself in, or to help his team win, this most important match).

Indeed, that look of utter disappointment and bewilderment on Messi’s face when he accepted his trophy probably had as much to do with his team losing to Germany as with his winning this award.

Meanwhile:

If Argentina loses to the Netherlands in their semifinal match today, however, I fear having two European teams in the final will only add regional insult to the national humiliation Brazil is suffering.

(“Brazil Surrenders World Cup to Germany 1-7,” The iPINIONS Journal, July 9, 2014)

article-2690667-1F9DAA2C00000578-972_964x655Except that such is the nature of their regional rivalry that BBC reporter Ben Brown betrayed no contradiction when he reported – as part of today’s pre-match hype – that it would be “a nightmare for Brazil if Argentina were to win on its soil.”

But surely the greater nightmare for Latin America is having a European country win on its soil, no? Color me parochial, but I have to think that, deep down inside, Brazil would’ve preferred seeing their Latino brothers as champions, instead of having the Germans march in from Europe and return home with the coveted World Cup.

In any event, like most Americans, I can easily wait another four years (i.e., until World Cup 2018) to watch my next soccer match. This, notwithstanding the quadrennial farce of commentators talking about World Cup excitement helping to make soccer as popular in the United States as Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Hockey.

Congratulations … Germany. (Mufado for Argentina … and Brazil.)

Related commentaries:
Brazil surrenders

* This commentary was originally published yesterday, Sunday, at 6:30 pm

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