la copa

The World Cup is finally under way, starting with a fitting win by the host country (somehow the host team has never lost their opening game in FIFA history). Germany’s making a strong showing, keeping strong control over the ball (over most of these first 15 minutes), but Costa Rica’s managed to show off one of their best scorers expertly handling a potential offside draw. Caught the German arcero with his napis round his ankles.
I’ve already heard the final score, already have a bit of an idea how it will play, but if I’m going to properly trash talk my Costa Rican buddies, I need to see it for myself. Besides, the joy of football’s in the play, not the stats.

Originally uploaded by rogefer.

This will sound like a lie, but I’m noticing something cool that I didn’t really expect in the close ups. You can see the stereotypes of people’s cultures in their strategies and movement. The German players move like they’re tightly wound, almost stiff, but everyone in place (though a little weak on the defense and the offside this game). They flood your defenders with midfielders, giving themselves a wide range of options and backups.The Costa Ricans are liquid, furious on the footwork, and tend to get their best opportunities with breakaways. Once they find a weakness in the German wall, they make the most of it.
I’ll have to keep an eye on how these preconceived notions and play strategies fit as the cup continues. I’m out of practice watching a proper football game, so I may be misreading strategies, and if everyone’s really doing that, wouldn’t playing against type be the best way to upset another team’s game?

Quick fun fact for the win: one of the Costaricenses is a PE teacher back home. Win or lose, how cool would that be to watch your gym teacher play in the World Cup?!


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