Well the tournament is over and Spain wins! What an incredible journey it was, and I am quite satisfied with the outcome. I picked Spain to win it all in my bracket that I filled out in May. The third place match was brilliant and the final was intense. My enjoyment in watching the tournament was as high as I could have hoped from the beginning. During the final matches I thought the style of play from all the teams was very entertaining and fast paced. It was nice to see that teams didn't sit back and defend as did previous winners Italy. The final four teams, especially, all played beautiful football with differing tactics. I loved seeing so many different and effective ways of playing the game tactically, in contrast to watching most club football where a similar style prevails within each league. Not sure if any of my followers actually think about this stuff, but it's what's on my mind right now so that's what you get! I LOVE talking about the tactics involved, but I'll spare you all.
Only slightly dampening the greatness of the tournament, there were some things that repeatedly happened during the games that continue to piss me off. It's the stupid things players do that non-soccer players are quickest to criticize (and rightly so). I am so tired of seeing complaining, faking injuries, and especially diving! None of this needs to be part of the game. The worst is when any one of these things results in something positive for their team, for example being awarded a pk for a dive. Two changes need to happen for Brazil in my opinion. The first is goal line technology; Frank Lampard's goal is evidence of that. The second change would be some sort of punishment for diving or faking injuries (like grabbing your face when someone elbows you in the chest) that is applied after the game is reviewed by FIFA. I don't know if there is a better way than a fine for the players, a suspension might be too harsh. I don't know, hopefully people agree with this.
Anyway I'm thinking about all the wrong things now, ranting instead of rejoicing! It was a super experience and the tournament was amazing. South Africa was an incredible host and really proved to the world that they can put on such an epic event. The 64 games occurred without even a stumble in the event's organization. The soccer part of my trip is all over. Only 10 days now to do everything else before I'm back in the air heading to Portland. On the "to do" list still is Cape Point, kayaking, Table Mountain, shopping, Safari, and shark cage diving (if I'm brave enough). Hope we can fit it all in, at least I'll be tired for the plane.