The Beautiful Game

I am writing this on Sunday morning, about an hour before the World Cup Final is due to start. I shall see history made; no European team has ever won a tournament held outside Europe, but this year Spain play the Netherlands.

The first time I saw a World Cup in the US was some of the 1998 finals. At that time many of the games were only available on Spanish language channels. By 2006, all games were carried live on English language channels: ABC and ESPN. The commentary was almost a foreign language, as the American commentators used phrases that were wrong to my English ears. They talked of ties and not draws, used zero rather than nil, and referred to jerseys and uniforms when they meant shirts and kits. This year however the commentators used have been English and the summarizers have, with one exception, been British. The one American summarizer was John Harkes, who played in England. Therefore, this year watching and listening to the games has been a much more acceptable experience. In fact, since ABC managed to show the first England goal, it was probably a better one than was provided by ITV in the UK.

The studio guests, whilst including only one Brit, have also been overwhelmingly familiar. Jurgen Klinsman and Ruud Guilit played in English football. Roberto Martinez is currently managing a side in the English Premier League, or EPL, as it is called by American commentators.

Timezones have provided a challenge, with games at 4:30am, 7am, and 11:30am. I have recorded games to watch when I get back from work, necessitating avoiding the score. I generally managed to do this, apart from Brazil’s shock defeat. The score for that game had been written by the CIO’s PA on her whiteboard. Not only was it a shock, it ruined the chance of a party today, as I had an invite to a Brazilian World Cup Final party; issued in the confidence that Brazil would be playing today.

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Published in: on 11 July, 2010 at 9:40  Leave a Comment  

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