Re: Great-grandfathers

1

All of my great-grandfathers (and I believe great-grandmothers, though there's a possibility that I'm wrong there) were born in the US, and I am avidly watching the World Cup. (Not sure if the fact that I immigrated affects this, but I watched it in 2010, too!)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 12:40 PM
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Yeah but you left the country. So you don't really count.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 12:41 PM
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I would be a counterexample but I grew up riding light rail.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 12:45 PM
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I am not watching the World Cup, and I have at least four of eight great-grandparents born outside the country. (The other four, I've lost track. Probably mostly from Queens, but I can never remember what generation the failed pork-pie magnate was in. He was English, and then intermittently Canadian.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 12:49 PM
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Technically I have no idea about 2/8ths of my greatgrandparents.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 12:51 PM
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I am not sure about my paternal grandmother's family, but the other 3 families have all been in the US for centuries, and during that time have done nothing of notice. I sort of love it - historically anonymous!

(Though my mother did just inform me that apparently my great uncle invented an important part of the air traffic control system, which I had no idea about. Go, Uncle George!)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 12:55 PM
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4, 5: whoah there, she said grandfathers, you crazy feminists.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 12:57 PM
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Pretty sure 3 of my great-grandfathers were born in the US, and the fourth was either born in the US or born in India to American parents. (The family Wikipedia entry doesn't have much detail on him.)


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:01 PM
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9

Wait what's the verdict on whether it's sexist to make mean plastic surgery references?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:14 PM
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p.s. soccer was all the rage in the shtetls of Bessarabia, as you might imagine.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:17 PM
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"If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me, unless you cross my internal PC threshhold in which case I'll backpedal and throw you under the bus." Go for it!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:17 PM
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My great-great-great-grandfathers were big into Mob Football, I'm sure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:30 PM
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Actually now I can't come up with anything except "girlfriend used up ALL the botox" so I guess just see exhibit A: picture in link.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:33 PM
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9: Would you say it if her politics were better?

And remember: immigrants make America great, unless they came in the last hundred years, in which case they're dirty and foreign.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:34 PM
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13: she's looking a little bit like a Michael Bay Decepticon these days.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:35 PM
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9: Would you say it if her politics were better?

So, like, if he was trying to be mean about her for some other reason?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:35 PM
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My poorly stated point was if, when removed from the context where the person is clearly a nasty bigot your statement is, in your own opinion, indefensibly sexist, I don't think it becomes legit when it's a nasty bigot. Or at least that's the test I would use.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:38 PM
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And a quick trip to Ancestry reveals that all of my great-grandfathers were born in this country, or at least in Maine. Good thing I didn't watch today's match.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:40 PM
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I'm torn on catty comments about plastic surgery. Catty comments about looks generally, I get humorless about unless I'm the one making them in a moment of having forgotten my politics. Plastic surgery, on the other hand, you did intentionally, so it seems like fair game. But I have very little confidence in my ability to tell plastic surgery gone wrong from someone who just looks unfortunate, so I mostly don't go there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:42 PM
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I go back to 1830 on one side, and William Penn on the other. But I don't watch soccer, unless it is in a Asian movie or tv series.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:44 PM
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20: Aha! bob is the real American! And the positive proof that Ann Coulter is right!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:47 PM
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19: I guess I'm not familiar enough with the process to say how much is your own fault (for choosing a bad procedure) and how much is your surgeon's. And in general given the expectation of beauty from women (and men in a small number of circumstances), it's not unreasonable to imagine someone feeling like they were forced into it. Thus, at least for me, if I get catty about it, someone should remind me I'm a patriarchal shithead.

20: "But I don't watch ___, unless it is in a Asian movie or tv series" is the most characteristically macmanian sentence.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:49 PM
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Would you say it if her politics were better?

No. I endorse 19 and will restrict myself to saying that she is a wiener.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:53 PM
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19: it seems fair to conclude first that there's a whole lot of intentionality in Coulter's self-presentation, and second that insofar as anybody takes her seriously tearing down the parts of that self-presentation that are supposed to read as put-together and elegant is a meaningful component of revealing the hateful, grifting clown-of-the-lizard-people reality that lurks just beneath the surface. But the jokes in her specific case are mostly pretty played out, and wielded inexpertly often skew transphobic, so eh.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:54 PM
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I am curious what happens to her career when right wing nutjobbers no longer want to bang her. Note here the inequity of George Will having galloped past this problem in the patriarchy's winged chariot.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 1:58 PM
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25: It's the bowties.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 2:02 PM
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I've got great-greats that came off a boat in 1620, and I don't care a bit for soccer. But I've also stopped worrying that soccer will become popular in the United States. Every time the World Cup comes around, people think "oh, now Americans will be start being interested in soccer," but it never lasts. There are good reasons for that - low scoring games with little time set aside for commercial breaks are not in our national character - but there is no need to be a chauvinist dick about it.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 2:04 PM
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It's the bowties.

Yeah, as long as he stick with the bowties, conservatives will want to bang George Will. Conservatives love bowties.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 2:07 PM
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27: Ann's theory is holding up remarkably well.

I did wonder if she wrote it before the Suarez biting incident. It seems like that might have made her like soccer better.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 2:08 PM
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26, 28: It's just that goys have to go the extra mile to be taken seriously as intellectuals. For Jews, all that is required is glasses.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 2:10 PM
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Also, while I don't care to watch soccer games, the drama surrounding it has occasionally piqued my interest. Like Ghanaians refusing to play without $3 million in cash. That shit's interesting, because you know they probably have good reasons for not believing the check is in the mail. Soccer seems to have a lot of corruption, and I like a good corruption story.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 2:14 PM
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George Will wrote a sensible column about solitary confinement once.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 2:23 PM
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shtetls of Bessarabia
My people! Or 25%, anyway.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 2:53 PM
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I've got three ancestors who were hanged at the Salem Witch Trials (John Proctor, Rebecca Nurse, and I forgot who the third was). Any time Ms. Coulter wants to match family trees, I say bring it. And while I wasn't watching today's games, being at work, I was pretty compulsively reloading the Google summary of the games. Though to be fair, I'm not absolutely sure where my father's mother's father was born - his parents immigrated from Germany, but I don't remember which side of the Atlantic he was born on.

(And by the way, for fans of The Crucible, the affair between John Proctor and Abigail Williams is totally an Arthur Miller invention for dramatic purposes. He was actually in his 60s, and she was 11 at the time, so highly unlikely.)


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 3:06 PM
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Perhaps the greatest thing about America is that someone who took the oath yesterday is every bit as American as someone who's ancestors fought the redcoats. There is a lot about the country I'm not proud of, but I'm proud of that.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 3:42 PM
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36

35: Absolutely.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 3:52 PM
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37

She-who-must-not-be-named is not like Lord Voldemort. The taboo against speaking The Dark Lord's name was a superstition in the wizarding world. People who understood power, like Dumbledore, had no problem speaking Voldemort's name.

She-who-must-not-be-named is different. She really does gain power every time her name is spoken. She gets more power when she is linked to. She can feel the power swelling in her gut and a dark aura appears around her.

Bottom line: Don't feed the media troll!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 4:35 PM
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Used to agree with 27 but these WC matches really are pretty awesome. But it seems like the main thing that will prevent US soccer interest is that our club level teams aren't that great and it's REALLY not in our national character to spend time rooting for different English or European clubs.*

*though I have a Facebook friend who seems to have somehow parlayed being an Everton superfan in the US (no idea why he chose to become an Everton superfan, no obvious connection whatsoever) into a full time job for Everton promoting them here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 4:37 PM
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Also agree totally with 35 and 37.


Posted by: RH | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 4:38 PM
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I've been trying to figure out what to do about 38.1. I am enjoying the hell out of this world cup, and would affirmatively watch other soccer, but when I've watched EPL games or whatever it's not just that I don't care, but I'm not sure who cares. I can happily watch WC matches where it's, like, Spain and Chile, or whatever, because I know that Spanish people and Chilean people care. That makes sense! But who roots for Everton vs. Aston Villa vs. Tottenham? Eh? I don't care?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 4:53 PM
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La Liga would be easier to understand (the teams are actually from different cities). Though probably the most natural club thing to get into would be the Champions League.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:08 PM
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Re: immigration, my family has been here forever, but I had a funny moment at dinner with my parents last weekend. We went for Italian, and my mother was remembering that she'd grown up with Italian neighbors and how delicious dinner at their house was. Because Alzheimer's, she repeated this several times, with increasingly large distortions, which culminated in her telling the Italian waiter that she'd "grown up in Italy." (!) He flinched a bit, perhaps wondering whether he, in forty years, would turn into an unaccented, round Midwesterner. So yes, new family history indicates I'm a first-gen American!


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:11 PM
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I've never entirely understood the complaint about low scoring. I think it's a peculiar American thing to want big numbers at the end of the game. I think the low scoring is actually a bonus: it means that practically every second of the game is, in most cases, absolutely essential. (America learned this lesson against Portugal: you have to be up by a lot of points to be safe, even in the last thirty seconds of the game.) I mean, if the MLS decided that instead of 1 point goals were worth 18 points (cough-american-football-cough-basketball-cough) the scores would be higher. So they could do that, but would that really make the game more interesting?

I'm also happy with soccer not really being a big thing here as well, though. America doesn't need another sport to be obnoxious about to the world. Big team sports are one of the only things that we've managed not to do that with (mostly by means of inventing our own so we don't have to work hard to dominate the world at them).


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:14 PM
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This is what I recommend to American fans: pick a really good team and root for them in the Champions League--the level of competition is very high, and there's enough national/regional diversity, both of teams and players, that you can develop a rooting interest. Nobody but a true soccer geek can give a shit about Fulham vs. Stoke City or Barcelona vs. Sevilla.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:18 PM
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Though probably the most natural club thing to get into would be the Champions League.

That's what I've been thinking. That league makes good sense to me. Is the CONCACAF Champions League meaningful at all, or is that really a UEFA story?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:19 PM
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it's a peculiar American thing to want big numbers at the end of the game

It's not the numbers as such that people mean when they complain about low scores. It's that even the most casual fan understands points scored, so a sport that delivers points regularly is more interesting to more people.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:25 PM
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44 might be fun, but no way it turns into a widespread US phenomenon.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:25 PM
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Yeah, agreed.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:38 PM
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I think the low scoring is actually a bonus: it means that practically every second of the game is, in most cases, absolutely essential.

I don't think that's good at all. With baseball and football, there is a build up you so can figure out when something important is likely to happen, and focus on the game so as not to miss it. And, conversely, you feel safe heading for the john when the #8 hitter is at bat with no one on base.

The problem with soccer is its just a constant cycle of build-up, then nothing happens, then another build-up, then nothing happens again. And occasionally a goal happens, but at that point I miss it I've tuned out after learning not to get excited about the build-ups.

What soccer needs is a field that is half the size and no off-sides rule.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:48 PM
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I think MLS seems to be doing okay, as far as that goes. Two teams (the Sounders and the Timber) seem to have legit fanbases, and god knows the arc of history is not on the side of the NFL. If MLS gets financially stable enough that it can recruit around CONCACAF it seems like the play quality could get pretty good pretty fast.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:53 PM
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I've never entirely understood the complaint about low scoring.

Me neither. It doesn't seem to be entirely different than the frequency of touchdowns in football. Sure, there are other ways to score, but touchdowns are the big crazy-making counterpart. On the whole, you have more touchdowns than soccer goals in a typical game, but a low-scoring game is not unheard of. (I mean, a 0-0 game is unheard of. It's not exactly the same. But it's not wildly different.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:54 PM
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Anyhow 49 is obviously silly, as so, so many people have said over so many years; there isn't a problem with soccer. It's the most popular sport in the world; it is doing a-okay. If we can't figure out why it's fun, our loss.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 5:57 PM
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I've never entirely understood the complaint about low scoring. I think it's a peculiar American thing to want big numbers at the end of the game.

In other words, it's only a matter of time before you lot see sense and start liking cricket again?

(Q: when was the first US president whose great-grandfather was born in the US? Not the sainted Reagan; his grandfather was born in Peckham. And everyone before, what, Teddy Roosevelt or something is ruled out because the US didn't exist when their great-grandfathers were born.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:07 PM
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Soccer in America seems to've gone from slow growth to rapid growth in the last couple of years. I don't really want the US to become a soccer power, but that wouldn't necessarily happen even if soccer became massively popular. Five of your players come from the tiny pool of european dual nationals.
I think there was 90 000 american-germans?

I do think it's nice that young americans don't have a problem rooting for foreign teams. The least parochial generation of americans in history?

The offside rule encourages attacking and goalscoring.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:18 PM
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I don't care about sports at all, but isn't the problem with the low score that it makes the game seem like a matter of luck? There's a substantial element of chance in any goal, and with so few of them in the game, there's not time for the luck to even out and be pretty sure the team that was playing better on that day won. See, e.g., US v Ghana.

Football's different because of the long slog down the field -- a touchdown is (usually) not a moment's excellent or lucky play, but the result of five or ten minutes progress.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:18 PM
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The only reasons british people fairly recently stopped calling football soccer is tiresome anti-americans.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:20 PM
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If MLS gets financially stable enough that it can recruit around CONCACAF

Er, that's what they do. Just can't afford the best talent in Mexico. That's pretty much the only hill left to strip bare.

And CONCACAF champions league sucks because there's no money in it--so MLS doesn't take it very seriously at all. And still, the best teams in Mexico are a bit better, and much deeper, than the best MLS teams.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:41 PM
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The offside rule encourages attacking and goalscoring.

Not so much, really. They've relaxed it significantly over the last 30 years (one rule change and two interpretation changes) though.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:42 PM
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And still, the best teams in Mexico are a bit better, and much deeper, than the best MLS teams.

Clearly we have more to steal with our deep pockets.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:44 PM
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Sure, so convince all your friends to watch MLS on TV and tell ppl they buy stuff from that they saw it on an MLS broadcast, etc.

Need that sweet, sweet TV money to get into MLS so they can increase their wages. Current team salary budget is like $3.6M (modulo some special above cap pay going on that adds like $1-3M per team on average). I expect that teams in Mexico spend more like 3-4X that amount on average. Biggest ones more.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:48 PM
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55 and 49 get it right.

It's not so much the low score that's the problem as that you either score or don't. In most sports when you have a run of outplaying the opponent it typically is reflected in the score. In football you'll at least get a field goal, in baseball you may strand some runners but at least you got a run out of it, and in basketball you go on a 12-4 run or whatever. In soccer more often than not a 15-minute run of outplaying your opponent gets you nothing.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:49 PM
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55 is definitely true and something that's broadly speaking turned me off soccer in the past (hockey has something like the same problem) but I've found it much more fun to think about when you think of teams swarming players to maximize their chances of a "lucky" goal.

Eg Germany's single goal today was arguably "lucky" in that a lot had to happen right to allow it to go off, any one part of which could easily have failed by chance in a way that's not quite true of football, basketball or baseball (where there are certainly lucky plays but any single lucky play is less likely to be outcome-deteminative). But that Germany scored, and that the score was 1-0, broadly speaking did seem to reflect the overall state of play, in the sense that any sport is largely about maximizing your odds for good outcomes, not guaranteeing them.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:52 PM
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60.1: our team is shitty. I'm hoping the Sounders and Timber get a rivalry going that includes sweet TV deals and good money.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:53 PM
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On the other hand, some people like sports to be more lucky. The NCAA tournament is huge in part because worse teams have a decent chance of beating better teams since it's only one game. In international soccer it's kind of nice that we have a shot against Germany. Whereas if it were a more reasonable game, they'd just clobber us.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:54 PM
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63: Not so shitty lately, just for a long while.
And a shitty owner.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:56 PM
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But that Germany scored, and that the score was 1-0, broadly speaking did seem to reflect the overall state of play, in the sense that any sport is largely about maximizing your odds for good outcomes, not guaranteeing them.

Yeah, I mean, Germany put themselves in position to potentially score again and again. Howard was amazing, but it was incresingly clear that a goal was likely to happen sooner or later. I won't say it was pleasant, as it was deeply stressful, but it was good sports watchin', and certainly not just luck.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:58 PM
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if it were a more reasonable game

Again, Sifu above points out: it is the most popular game in the world--it doesn't have to be more reasonable.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:59 PM
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65: yeah, shitty owner. He's so good at owning other things, too. Oh well.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:59 PM
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68: Yes, I know he's done well by the other, more profitable properties.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 6:59 PM
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I think part of it is that unless one knows soccer really well, it's hard to see what makes a team good because that isn't obviously reflected in the score. When I watched the World Cup with European friends in grad school, they seemed to get just as excited by smooth passing plays or opportunities as they did by the goals -- and it's not that I found the play boring as much as I didn't see any of the plays developing at first. (Hockey is similar, but hockey is faster and one can see more of the playing surface at once on TV, so you can see the plays develop.) It took a lot of viewing to be able to see what was going on.

Assuming I'm representative of the average American in that regard, the average casual viewer is going to see just a bunch of people kicking a ball around for a while, and then someone gets a penalty and that decides the game.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 7:05 PM
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(Q: when was the first US president whose great-grandfather was born in the US? Not the sainted Reagan; his grandfather was born in Peckham. And everyone before, what, Teddy Roosevelt or something is ruled out because the US didn't exist when their great-grandfathers were born.)

Since you asked: The first president whose paternal-line grandfather was born in the (post-colonial) United States was Warren Harding, whose great-grandfather George Tyron Harding was born in Pittston, Pennsylvania in 1790. Another g-grandfather was also born in the US: a third was born in 1776 but I didn't find a date, while the last was born much earlier than that (and is proof that he's the real king of England, or something; genealogy forums are weird).

I'm morbidly curious if any president has all of their great-grandparents born in the US.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 7:07 PM
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BARACK OBAMA


Posted by: OPINIONATED BIZARRO EARTH TEA PARTY | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 7:11 PM
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That's not really very morbid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 7:13 PM
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Enh, didn't take much more work: Calvin Coolidge is entirely from New England stock, but young enough for all eight of his great-grandparents to have been born after 1776. Truly he is the most American American.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 7:15 PM
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73: Genealogy is inherently morbid.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 7:17 PM
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"Five of your players come from the tiny pool of european dual nationals."

I'm wrong, it's seven!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 7:19 PM
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66: The luck isn't that Germany scored, it's that Germany didn't beat us by a lot more! We nearly tied that game in stoppage time, despite being thoroughly outplayed the entire game.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 7:22 PM
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Penalty kicks are another great example of the problem of low score. Essentially the referee has to decide whether to give the team a point or not. In a game where one goal typically decides that game that's just too much riding on one decision.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 7:25 PM
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I remember when they had the World Cup in the Rose Bowl, and the final game ended up being 0-0 so it was decided by a series of penalty kicks. That struck me as extremely silly.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 7:34 PM
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I also don't really get penalty kicks, especially without any instant replay. It does seem to magnify the effect of bad refereeing.

That the Faroe Islands have ever won competitive matches against real nation-states (2-0 against Estonia in Euro 2012 qualifying) should make one consider the nature of luck in the sport.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 7:50 PM
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Calvin Coolidge is entirely from New England stock, but young enough for all eight of his great-grandparents to have been born after 1776. Truly he is the most American American.

Of course. Just look at his birthday.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:01 PM
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The Faroe Islands are populated by 7 foot tall vikings. I'm surprised they don't win more games.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:02 PM
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It's a trade-off; they're slow, but they don't have to worry as much about bites to the shoulder.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:06 PM
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82: The problem is they usually play with ten men, since the other guy has to go be the Prime Minister and airport traffic controller now and then.

That they get to play in the same league as England, Spain, et al. is hilarious. If only their kit wasn't so hard to get, they're the ultimate underdog.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:23 PM
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84.1 is good.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:27 PM
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While trying to see if there were any other presidents with American great-grandparents (none with all eight before Eisenhower), I stumbled across this, which is too good not to share. I'm entranced by GHWBush's Nazi past; I can't even imagine what the article on Barry Soetoro, shape-shifter, will be like.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:32 PM
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OMG. 86 is solid gold.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:35 PM
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That's a new one to me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:36 PM
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infil-traitor!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:41 PM
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So apparently if you take a JPEG of Michelle Obama and enlarge and increase the contrast, the compression artifacts over her knees turn into alien creatures. I think I'm going to be reading this site all night. Educate yourself!


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:41 PM
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Where were Franklin Roosevelt's' great-grandparents from? Canada?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:46 PM
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"the illegitimate son of Emperor Franz Josef I"!

Let's all post which foreign monarchs we think are the true fathers of which US presidents. (Reference: John Buchan's slightly bizarre novel "The Path of the King" in which Abe Lincoln is unknowingly the descendant of a hidden line of kings going back to the Vikings, symbolised by a golden circlet which he accidentally drops in a river while fishing).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:49 PM
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91: I was using the post-colonial restriction above; he was born when his father was in his 50's (born in 1828!) and his great grandfather, Jacobus/James Roosevelt, was born in 1760.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:49 PM
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That the Faroe Islands have ever won competitive matches against real nation-states (2-0 against Estonia in Euro 2012 qualifying) should make one consider the nature of luck in the sport.

To be fair, Estonia has been an independent country for 45 of the past 800 years, has barely a million people, and I think both basketball and ice hockey are more popular sports there.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:57 PM
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Estonia and Faroes both world leaders in highest per capita attractive person ratio.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 8:59 PM
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I'm told I am somehow related to the Roosevelts through the wacky Knickerbocker branch of my ancestry. At one point we owned a pasture in lower Manhattan, but apparently failed to keep it in the family.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 9:07 PM
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Estonia population/Faroe Islands population > 26.

They've also (in non-friendlies since the millennium) tied Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Scotland, Northern Ireland (which should care about soccer), Slovenia, Sweden, Lithuiania, Bosnia, and Austria, and beaten Luxembourg and Lithuania. Some of those should count for something.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 9:11 PM
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96 -- You're probably also related to FDR through his New England ancestry. (My great grandfather and FDR were 5th cousins.)

Baseball and hockey aren't that high scoring, and I doubt that this is what holds soccer back as a major sport in the US.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 9:13 PM
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This one really straddles the line between being sympathetic (BBB? sure, it's a corporate PR firm; SWAT raids? often bad) and batshit (everything else). The straight up anti-Semitism in some of the others--including the literal honest to god Protocols of the Elders of Sion--is disappointing. I wouldn't have thought that someone who thought Eisenhower was a secret Habsburg would be bigoted.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 9:18 PM
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The dates don't rule out Ike being a Habsburg. He was born in 1890 - Franz Josef had been widowed the year before, but he had at least one mistress, Katharina Schratt, on the go. He would have been 24 at the time of the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir-presumptive to the thrones of Austria and Hungary. I say "presumptive" because, of course, Ike, as the eldest surviving son of the reigning Emperor (Rudolf having died at Mayerling shortly before Ike's birth), would have superseded FF, merely a nephew - had he declared himself, and had the legitimacy issue been avoided.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 9:38 PM
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I refuse to believe that Ann Coulter is anything but a leftwing performance artist and troll extraordinaire. I imagine all the fun she's having coming up with an ever increasingly ridiculous rightwing persona, only to find that Poe's Law outdoes her every time. I think the increasingly OTT plastic surgery is part of the act.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 9:58 PM
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But who roots for Everton vs. Aston Villa vs. Tottenham?

Generally speaking, people from Liverpool, Birmingham, and north London, respectively. Oh sure, there are people who support them from elsewhere (I mean, I'm an Arsenal fan because I read Fever Pitch at an impressionable age), but club soccer is just as territorial as international.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 10:35 PM
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Also, this:
But it seems like the main thing that will prevent US soccer interest is that our club level teams aren't that great and it's REALLY not in our national character to spend time rooting for different English or European clubs.*

is basically true of every country in the world outside of England, Spain, Germany, and Italy. (There are nutters who are utterly convinced that local soccer is THE KEY to making the US a world power in the international game, but they utterly fail to deal with the fact that if you live in Brazil or Argentina or the Netherlands a) your local teams basically suck and b) your best players leave the country at a very young age to play elsewhere.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 10:42 PM
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who roots for Everton vs. Aston Villa vs. Tottenham?

Triangular football FTW.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 10:48 PM
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A goal at each apex, complicated strategic decisions about which opponent to go after when... I think this has potential.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 10:50 PM
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Long have I thought that for a simulation of war, football doesn't have enough ways for the players to screw over innocent third parties.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 10:54 PM
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It'll be just like Syria! Hopefully without the chemical weapons, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 10:56 PM
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Less chemical weapons, more GOALLLLL


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 11:02 PM
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107: but just like Syria in this specific example because you'd be quite happy if all three sides lost.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 11:31 PM
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In the mid to late 90s I became a fan of Ajax and Dortmund via Champion's League but then those teams disappeared from top level international play for a while. Also a fan of Valencia, who did better. Following the national leagues was a lot more difficult, especially in those days. By the time US channels started showing more soccer I wasn't following as closely, mostly because I couldn't take advantage of being a student to watch games live.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 11:51 PM
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Recent geopolitical shenanigans can only be understood in the light of the fact that Ukraine has the most beautiful women in the world.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 11:54 PM
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Or so the spammers would have you believe.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-26-14 11:58 PM
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The fact that soccer is the dominant sport around the world is creepy. It's creepy in the same way that teenagers everywhere now eat at McDonald's. The fact that the UK has cricket and the US has baseball is great. In Germany handball -- which is like basketball played with soccer goals -- is popular. There's no reason why handball couldn't be popular in the US -- it's a very exciting game -- but the world isn't any worse off because it isn't.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 12:05 AM
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I've often found it interesting the way the worldwide popularity of soccer is often portrayed (at least in the US) as a symbol of resistance to American cultural imperialism rather than as a vestige of a previous era of British cultural imperialism. It's obviously both, but the choice of one over the other to emphasize is meaningful, I think.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 12:08 AM
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114: it's striking that the countries which actually had British no-kidding imperialism, rather than just the cultural kind, tend not to be footballing countries, though. Canada, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Narnia and so forth are not that keen on playing football. South Africa is, but that's partly as a symbol of resistance to the crushing rugby boot of apartheid.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 2:31 AM
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Soccer tends to be popular in countries where people historically couldn't afford the sporting equipment required for more interesting games. This includes Africa, Latin America, and post-war Europe.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 3:40 AM
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You could sort of say that about rugby and American football as well, I guess, but football also has the advantage of being able to be played on any surface. Rugby on tarmac, not much fun.

But yeah, bring a ball, jumpers (or natural landmarks) for goalposts, and you're sorted. As Ttam has said many times. My 13 year old is not particularly sporty, but spends every breaktime at school playing football.

And 102 made me laugh. Because I thought, "Neil, Jenny, and most of the Jewish boys from school".


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 4:20 AM
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You don't really need equipment to play baseball. When I was a kid we would play in the intersection. Each corner was a base. The bat was a broom handle. The ball was a rubber ball.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 4:27 AM
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more interesting games

The only game I can think of where that applies is US football. That there's an equipment barrier, I mean. You can play basketball or baseball anywhere there's a hoop or some flat grass/dirt.

I'd dispute, of course, that any of those games is more interesting than football (soccer). I quite like watching basketball at times, but it's a very different aesthetic/emotional experience from football (soccer).


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 4:29 AM
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We used to play touch rugby sometimes, on a non-grass surface, too. Not at school, when I was at university. I guess kids can play touch football [US, boring kind] anywhere, too?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 4:31 AM
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119: The hoop/paved surface thing is a real bottleneck for basketball. I mean, it's pretty cheap, but it's not something a bunch of kids in a developing country can do for themselves.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 4:52 AM
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(Remembering Samoa, where only Mormons played basketball, because only Mormon temples had courts.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 4:54 AM
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38. I have an American friend IRL who is an Everton fan. This came about because his Irish cousins are hugely invested in Everton, one of them being a committee member of the Irish fan club. How that happened I have no idea. I'll ask if your bothered.

American football could be a decent game if most of it wasn't spent standing around. Abolish time outs, have only one team for offense, defense and special, and play halves instead of quarters and you'd have the makings of something watchable.

As ajay points out, if the object is to have a game with very high scores where most of the players spend most of it standing about, you need to get into cricket.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 4:56 AM
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What team sports did people play before football (aka soccer)? Without googling, I think rounders (the ancestor of baseball) is older. Lacrosse's native American ancestor is older. Mesoamericans played a "ball game" that was somewhat like a cross between basketball and soccer much earlier.

But did the Romans have such games? How about the ancient Chinese?


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:15 AM
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Romans played ball games, but my vague impression is that they weren't all that seriously competitive -- for competition, you watched the chariot races, and then you went to the baths and tossed a ball around with your friends.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:20 AM
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Although Harpastum sounds like rugby.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:26 AM
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Trigon.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:27 AM
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I was just going to link Trigon, which is actually what I was thinking of originally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:29 AM
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119.3: Sports aren't intrinsically interesting or not interesting. You could probably design a sport that's too boring to be a fan of, but of actual real sports that people are willing to play, whether or not you appreciate the sport is a product of social factors. I like American football because I grew up watching it. I didn't grow up watching soccer, so the first time I saw it I thought it was bizarre and pointless. If soccer or American football had never been invented, we would each be watching totally different sports and would be about as happy as we are now.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:30 AM
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If Trigon as played fast, it might be extremely competitive. You had a scorer, so there was a winner, and by implication you could bet on it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:31 AM
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re: 124

In the UK, they played football. Just not the association form. There are earlier archaic forms that persist in some places. They usually involve lots more people, and are more violent.

e.g., in Scotland:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ba_game

In Italy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcio_Fiorentino

In England:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Shrovetide_Football

In Celtic countries:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caid_(sport)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cnapan

Or more generally, in medieval times:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_football
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mob_football


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:36 AM
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Cuju. Chinese football game attested from the warring states period.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:39 AM
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Court tennis goes back to at least the sixteenth century (maybe 15th, but Wikipedia is ambiguous about whether what Henry V was playing was really the same game) and derives from jeu de palme, which was older and seems to have been a racquet-less handball kind of thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:45 AM
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Sorry, jeu de paume. The quick googling I'm doing hasn't turned up anything on exactly when rackets came in, which seems to me like a significant transition.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:50 AM
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For all that a lot of people like to talk about what would have to happen for soccer to take off in the United States, I think we may actually be watching it do that right now (slowly, over the course of years, and then very quickly seems like the usual pattern for this sort of thing). I don't mean because the New Yorker has articles about it or anything, and living in upper-midwest-liberal-ton means that I'm cautious about taking local cues. But I was talking to my south-eastern-conservative-Pennsylvania-living parents yesterday and apparently it's a thing there as well. They went to a music-at-the-park-for-let's-be-honest-old-people on the weekend only to have the concert briefly interrupted by the announcement that the US had scored a second goal against Portugal. Yesterday they were out shopping and there was a little area set aside at the Bon-Ton (swear to god) with a TV so that people who were there because they were with someone shopping could keep up with the game (you can safely read "men" and "their wives" in there). That really looks to me like a sort of tipping point. Once something becomes widespread enough that everyone knows it's happening/is a thing, even if they couldn't care less about it, it's only a matter of time.

I suspect the rise of youth soccer really did have a strong impact, not because it makes people more interested in the sport itself but because it gives people a way to translate what they're seeing on television into what's actually going on. It's easy when you watch it to just see the ball wandering back and forth while people jog after it, but if you're used to seeing it in person world cup level soccer starts to look really different because you end up with a more direct awareness of things like the actual size of the field, and what the players are actually doing. I always forget how big soccer fields are and how fast the people are moving when I watch it, anyway. Then someone does something like going down for a sliding tackle and I realize that that person (1) didn't appear to be running very fast, comparatively speaking, and (2) just skidded three or four meters. A very precise series of passes down the field looks way more impressive when you realize that each one of them is probably twenty-five to thirty meters. Occasionally when they cut to the camera behind the goal for a goal kick it's a little shocking because it turns out that from that perspective the players halfway down the field are really, really far away.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:55 AM
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How old is the original dead-goat polo?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:57 AM
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Ken Burns and I have been spreading the falsehood that the Corps of Discovery taught the Ni-mii-puu how to play baseball. It was more like capture the flag.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:59 AM
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Overall, it's interesting that ball sports seems to be one of those things that gets invented spontaneously in different regions. It's not a single innovation that spread, it appears to be something human beings do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 5:59 AM
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For all that a lot of people like to talk about what would have to happen for soccer to take off in the United States, I think we may actually be watching it do that right now (slowly, over the course of years, and then very quickly seems like the usual pattern for this sort of thing).

Maybe. Or maybe it'll become like the Olympics--in that the US watches INTENTLY every four years. OTOH, the domestic league is growing pretty well, which doesn't really seem to be the case for, say, athletics, gymnastics, or figure skating.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:01 AM
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On the flip side, I'm wondering if baseball's going to die all of a sudden in the near future. My neighborhood has a vibrant Little League, but it is almost all kids of first generation Dominican immigrants. Are kids generally playing baseball across the country at anything like the levels they used to? And once it turns into a sport that's not broadly played (if I'm right that that's happening), does pro baseball fall off a cliff in terms of viewer interest?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:07 AM
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The cliché, of course, is that prostitution is the oldest sport.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:08 AM
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The oldest ball sport.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:09 AM
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138: I don't know that it's terribly clear that we know that, is it?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:09 AM
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Well, we've got Native American (north and south) ball sports, there's that dead-goat polo thing, I guess I'm assuming that the Chinese sport linked was an independent invention -- it looks like ball sports were independently invented guaranteed twice, and maybe more than that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:11 AM
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Dead goat prostitution is the second oldest ball sport.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:12 AM
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143: It seems plausible: throwing something back and forth is a pretty basic human activity and sooner or later someone is going to realize that it's more fun if you smooth off the edges.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:12 AM
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Here's a list of traditional Australian Aboriginal sports. I don't know the history solidly, but if they're established as predating colonization, that'd be a third guaranteed independent locus of invention.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:16 AM
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134. This suggests that tennis racquets were invented by the Italians in the 14th century but spread quite slowly. I've no idea how reliable it is, but it sounds plausible. Henry VIII definitely used them.

[I thought your "jeu de palme" was a self-conscious attempt at mediaeval French spelling.]


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:16 AM
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I spontaneously spell like a medieval Frenchman. It took me years to get it under control.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:17 AM
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I'm just saying we don't have any solid proof that the paleolithic humans didn't originally cross the land bridge by accident while chasing an inflated Mastodon bladder.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:18 AM
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Halford? Input?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:19 AM
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150. It took them so long because the mastodon kept stopping to piss.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:24 AM
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152 is great, and will probably be the plot of the next Ice Age movie.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:26 AM
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Professional baseball actually has better attendance now than in the 1970s. It is a horrible game to watch though.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:37 AM
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I guess kids can play touch football [US, boring kind] anywhere, too?

Possibly the most un-American comment ever. Yes, American kids hardly ever play tackle football casually; it's all touch/flag* football.

* Put a flag on your belt on each hip and you're "down" if one is grabbed off. This is to prevent "I touched you" "No you didn't" arguments.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:42 AM
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131.1 (Ba game)

This grittling the boys on fayside were at trase with peelers, would you believe! They had sein right too, so it was all kappin and no barlay. We only had mucks. But Biffa was our surnam and you should have seen the hurrel. Now highside is doggers and we have herison from scap to lengday, and everyone looks up to us although we are to be stapled for it. In haste to trethers.


Posted by: OPINIONATED HILDRIDA NAVISDAUGHTER | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:47 AM
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I have played touch/flag football and it taught me a lot about why people enjoy playing or even watching American football. (It is the bit that doesn't show up in touch/flag football.)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:47 AM
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It is a horrible game to watch though.

I hate it, but if I'm forced to watch it, I can get into the pitcher/batter duel, which is what the game is really all about, and which is actually intricate and skilled. But these days, at modern ballparks, the game is basically background entertainment for people who are there to eat and drink.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:49 AM
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I'm sure everybody is waiting for me to reveal that going to a Sox game at Fenway is a thrilling and utterly captivating experience.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:52 AM
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If we were meant to pay $10 for a beer, minor league baseball wouldn't exist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:54 AM
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American football does have a little something for everyone. Throwing and catching a ball is a beautiful thing, and no one does it better than NFL quarterbacks and receivers (who are some of the best athletes anywhere). War nerds can get into the intricacies of setting up 11 players who have to work in unison to be successful. And, of course, there's the pure brutality, which might also be the game's undoing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:55 AM
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161. Like I said, if you could tweak the rules so that three quarters of the game wasn't spent standing around, you'd have the basis of a good game.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:05 AM
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Instant replay is its own spectator sport here.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:07 AM
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158 last -- eat and drink and sing Sweet Caroline.

It's the tribal narrative part that makes the whole thing. I watch horse-racing once a year, if but only if someone invites me to a party organized around that horse race. Sure, it's thrilling to watch a horse race, and I suppose for the people who really get into it, there are all kinds of levels of knowledge to have. Most of us, though, are in it for the excuse to be together, and a mint julep or two. A two hour play at being part of a tribe.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:07 AM
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162, 163: I've sort of gotten over this, but one of my immediate reactions to watching soccer was "wait, you have to pay attention the whole time?"

I have had the same reaction to the various pay TV dramas with no commercial breaks. What kind of attention span do you expect of me, entertainment products?!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:10 AM
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This is reminding me of how out of the loop I am from mainstream America. Most of the Republicans I know are immigrants from Enlightened Topless Europe,* so they watch soccer in addition to American football. I got some tickets to the local university team game through a Republican.

Interestingly, I grew up experiencing 'Murican culture from my German godfather, who embraced it enthusiastically as an immigrant. He and my not-so-American dad taught us how to play baseball (well, whiffle ball) and roast hot dogs and sing hippie folk songs. For the longest time as a kid I thought baseball and One Tin Soldier were German. I was also super convinced Peter Paul and Mary were Lutheran (I mean, look at the names!). For actual participation in organized sports, my brother played soccer and my sister and I did gymnastics taught by hippies. I suppose I should just collect my UnAmerican badge and be on with it now.

*I have a few non-immigrant Cali Reagan Republican relatives, and come to think of it, they're also very into soccer, with one cousin as a HS soccer star. I suppose culturally CA Republicans and European immigrant Republicans are basically the same? (I guess the answer is Schwarzenegger.)


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:19 AM
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it's striking that the countries which actually had British no-kidding imperialism, rather than just the cultural kind, tend not to be footballing countries, though. Canada, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Narnia and so forth are not that keen on playing football.

India and Pakistan are heavily into cricket, though.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:22 AM
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Texas is heavily into crickets.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:22 AM
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Chris y also thinks speed chess is an objectively better game than regular chess.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:26 AM
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169. To watch, yes. Turing chess is even better.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:34 AM
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I missed the US's 2nd goal in the Ghana game signing the bill.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:37 AM
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I think Chris Y probably values the things that soccer, rugby and basketball have. The flow of a game.

Those aren't the only sporting virtues, but American Football is a fairly extreme example, as major sports go, of a particularly stop/start episodic game.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:43 AM
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American football is very well set up from a scoring and drama point of view. Having one kind of score worth 3 and another worth 7 really works well. Turnovers and long touchdowns reproduce the drama of a soccer goal, but field position and field goals mean that small successes really matter. I wish the game were a little faster (2 hours, not 3), but I like not having to pay attention the whole time.

The problem with American Football and the reason I'm not a fan anymore is that it's too much work to follow. Teams have 25 important players! If you're not really committed to following football you quickly have no idea who the players are.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:46 AM
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172.last: But that provides the means for discrete strategic decision-making which for me is the main appeal of football. But it is too slow, which is why NFL Red Zone is one of the great TV innovations.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:48 AM
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Having one kind of score worth 3 and another worth 7 really works well. Turnovers and long touchdowns reproduce the drama of a soccer goal, but field position and field goals mean that small successes really matter.

You get all that in Rugby Union, plus the flow.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:51 AM
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re: 174

Yeah, I can sort of see that.

I think strategic decision making of that type happens in football [soccer], too, but it's much much less transparent to the watcher. And I don't mean that in the sense that, I, as a superior euro-weenie, can spot it whereas others can't. I mean that there are things that aren't obvious, on that level, even to very experienced viewers. Which is why football [soccer] management, strategy and tactics are hard to do really well.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 8:07 AM
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I'm surprised chess boxing is not more popular.

One of the things baseball has over all the other sports is that, during the season, your team is playing pretty much every day. Its a wonderful thing to be able to turn the TV on at 7:30 any give night, and know there is probably a baseball game on.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 9:23 AM
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Rugby union (unlike soccer, american football, and basketball) doesn't have the same kind of beautiful highlights.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 9:33 AM
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Also, Rugby Union like Test Cricket (and unlike Rugby League or limited overs Cricket) I just fundamentally don't understand the rules.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 9:36 AM
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There's a particular kind of tactical decision making in football that I think really is fundamentally impossible to have in any sport with flow. I can see the aesthetics of both sides on that point, I like the additional tactics in football but I also enjoy the fluidity of basketball.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 9:42 AM
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re: 178

Not true. You get loads of beautiful tries, with clever passing, dummies, fast running. I find it hard to believe someone could think you get that in US football and not in rugby? Not that I'm trying to claim here that rugby is superior to US football, but in terms of the skills and movement exhibited, it's much the same, just over longer stretches of play.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 9:42 AM
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You're right, the first youtube video I started watching just wasn't a good one. The second one was better. American football has two sorts of great plays (runs and passes), and rugby indeed has stuff that is very similar to the great runs.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 9:51 AM
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Its a wonderful thing to be able to turn the TV on at 7:30 any give night, and know there is probably a baseball game on.

As a non-baseball fan, I think it is quite the opposite of "wonderful."


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 9:56 AM
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182. Look at this. (Rugby clip from 1973 famous for being able to find it just by googling "That try".)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 10:04 AM
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But where's the marching band?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 10:07 AM
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What I'm hearing is that football is to rugby as chess is to Starcraft. (SAT analogies: doubly banned?)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 10:12 AM
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Well, rather than arguing by analogy, you could just accurately say that Starcraft has flow and Chess has tactics that would be impossible in a game with flow.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 10:13 AM
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177 - Now that Jim Kelly, Alex Haley, and Beetle Bailey are dead, it lacks name-brand stars.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 10:18 AM
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184: That is awesome! That kind of thing is sometimes attempted in desperate situations on the last play of the game in football, but it basically never works. I suppose it doesn't work that well very often in rugby either.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 10:21 AM
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Rugby is a lot more fun to watch than US football. I have no idea why we have our own sport which is basically rugby with all the spontaneity sucked out and replaced by health-endangering blunt force trauma.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 10:34 AM
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190. At some point in their development towards the apex of human physical performance, all contact sports have to make a decision between amending to rules to discourage health-endangering blunt force trauma and armouring the players to survive it. American football is the code which has gone furthest in the second direction, but we are discovering to the cost of a lot of talented young men that neither strategy actually works all that well.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 10:44 AM
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Baseball is so great, and is doing better financially and attendance-wise than ever. I think by far the most likely trajectory for soccer in the US is that it remains a popular sport for kids and the national team is followed intensely every four years, with Major League Soccer remaining very much a second-tier sport and even then only in some cities; absolute best case scenario is something like the NHL and even that is way out of reach at the present. No way is a huge chunk of the American population getting into picking teams to root for in the Champions Cup or whatever, no matter what happens in the Netherlands or Brazil no fucking way are lots of Americans going to get invested in (googling) Everton (sorry Facebook friend) just because Tim Howard plays there.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 10:44 AM
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I have no idea why we have our own sport which is basically rugby with all the spontaneity sucked out

Football is a series of war game set pieces. I trust I don't have to explain the appeal of that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 10:53 AM
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The Play is like That Try, plus marching band.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 11:07 AM
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No link because I'm curious if The Play ranks as high in search in other regions.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 11:08 AM
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And I guess I was pwned in 185.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 11:11 AM
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absolute best case scenario is something like the NHL and even that is way out of reach at the present

I don't think it is as far out of reach as you do, but I also think that's probably where it tops out. NHL level or just above, given that we actually have a realistic chance of matching the player production of our continental rivals (unlike in hockey)


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 11:11 AM
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193: We don't even fight wars that way any more. What we need is long-term-counterinsurgency-ball.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 11:13 AM
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198: AKA soccer.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 11:15 AM
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Lots of long pauses punctuated by brief, confusing mayhem. The action never really stops so you never know when and where it'll start up again. Kicks on the goal come from nowhere, like drone strikes. Can't use your hands...because..."hearts and minds" campaigns can prevent effect military action? Enh, sure. Extreme corruption with billions lost to civilian administrators. I can see this.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 11:22 AM
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I have no idea why we have our own sport which is basically rugby with all the spontaneity sucked out and replaced by health-endangering blunt force trauma.

Because it takes a lot of money to have a successful sports league in America, which means you need to have a lot of commercial breaks when you show your sport on TV, which means that its very important for the structure of American sports that there be frequent stoppages in play in which the sponsors can attempt to convince you of the merits of their particular brand of beer.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 11:23 AM
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201: Mom? Is that you? She recently described blowing a new acquaintance's mind with exactly that theory.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 11:26 AM
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It must be in the zeitgeist.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 11:51 AM
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200: You can also include "bending the rules is 'the right of the weak'". This fits in quite well with the English/American moralistic attitude towards diving/anti-football.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 11:54 AM
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201: You're probably right, but maybe there's some sort of workable compromise here?

We could have a steadily running advertising ticker at the bottom, like on Fox News. Or maybe the announcers could take over that role. ("And Dempsey drives the ball down the left flank with the speed and control of the new Ford F150. He shoots from twenty yards out and it's as good as breakfast at Denny's! GOOAALLL! Oh what a beautiful goal, he just took slid that ball around two defenders as smooth as a delightful refreshing Bud Light. Buy Gold!")


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 12:00 PM
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205: it is a little surprising they don't have the ad ticker and WAYYY more announcer ads.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 12:17 PM
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That's why soccer has all those ads around the edge of the field, on structures called "advertising hoardings" that serve no function other than containing ads. Of course most other sports have ads visible during play too, so I guess the ones on soccer fields are way more expensive.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 12:26 PM
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205: I mean, the most popular televised sports event in this country has somehow managed to arrange things so that people who don't care about sports watch it specifically for the ads. That's going to be hard to beat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 1:10 PM
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205 -- say what you will about advertising in sports and the Supebowl, but no one can take "Terry Tate: Office Linebacker" and the quarterbacking of Bud Dry away from me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 1:23 PM
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Ariaga 2: Office Winger just doesn't have the same ring.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 1:24 PM
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Because it takes a lot of money to have a successful sports league in America

Yeah, I mean, I wish there some way to get more money into soccer. Maybe you could, like, put advertisers' logos somewhere that people are *guaranteed* to see them. The sides of the field are too obvious, same with the score ticker... I mean, where could you put them?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 1:41 PM
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I really wish I could come up with more ideas for 211...


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 1:42 PM
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210: The racism thread is over there.
211: I don't think it's *routes* for money, its getting the money flowing more thickly.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 2:44 PM
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Not the motion of the ocean something something.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 2:47 PM
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In my experience, European tv channels show ads at similar intervals to what you get during soccer games. Even American shows didn't go to commercials every 10-15 minutes.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 3:01 PM
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215: I've not seen any actual ads during a soccer game on TV since like 1996. Spots read out, sure, and little banners over stat-boxes or the bud-light instant-replay or whathaveyou. Only pregame, halftime, fulltime.

The big difference is probably betting. If we had such rampant legal gambling, the money would be insane.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 3:06 PM
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During the 86 World Cup, Budweiser had ads where for a minute of two the screen became a Bud label, with the game going on in a smaller rectangle in the middle of it.

It was infuriating.

Especially because we watched in a hospital room -- our daughter had been born the night before -- on a TV hanging from the ceiling across the room.

And the wrong team won.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 3:14 PM
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213.1: see Standpipe's Simpsons blog.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 3:23 PM
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216: Neither have I. But what I meant is that non-soccer tv in Europe, at least what I saw 15 years ago, also routinely went 30-45 minutes between (long) ad breaks. If they showed something American, they skipped cutting to ads even where the ad break was built into the structure of the show. So soccer didn't seem like an exception the way it does here.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 4:02 PM
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219 ahh


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 4:15 PM
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219 fits my memory of Swedish television in 1998.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:47 PM
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Back when we used to hang out at the little bar by the lake and watch "Friends".


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 6:49 PM
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That Swedish girl with the crazy eyes was totally hot for me. How did I not close the deal on that one?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:03 PM
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Don't mind me, I'm stuck in an airport, running a low fever.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:03 PM
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In Sweden I think ad breaks every 5-15 minutes is normal. Not sure, I really only watch TV with my mom. Until the mid-aughts I'd say 20 minutes was the norm.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:05 PM
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My recollection is 8 minute commercial breaks every half hour, but my memory could be wrong; I wasn't particularly sober at the time.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:09 PM
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8 minute commercial breaks every half hour,

I have to think that 8 + 22 is inferior to the American formula with several shorter breaks.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 7:36 PM
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I am a non-exotic immigrant to America. My parents and grandparents were all, boringly enough, born in Soviet Canuckistan. But most of my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents were born, excitingly enough (actually, no: still quite boring), in Ireland.

I fully endorse #37.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 06-27-14 8:56 PM
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There are ways of advertising without breaking into the game. Most leagues are commercially sponsored, and the teams are sponsored, often by more than one business, and wear advertising on their kit.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:28 AM
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229: it's like you didn't even click on the links in 211 or 212!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:08 AM
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I've found my hatred of end-game penalty kicks to be what sets me apart from soccer fans who grew up fans of soccer, by whom I mean un-American foreigners.

I also didn't like the way they experimented with the sudden death "golden goal", which didn't even replace penalty kicks. It seemed designed to fail so that things could be set back to the way they were.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 11:40 AM
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Plenty of un-American foreigners hate penalties. In fact I've never met anyone of any nationality who liked them.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 11:47 AM
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Huh. In my limited experience*, the majority of people I've talked to about penalties - mostly not native-English speaking Europeans, a few people from Latin America - have thought penalties were really exciting and didn't think it would be better if teams just had to keep playing and couldn't strategize around waiting for penalties.

*All this soccer discussion is reminding me that it's been a long time since I've been out of the US and Canada.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 11:53 AM
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These are exciting! But the wrong way to decide the game. (Brazil 3-2)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 11:57 AM
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I know skill is involved but it also feels like competitive coin-flipping. I actually stop paying close attention during the penalty phase if I have something else to distract me, like the internet. Which is how I know the outcome even though my stream hasn't gotten there yet.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 12:02 PM
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235.1 Agree. It can be very tense, particularly on an occasion like this where they're evenly matched and the keepers aren't great. But it's an insane kludge. I expect the players would resist any change that made them play for more than to hours though, and I can't entirely blame them.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 12:08 PM
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Yeah the shootout fuckery is dragging up my anti-soccer reflexes. What an insanely stupid way to decide a game. At least for the World Cup itself, which is once every four years, the rule should be something like continuous 30 minute sudden death overtimes after the first one until the game is done. If hockey players can do it, so can these fools.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 12:43 PM
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Hockey goes to shoot outs for the world championships and Olympics.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 12:55 PM
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I don't see how anyone can have watched this game, and think that a shoot-out is just luck. Or any more about luck than the game itself, what with the shots bouncing off the crossbars, getting just a tiny bit deflected by someone's knee, and the rest.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 1:12 PM
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Golf, now that's a game that's just luck.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 1:13 PM
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Of course shootouts are a combination of skill and luck, but it's not the game that happened for the previous couple of hours. Hockey shootouts are slightly more interesting because there's more motion involved, but still not a great way to end a game.

I'd like to think that unlimited overtimes would create an incentive to try to score, but I don't know if that would prevent really, really long games. This game had both teams getting good chances in overtime, so it's not like they weren't trying, but there have been some horrible games in the past where an overmatched team has just been dragging things out, calculating that they had a better chance at a 0-0 win than winning outright by pushing forwards. This seemed to be Paraguay's strategy with Chilavert.

In hockey the short shifts probably make multiple overtimes easier on the players. But even then players get pretty exhausted and the quality of play drops, so I can see why soccer players would object.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 1:24 PM
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You know, if you're tied after 120 minutes, a coin-flip is a pretty fair way to decide the game anyway. But there's less luck than it appears, I think. Imagine if basketball ties were decided by shots from the top of the key. Is that luck, or an exercise in seeing who can hold up under pressure? The goalie guesses, but that's less important than it seems--a good kick beats a good guess.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 2:01 PM
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Or have the game go down as a tie, and use some other measure as a tie-breaker, like they do in round one. Or something from the game itself, number of shots on goal? That would affect play but not hugely. It's a proxy for who had more momentum for most of the game.

I'm not anti-pks, but I'm an ace problem solver.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 2:11 PM
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What sorts of problems does Ace typically have?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 2:13 PM
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You could do it like boxing and have judges decide it on points.

Or after the first 15 minutes of overtime you just remove one man from each team every 10 minutes until someone scores.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 2:27 PM
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242 would be a ludicrous way to decide a basketball game -- why no just have a dunking contest as the tiebreaker? Sorry World Cup soccer, until you fix this stupid way of deciding important games you are still not quite a real sport.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 2:33 PM
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It wasn't a suggestion, just an ANALOGY to say that it wouldn't be luck.

Or after the first 15 minutes of overtime you just remove one man from each team every 10 minutes until someone scores.

This would be pretty awesome, although/because if they didn't score for a while, there would be just a few people on the pitch and they'd surely die from exhaustion.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 2:38 PM
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If you win the entire fucking World Cup, you play what, seven games in the entire tournament, total? Once every four years? Over 30 days? It's not too much to ask that people just keep fucking playing through the relatively small number of games that go into multiple overtimes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 2:45 PM
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These guys just finished their regular season. Have you seen how they're dragging in the last ten minutes of games? I would be ok with adding a couple of subs for extra-extra time, but I'm just saying that PKs aren't some crazy coin-flip way to decide the game--playing more measures fitness, PKs are about not cracking under pressure. I suppose it makes sense that the crossfit convert favors the former.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 2:51 PM
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You could do it like boxing and have judges decide it on points.

Because of course what soccer needs is more opportunities for corruption.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 2:56 PM
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Kicks form the penalty spot are, of course, a stupid way to determine the winner. But the only other real option is a replay of the match --- endless sudden death extra time leads to the very poor play, because you have to defend absolutely and everyone's exhausted, you can't create weird pseudo versions of football because that violates the purity of the game, etc.

Penalty kicks are a better way than drawing lots, and they've got an inherent drama and tension --- but they're not meant to be fair or whatever. They're like the "hit a cricket wicket" deciders, really.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 2:57 PM
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Fivethirtyeight's analysis found no correlation (I think) between who is favored and who wins the penalty kicks, arguing for the "it's a coin flip" hypothesis.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 2:59 PM
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This discussion is a little bit "those mysterious foreigners." How many football games are decided by field goals?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:04 PM
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Generally in sports you are supposed to "fight" to "win" through "playing" the game. In real sports anyway.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:05 PM
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253: see 231.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:09 PM
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Generally in sports you are supposed to "fight" to "win" through "playing" the game.

What other sports have as limited substitutions as soccer? Baseball, I suppose, but the physical demands are much lower for every position except pitcher. Rugby's got seven subs out of 15 players.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:12 PM
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It's not a coin-flip in terms of who wins the penalty phase. If the game were penalty kicks, I'm sure you'd see consistency in who wins or loses. But who wins the penalty kicks is relevant to who wins the game because it's been decided that it's how ties are broken, not because it has much to do with how the game was just played. It's still not literally a coin-flip, but I personally don't find it particularly interesting, except for the fact that I just watched a two-hour game and it affects that.

The argument about the purity of the game only works because it's been agreed by convention that penalty kicks don't violate the purity of the game. I don't think anyone would seriously change the rules just for overtime. If people prefer penalty kicks because they can't bear to watch athletes look tired at the end of athletic contests, that's fine as a preference, and as I said at the start of this discussion it's a preference I've found to be held more commonly by people who are not from the US.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:17 PM
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Tennis goes the other way. I think it's still only the American Grand Slam that does tiebreakers in the fifth set. Everywhere else you play until death you win by two games. After long tennis matches you don't see people saying, oh, it's a shame that the play deteriorated, games should be decided by a best-of-five ace contest. You do see people saying it's a shame that the winner will be so exhausted for the next match, but that's accepted as part of the game.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:21 PM
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Also, to 253, how many games are decided by having the placekicker kick, and the punter, and maybe the second-string kickers (who have been put into the game so they are eligible to kick), then, I don't know, maybe you've got a quarterback who's practiced quick-kicks so he can be your fifth-kicker?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:26 PM
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It's possible that I have too strong of an opinion on this. Or that I'm delaying heading out to a social event put on by work. It does involve watching an MLS game, so there's that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:27 PM
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Each overtime period they could swap in ever larger goals.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:29 PM
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The point is that the fewer players there are on the field the easier offense becomes.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:41 PM
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After 120 minutes they can go ahead and use their hands. After 140 minutes there's no such thing as a foul.

Did people also watch Uruguay versus Colombia? It wasn't as tense but it was still pretty amazing. You don't often see a game in which one side is willing to just straight up be the bad guys, and Colombia is way, way better than I would have expected. Brazil can't be feeling good about their next match.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:41 PM
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261 is genius.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:42 PM
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You could just eliminate goalies after 120 minutes.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 3:43 PM
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But that's a way that tennis works, right? You play each game until someone wins outright, etc. Football is pretty heavily committed to the 90 minute time period --- even extra time is something to be avoided where possible.

If you think about a top international in a European league, he'll play a league (no extra time) a cup (extra time only for the finals and semis) and maybe in Europe (extra time only after home & away except for final). Trying to argue that football should be ok with playing until exhaustion is kinda pointless, because clearly football isn't.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:00 PM
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I think speed chess *is* objectively a better game than the grueling >6-hour marathons they have to decide the World Championship. Better in the sense that more people would enjoy both watching it and playing it. I stopped playing chess competitively because it was too demoralizing to play one game for 6 hours and lose, in a way that wasn't outweighed by the joy of winning.

Of course, bughouse is the most fun kind of chess of all.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:05 PM
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Chile seemed to agree with 538 - it looked like they knew they were worse than Brazil, and were just trying to get out of overtime and get their coin flip.

I think penalty kicks are very exciting, but sudden death OT is also very exciting. Overall, soccer and especially hockey would have more appeal to me if the goals were bigger not just during extra time, but all the time.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:07 PM
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What is the deal with "Extra Time"? My current understanding is that the referees arbitrarily pick an amount of time to extend the match - maybe a small amount if they like the current score, and a large amount if they want it to change?* This amount of time is not displayed anywhere on the screen, but exists only in the referees' minds. The players then play for approximately but not exactly that much time, and then the match is over.

Why not just have the clocks count down like they do in civilized sports?!

*I know it's supposed to be based on the amount of injury stoppage during the match, but then why not explicitly quantify that as it's happening?


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:11 PM
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Maybe when soccer adopts my recommendations it will finally achieve worldwide popularity.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:12 PM
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266.2 is completely unintelligible.

The golden goal seems like the correct solution.

Baseball has the same substitution rules as soccer (though obviously not as tiring). Substituting strategically in the final inning of regulation is common, so teams sometimes completely fuck themselves for extra innings. Pitchers do tire from throwing at maximum speed, so they need to be replaced. A couple times a season a team will run out of pitchers and have to bring the right-fielder in to pitch.

When hockey playoff games go into consecutive overtimes (there was at least one that went into 4 overtimes), people always describe it as


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:13 PM
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Extra time is supposed to be time used up on non-playing events during regulation. The way it works is particularly weird. I'm sure a soccer fan will be along to justify why it makes sense, because there is literally nothing a soccer fan won't stoop to defend (other than FIFA of course, which can be defended by no one).


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:16 PM
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No, that's stoppage time. Extra time is a way of avoiding a draw.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:27 PM
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How is 266.2 unintelligible? Seems perfectly clear to me...

Golden goal was thought to produce very defensive play and was abolished for that reason. It's also not very football-like --- football is played for fixed time periods, not till goals occur.

I don't get what's weird about stoppage time, to be honest.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:32 PM
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I don't get what's weird about stoppage time, to be honest.

It doesn't particularly correlate with the amount of time the ball was out of play, it's always longer in the first half and the second half, and it does correlate with whether the home team is losing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:35 PM
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But it isn't meant to correlate with time the ball's out of play. It's meant to correlate with time lost to injury, substitutions, & time wasting.

Like all subjective decisions by the referee yes it does have an element of home advantage. That's not really that much of an issue for football, which has other mechanisms for dealing with home advantage.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:41 PM
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Or, rather, home advantage is part of the game.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:42 PM
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Championship chess games are played without a clock? I am surprised!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:43 PM
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I think what makes it weird to Americans is that soccer is much more comfortable with delegating things to the subjective judgment of a single referee with no recourse or explanation particularly possible. I have come to realize that's not bad, it's just really different from how things nominally happen in popular American sports.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:43 PM
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Eh time added on is actually pretty objective. Like it is still subjective, but there's pretty clear rules about how to calculate it, and I can normally judge how much time added on there'll be before the third official announces it.

The rule about when to actually blow the whistle is far more subjective, but that's different from time added on --- the same problem would exist if the game was meant to end at 90 minutes.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:54 PM
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Before the fourth official announces it. Urgh.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 4:55 PM
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Golden goal, as I said above, didn't replace penalties. It was pointless and I'm glad it's gone.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 5:12 PM
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Yeah, stoppage time is official. The center ref has a timer. It's just not synced up with anything else, so no one knows how much stoppage time has been added. But the ref isn't making it up on the fly at the end of the game, according to his gut or something.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 5:44 PM
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So why is the amount different for the first half and the second half?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 5:48 PM
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(My information generally comes from having read this article earlier)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 5:50 PM
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Keir's defense is basically "yeah this sport kinda sucks (in that the results of critical tie games are decided by bullshit) and players don't play 'til the end, but that's how it should be, because the players are used to the sport kinda sucking."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 5:55 PM
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284: no idea. Maybe refs call halftime based on their gut.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 5:57 PM
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285 seems to contradict 283.


Posted by: RH | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 5:59 PM
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In what way? The center ref isn't stopping the clock every time the ball goes out of bounds. Just when they think things are getting delayed. So that's subjective. It's just that its not improvised after 90 minutes are up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:02 PM
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Also I have no idea what the fourth official is, if that's the head honcho or someone who is guessing on their behalf.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:08 PM
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284 --- Because time wasting and substitutions tend to happen in the second half?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:08 PM
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And absolutely no way to find out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:08 PM
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And the amount of time added on is communicated to everyone in the stadium by the fourth official holding up a big sign, and is usually also announced. It's not a secret or anything.

286 is true, except when put to the test of "do people like to watch this game" it turns out what Halford calls "sucky" actually means "awesome".


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:18 PM
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It's totally a secret in less competitive leagues. Like in high school, they'd keep 90 minutes on the scoreboard, and the center ref would be vague or outright coy if you asked how much time was left and they felt like being so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:28 PM
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The function of the fourth official is to get yelled at by the managers so the real referees don't have to.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:33 PM
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That's pretty shady. If you've got enough funding to have a scoreboard, you should be able to put the amount of time added on up.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:33 PM
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293.2 -- Yes but most of those people have never even seen a violin Kershaw's curveball.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:33 PM
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Has anyone checked to see whether FA and RH have Confederate flag decals on their cars?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:40 PM
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Both Colombian goals looked pretty good.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:50 PM
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I realize Halford is trolling, but I'm still laughing at the notion that people would sour on soccer if only they were initiated into the wonders of baseball.

Stoppage time is both silly and reasonable, from what I can tell. It's really nice that if you're watching soccer, you have a pretty good idea, within about three minutes or so, when the half or game is going to be over (world cup knockout rounds aside). But it's silly to pretend that stoppage time is somehow accounting for wasted time. There must be between 10 and 20 minutes wasted in each half, but I've never seen more than six minutes of stoppage time. You can guess how much will be added by using a crude proportional method, but let's not pretend that one is accounting for the other--it's just that if the other team wasted a ton of time, you'll get another minute or two (another chance or two, effectively) to score.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 6:57 PM
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The first Columbian goal was friggin' beautiful.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:01 PM
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391: yeah that was ridiculous. "Colombian", though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:04 PM
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Stoppage time is kind of bs but offends me less than the tiebreaker shootouts, which really do prevent World Cup soccer from being actually a great sport. Having "this game will be extended by a limited but largely unknowable in advance period of time" is weird and way too subjective but at least kind of comprehensible. Having major elimination games with tie scores decided by a hokey, near-random method because "soccer players don't like to play tired" is just an abomination. Otherwise the World Cup is pretty great, but that's a pretty big but, much like your Mom's.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:05 PM
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Oh just wait, comment 391. I've got you dead to rights with my overdetermined pedantry.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:05 PM
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There's about an hour of play in each match.

I'm gathering from Fake Accent's comments that they used to have a golden goal, but it was during a set time period, rather than playing until someone scored? That really is stupid. Best would be 90 minutes of regular time, then a golden goal with no time limit. I don't think PKs are random, but I would way prefer the golden goal.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:10 PM
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What if they rustled up a basketball and played HORSE?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:14 PM
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The golden goal rule was that if you scored in the 30 minutes of extra time you won, otherwise penalties. Golden goal didn't work very well, because football doesn't really work if a goal finishes the game --- basically it means extra time becomes a 1-0 borefest.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:17 PM
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Also I think Americans don't really understand cup competitions. Of course they are kinda random and fluky! That's why they're the most dramatic and enchanting format of football.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:20 PM
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No, we get it; March Madness is the same way, and wildly popular.

As for the golden goal, like I say, there shouldn't be a time limit. Next goal wins (and no one leaves until it happens) would be exciting as hell.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:23 PM
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308 was mostly just trolling. 309.last would be so dull --- both teams would park the bus and hope to get lucky.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:33 PM
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both teams would park the bus and hope to get lucky

Maybe you're right; I don't actually understand the foreign brain.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:38 PM
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But it seems like that would be crazy, given that they could be there forever.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:39 PM
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I was daydreaming earlier about what soccer would be like with a shot clock. Probably terrible! But interesting as a daydream.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:42 PM
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You know, I've been watching international soccer for 20 years. I like the sport, just not penalties!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:53 PM
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310 gets it right. Defending is so much easier in soccer than attacking that you're already seeing even top teams like Real Madrid sit back and play on the counter; they don't necessarily *want* the ball, since it's much easier to pick off teams on a transition. When you ramp up the stakes like you would in never-ending golden goal, they have even less incentive to try to play proactively.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:55 PM
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No one likes penalties, I don't think.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:56 PM
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Some of fa's best friends play soccer.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:56 PM
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They're like the "hit a cricket wicket" deciders, really.

You're explaining/defending soccer to a bunch of Americans by use of a cricket analogy? That's just trolling. Your average American has a better grasp of the intricacies of curling strategies than they do of the basic rules of cricket.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:56 PM
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I don't even see penalties.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:57 PM
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Ugg, html fail. Only 'cricket' was mean to be italicised.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:57 PM
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What if in extra time the offside rule was suspended? And or the goalkeeper could only use hands in the 6yd box, not the whole penalty area?


Posted by: Turgid Ajaxcobian | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 7:58 PM
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Overtime, rather.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 8:01 PM
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Not just a cricket analogy, but a really obscure one too. (Should I tell Halford about Duckworth-Lewis?)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 8:03 PM
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I'm actually at a soccer game right now. But I'm checking comments because nothing's happening, it's soccer!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 8:27 PM
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I went to DCU-SSFC. It was okay. I continue to be charmed by the bouncing decks at RFK


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 8:32 PM
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Obviously I've seen plenty of soccer goals (the target for the ball, not the scoring action) in my life, but I just looked up official dimensions. It's both shorter (8 feet) and much wider (24 feet) than I would have guessed. I guess it looks taller because goalies have to jump laterally so often. 24 feet is a lot of ground to defend! I'm now very impressed that games are so low scoring, and I also have a much better idea why a free kick from 30 yards away can be dangerous.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 8:34 PM
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There's an obvious gap between this game and the world cup but it makes me think I should watch more games in person. I don't recognize a single name from the San Jose roster, though.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 8:45 PM
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324: I was supposed to go to that game but I'm not feeling well so we skipped it. Watching it on TV is not doing anything to convince me I made the wrong choice.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 8:48 PM
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Well Chris isn't back yet and Steve is probably taking a week or so off.Other Steve is a bastard and Alan sucks, and the set are nonentities.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 8:49 PM
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Yeah,it's not a great game. But I generally don't see sports in person, plus the stadium is nice, plus I don't live that far away.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 8:53 PM
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Wut? I'm an American and stoppage time and penalties all makes sense to me. I would much rather watch penalties than another half hour of overtime.

Penalties are about skill, both accuracy in making a goal and keeping cool under pressure and psyching out the goalie. The line between an unstoppable goal in the corner of the net and hitting the bar is a few inches. Hitting one in is almost entirely skill. For coolness under pressure, watch Pirlo saunter up to the line, look Hart in the eye, and then whack the ball straight down the center in the Euro 2012 quarterfinals. (Or watch Panenka's OG shot in 1976) Now compare that to one of the Brazilians whacking the ball down the center straight into the arms of the goalie in this match. If you don't see the skill difference involved, that's not soccer's problem. Yes, there's an element of luck in any high stakes sports match. Penalties don't seem any more arbitrary or luck-based than the rest of the game. As people point out re. Silver's 538 analysis, he fails to take into account that penalties are a discrete skill, and you can pretty accurately predict who will win penalty shoot outs based on previous penalty shoot outs (hint: it's not going to be England). Silver is looking at team Elo rankings vs. winning penalties, not at previous penalty shoot outs, so he's messed up his analysis by assuming that A is a proxy for B when it isn't.
In terms of game outcome, I would hypothesize that penalties favor teams with strong individual players and disfavor teams which are better than the sum of their parts (e.g. Brazil vs. Chile). A team which is carried by one superstar like Portugal or Uruguay is also at a disadvantage as a Ronaldo/Suarez can't take all 5 shots. Likewise, a coach who thinks they're going to be playing lots of penalties can pick players for that ability and bank on being the better team at that point. You can call that fair or not, but you could also say that a truly better team would be able to win in regulation or overtime. By the time you get to 120 minutes at a tie, neither team is overwhelming better than the other, and either team winning is not a serious injustice.

Stoppage time seems pretty accurately correlated to the amount of time spent with people rolling on the ground. Most people roll around for a few seconds, every once in awhile with a real injury the game stops for about 30 secs to a minute. I've not timed it, but I can usually predict stoppage time based on this. If you added up the number of seconds play was stopped due to people rolling on the ground, you would get around 1-6 minutes per quarter. Since people are injured/rolling at different rates in the two halves, stoppage time is different for the two halves.

Also what is this nonsense about soccer players not getting exhausted? Are people actually watching the same sport I am? Sprinting long distances for two+ hours with minimal breaks is far more athletic than any popular sport in America. By the end of 30 minute over time, the players can barely lift up their feet. I'm not sure what the point would be to force people to play on past most human capacity for exercise, but it doesn't seem like it would result in a less arbitrary decision than penalties. As others have noted, making players play nonstop for hours and hours change how people played and would result in a really boring terrible game to watch.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 9:47 PM
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We watched today's shootout with German audio. I have to say I think Elfmeter is a much better word for it than penalties, since there's no penalty.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 10:16 PM
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(somewhat) shorter me:

Penalty taking is a skill, not a proxy for another skill. To say it's random is a bit like saying possession of the ball is random, or shots on goal is random, because possession of the ball or shots on goal doesn't correlate strongly to having the higher ranking. Of course, being good at penalty shoot outs does determine W/L records, which in turn determine rankings, except it's such a rare way to settle a game that it doesn't factor in all that much. If penalties were a common way of finishing a game, then a team good at penalties would have a higher ranking, and you'd see a correlation between ranking and winning penalties.

Importantly, just like you can pretty accurately predict which team will hog possession or which team will have more shots on goal, you can also pretty accurately predict which team will win the penalty shoot out before it occurs. If penalty shoot outs were random, you would expect either team to have a 50% chance of success.



Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 10:18 PM
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332/3: Now defend FIFA.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 11:22 PM
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Nobody except the numerate idiots at 538 actually says penalty kicks are literally random. Also, no one has said soccer players don't get exhausted.

I'm surprised no one's come in to declare that sudden death soils the memory of the few great games where teams scored multiple goals during extra time. Anyway, I have no problem with extra time as it is and don't think they should have messed with it when they tried the golden goal. You can have regular extra time and then follow that up with additional extra time that is now sudden death, but for reasons expressed in this thread, I don't think that will happen.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 11:33 PM
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Other things no one has said: that regular gameplay doesn't involve luck or an element of randomness. What regular gameplay does involve is the game everyone was playing for 120 minutes. Penalties, as Buttercup has said at length and which no one has disputed, are a different game involving a few of the skills that go into the regular game. The purpose of continuing to play the regular game past extra time is to decide the game by continuing to play the same game. It's not going to make it any more fair than having a game decided on a mistake made in the first minute.

The only reason I've ever been able to figure out from this discussion, which I've had many times, that people think deciding a game on bad luck during gameplay after the 120th minute is worse than having it decided on bad luck during the first 120th minutes of gameplay is because people hold the view that 120 minutes is an essential part of what it means to be a soccer game. Of course under that view anything that changes it will appear to be bad.

As for predictions that the game would be worse if they had to keep playing, I don't know. Defensive strategies designed to survive until penalties would go away. Would that be overwhelmed by more conservative strategies of teams that would otherwise attack more? I don't know. They could try it and see what happens - the golden goal experiment shows that things are not so rigid that they can't try new things - but I doubt they will. I think the sudden death part might be very conservative, but the rest of the game might not. Avoiding sudden death periods should be an incentive to take more risks.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 11:45 PM
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I have no problem with stoppage time, although it's funny how time never runs out when a team is on the attack, getting ready to take an offensive free kick, or preparing for a corner. I don't think they started holding up the official stoppage time clock until the mid-90s. I remember watching a game back in the early 90s with my dad and my half-sister's husband, who is from Scotland, and he explained the rules to us with the caveat that some people were suspicious of the non-transparent nature of stoppage time. The tv broadcast appeared to be guessing at home much time was left, using methods that people in this thread use.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-28-14 11:54 PM
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I think we can predict pretty clearly what would happen with tired players who need to avoid conceding goals: boring football with ten men behind the ball and a target man up front, hoping to score on the break. That's how teams play when they want to win one-nil, which is what golden goal effectively is. How they'd play in the run up? I dunno, does it matter? Seems to me that that's trying to fix something that's not broken.

(I'm not sure if 337 is in jest or not: the referee is meant to refrain from whistling full time while an attack is in progress...)

I don't see why the idea that any given game of football is a game of defined time periods, ideally 90 minutes but possibly 120, is so weird. It's a perfectly rational thing to prefer, that football remains a contest decided by skill, tactics, and athleticism, not just athleticism.

Again, look at traditional football formats: leagues, two legged ties, replays, etc. They all prefer to stop at 90 and have another contest of 90 minutes as a way to resolve ties. It seems to be a pretty clear preference.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 12:31 AM
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After all: the ball is round and the game last 90 minutes.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 12:36 AM
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What's weird isn't the preference for 90 minutes of play, it's that penalties, which are so unlike a 90 minute game, are the preferred way of determining the outcome when regular timed play isn't enough. They're even weirder at the end of a two-legged tie where the teams are tied on away goals. "Oh, that 210 minutes didn't work? Let's just kick the ball at the goal then."

337 is partially in jest. Clearly the refs aren't supposed to blow the whistle to stop an attack. But this contradicts the idea that stoppage time is an objective measure of time lost to stoppages. Every other sport with a clock has situations where people are at risk of not getting shots in time, no matter how close they've gotten to the goal. I'm not complaining about it, exactly. It does make it more exciting to allow attacks to develop and run out.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 12:41 AM
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Does the FA Cup still do replay + penalties during the rounds? That seemed kind of weird, but whatever replay I remember watching was fun. Some Premier League team against some much lower division team in the third-round.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 12:43 AM
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I think 340.2 confuses stoppage time and the ref's discretion to end play when it doesn't hamper an attack etc. Rugby stops at the first point the ball goes out of play after 80 minutes, which is a similar concept to football's discretion to stop when not hampering an attack etc, except that because rugby stops very much more often than in football, there's no need for the ref to make a subjective call in the same way.

Football prefers football to not-football to pseudo-football. That seems perfectly rational. The choice isn't penalties or weird variants of the game, it's penalties or drawing straws.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 12:49 AM
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341 --- yes, the FA Cup still does replays (plus extra time, plus penalties) for everything but final and semi-final, as does the Scottish Cup.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 12:56 AM
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Eh, I really don't care about the stoppage time thing.

I don't know what you mean by pseudo football. If you mean the crazy ideas about changing the rules put forth above, ok, but that's never been my position. Continuing to play the game isn't really that weird a variant of the game. It may be less practical, physically and possibly even mentally than penalties, though some players appear to be real basket cases when they have the pressure of taking a penalty, but it isn't weirder. Drawing straws is weirder. I probably wouldn't watch a televised straw drawing, but I'm not sure I'd enjoy it much less than watching penalties.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 1:05 AM
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It would be interesting to know how many overtime hockey games go multiple overtimes. Sudden death hockey is also effectively a 1-0 game and there's an incentive to be defensive but you don't hear too many people talking about how boring overtime games are in hockey. It was weird when a game went to overtime at 3-3 and then it took 5 overtimes for a team to score again. But that doesn't happen often and isn't what teams strategize for.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 1:11 AM
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344 -- weird things like the NASL shootout procedure, etc. One of the reasons the rest of the world is wary about Americans with clever ideas.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 1:31 AM
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I think the MLS tried something like that when it started, but to break ties in regular games. Maybe it was in the playoffs too, but I don't remember. It really was weird. I think if you're going to have a shootout, run it the way the rest of the world works. Having a different kind of shootout doesn't change the fact that you're still ending the game in a shootout, so you're not solving that problem. This idea has not been proposed in this thread.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 1:51 AM
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I'm not entirely serious here in my blanket condemnation of clever American ideas.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 1:53 AM
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261 and 265 have both been seriously proposed in the past and rejected for reasons I don't remember. 261 is probably impracticable.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:49 AM
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Overtime doesn't have to be sudden death -- just extend out 20 minute periods of play indefinitely until someone actually wins the game by playing the sport. The only objection I've seen to this is that somehow soccer players shouldn't have to play tired, which is just fucking ridiculous. If you need to; allow some more substitutions in overtime to coddle these Eurowusses.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:15 AM
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The objection isn't that they get tired. The objection is that as they get increasingly tired, they play more and more defensively and attack less and less, and there seems to be the potential for an infinite-length game.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:18 AM
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Yes but if so there is an obvious fucking strategy to exploit, just like in every other sport where people play tired.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:22 AM
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Spell out the obvious strategy? Withhold a sub or something?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:23 AM
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Press enough so that you're exhausting the exhausted defenders, then score and win. If defense really is way easier than offense you should be able to do this without wearing out your own defense, and should consistently win overtimes. Or sub in a set of fresher players to the extent the rules permit and use those guys on offense. At some point someone needs to score to win. Also, so what if there are a series of multiple overtimes in a major single-game elimination tournament that has a max of seven games over a thirty day period and is played once every four years.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:36 AM
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That is so incredibly muddled that I don't know where to even start. I think every sentence except the last is deeply flawed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:41 AM
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OT: Goodbye hometown.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:45 AM
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Why don't exactly the same issues apply to hockey? Apparently because soccer is some unique fairy universe where you can't press a tired defense into making a mistake?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:46 AM
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I don't get what is arbitrary or discontinuous about penalties at all. The point of soccer is to kick a ball into a goal which is defended by the other team. Penalties are basically soccer pared down to its essence. It's a particular skill, but it's not unrelated to the rest of soccer. Being able to kick a ball into a goal by either physically or mentally outwitting the goalie is the most fundamental required skill of soccer. If you notice, generally top strikers tend to be top penalty kickers. If ties were decided by break dancing competitions or something, then that would truly be arbitrary. If the real issue is you find it boring, that's a different issue from being unrelated to or relying on an unrelated skill set than the rest of soccer.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:46 AM
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Press enough so that you're exhausting the exhausted defenders, then score and win. If defense really is way easier than offense you should be able to do this without wearing out your own defense, and should consistently win overtimes.

I mean, what? Why don't they just apply this strategy during the first 90 minutes and just win? Why not just score more goals, guys, huh?

Or sub in a set of fresher players to the extent the rules permit and use those guys on offense.

Change the rules to allow more subs? Or not use your subs to try to win in the first 90 minutes? Or just wait until the ref tells you that you're really close to scoring and then sub all three in?

At some point someone needs to score to win.

Well no. The fear is that, in fact, no one will score, and the game will extend past everyone's agreed upon patience by hours and hours.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:46 AM
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357: See 238.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:47 AM
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I mean, I am not a pk purist - see 243 for my proposed solutions. I'm just saying that you're not engaging with what people are actually worried about, with infinite overtimes or sudden death.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:49 AM
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3 subs totals are allowed, with no reentry for a subbed player.
the players play about forty+ games per year... these specific natl teams add on a few games per year. there is plenty to indicate they are probably at the limit of responsible play.

and your strategy doesn't make sense. if you press unsucessfully you will open yourself to be scoreds upon. hence nobody will take that in overtime


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:50 AM
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Oh, this thread is so long now because of trolling.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:54 AM
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354
Literally sudden death? Play until one someone dies from heat exhaustion or overexertion. Team with most living members wins. Or play until it's just the goalies kicking the ball to each other, and one of the goalie's legs fall off? Is there no unreasonable limit of time? 24 hours? 100 hours?

Sprinting 7-10 miles is already at max human capacity to sprint. Requiring more distance involves a trade off. In this case, it would be speed. You'd be making all of soccer way more boring in order to prevent the rare penalty kick off. Doesn't seem worth it.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:06 AM
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363 is correct.

IMO, people who find Elfmeter boring should consider seeking medical attention.

My view on this may be influenced by the German announcer saying yesterday, after the game, that he had a Gaensehautentzuendung.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:16 AM
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Oh, good I was worried I might have made a mistake until I read 359. Yes, you should play the same kind of game that got you into the tie in the first place -- that's the whole point of playing the game, and (ideally) whatever offense/defense strategy you're playing in the regular play of the game should also be one for overtime. I thought the Keir/Josh objection was that tired play somehow produced nothing but boring defense because of some unique feature of soccer meant that tiredness favored defensive play. There's an initial question of "so what, just play 'til one team actually wins." But even conceding that this would theoretically be a problem if true, (because it would lead to long overtime periods or whatever) the obvious solution is to come up with an offensive strategy for overtime that exploits a tired defense. The bottom line is that in a game you need both an offensive and a defensive strategy, and this is as true in overtime as it is in any other part of the game. (If the argument is now that overtime can't work because "why not just score goals earlier"'that's just beyond dumb. As for subs, you would use subs strategically to provide a more refreshed -- maybe even more offensively minded! -- team, just like in every other sport.)

Seriously, this thread has convinced me Walt is right -- soccer fans will literally defend anything, no matter how indefensible, including the fact that the major championship of their sport is largely decided on total bullshit that doesn't involve playing the game.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:16 AM
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364 is hopefully the stupidest thing I'll read this week. Yes, my God -- there is NO THEORETICAL LIMIT TO OVERTIME. How have they solved this fundamental theoretical problem in any other sport?

Hockey goes to shootouts in the Olympics because that is a bullshitty version of the regular professional sport, and players don't want to put risk on their professional careers. If the World Cup is actually the major championship of the sport, it should allow overtimes, like the Stanle Cup playoffs do.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:23 AM
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If the problem with overtime really is exhaustion, tweaking the rules to allow more subs in overtime seems like a smaller change to the nature of the game than anything else I can think of. But I have no idea how big a roster is -- does the limited number of subs generally allowed mean that additional players to sub in literally don't exist?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:27 AM
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367: it's way closer to the olympics than the Stanley cup--these guys do get bonuses from the national setup, but this isn't their regular job.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:29 AM
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Usually 18 people on the bench, LB. You could broaden it, I guess.

Halford is being stupid: they do use the subs strategically already--usually to try to get the best result. If you change the rules to open ended overtime, they certainly will adapt, but the game will be worse and the feedback loop will tend to drive you to more ties, thus more overtimes: fucking stupid way to address too many tie games


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:32 AM
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I thought the Keir/Josh objection was that tired play somehow produced nothing but boring defense because of some unique feature of soccer meant that tiredness favored defensive play.

Right, this is the standard argument.

There's an initial question of "so what, just play 'til one team actually wins." But even conceding that this would theoretically be a problem if true, (because it would lead to long overtime periods or whatever) the obvious solution is to come up with an offensive strategy for overtime that exploits a tired defense.

Seriously, Halford, this is super silly. "Why don't they just play BETTER than the other team and win with their BETTERNESS?"

368 seems like a perfectly reasonable solution, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:35 AM
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the obvious solution is to come up with an offensive strategy for overtime that exploits a tired defense. The bottom line is that in a game you need both an offensive and a defensive strategy, and this is as true in overtime as it is in any other part of the game....As for subs, you would use subs strategically to provide a more refreshed -- maybe even more offensively minded! -- team, just like in every other sport.)

Holding back subs requires playing like you assume every game will go into overtime. Most teams sub in players earlier on for strategic reasons or a player gets injured in the 15th minute or whatever. The goal is to win in 90 minutes, not play to win in overtime. Playing to win in 90 minutes is totally incompatible with playing to win in 400 minutes, or whatever. A team that went all out in 90 without scoring is dead in the water at the 200th minute, even if they dominated play in the first 90. In other words, you're asking teams to have to mutually incompatible strategies (defense & offense in regular vs. overtime), and when pointing out something has to give, you're not pointing to anything. Exploit an exhausted defense? Yeah, sure. That's what teams want to do. That's basically like saying "score goals." The point is, when players are exhausted, pressing opens you up to a counter attack much more than defending does.

You're assuming the interest of the viewer and the teams are the same. It's in the viewer's interest for someone to score a goal in X amount of time. It's in the team's interest to not give up a goal in X amount of time. If not giving up a goal means not scoring a goal, it's in the team's interest to do so.

Also, I think penalties are exciting and fun to watch. This isn't some universally held opinion that they're boring and bad for soccer.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:35 AM
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Yes, 368 seems right; an easy solution would be to change the rule described in 362 to permit, say, 3 additional subs in overtime. Further to 362, I understand (of course!) that pressing in offense can create defensive vulnerabilities, but if tired defense is much easier to play than tired offense, this also limits the defensive risk to a team that's willing to press a bit on offense. In any event (and this is true in any sport) it's not an immediately obvious choice without considering players, specific game level tactics, etc.*

*sudden death does make the potential problem worse, since the consequence for risk-taking is immediate loss. So successive overtimes would probably be better than sudden death.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:37 AM
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I wonder if Halford thinks trotting races are the best kind of horse race out there. Because that seems to be hat he wants to turn football into.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:37 AM
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I'm thinking that Halford has major misconceptions about the extent of strategy in soccer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:41 AM
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364 is hopefully the stupidest thing I'll read this week. Yes, my God -- there is NO THEORETICAL LIMIT TO OVERTIME. How have they solved this fundamental theoretical problem in any other sport?

Maybe because no other sport is exactly like soccer? If you think there should be a limit to overtime, then what is it? State it. At what point do you call it a draw, and how do you choose who goes through? MOAR OVERTIME AND JUST SCORE A GOAL GODAMMIT is not an answer to what the limit of overtime is. If 100 hours is obviously ridiculous, then what isn't? 1 hour? 3 hours? 5 hours?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:44 AM
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You could do the tennis Grand Slam thing and simply call it a night and restart the next day, and the day after that. Tennis players certainly need to do a lot of sprinting and other intense physical exertion. And the really insanely long matches are extremely rare. Also no subs allowed.

I don't really have an opinion either way on the merits, but the argument that you couldn't do unlimited sudden death overtime seems silly. You could also do multiple stage round robins and avoid penalty kicks that way.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:50 AM
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I'm on board with 377 as well. I'm fine with unlimited sudden death overtime, too.

What I'm arguing against is the nonsense that unlimited overtime will obviously spur Innovation! and Strategy! and Strategic Disruption of Innovation! and with this extra strategy the games need not drag out past everyone's bounds of patience.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:54 AM
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You could do the tennis Grand Slam thing and simply call it a night and restart the next day, and the day after that.

This could be done, but it would be a logistical headache for organizing a tournament. It also doesn't seem like an obviously better option than penalty kicks.

I disagree that unlimited sudden death won't change the nature of the game for the worse. The idea of teams playing to conserve energy for a potential 4 hour slog would ruin the game far more than penalty kicks, which I personally don't think ruin the game at all.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:03 AM
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Who wants to watch two teams run around for two hours until everyone is too tired to do anything interesting?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:07 AM
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If you think about it, if you're playing a slightly better team, the obvious strategy is to park the bus and hope to wait them out. By hour X their players are tired, and you have a hope of them making a stupid mistake. Now, if the better team is playing the same strategy, you could end up with days of nothing. In a high stakes tournament, sitting on the ball with a 10 man defense for three days might be preferable to going out.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:10 AM
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Other options besides infinite game of dullness: compete on corner kick set pieces.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:10 AM
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Since no one probably cares about this any more but me, I'll just keep talking to myself here. Tennis and soccer are fundamentally different, which is why infinite sets works in tennis but would work less well in soccer. Every single set has to end with a result of some sort, and usually fairly quickly. Even long volleys rarely last more than a minute or two. If players are matched the points tend to even out, but points are scored, and they have to be. As players get tired they make mistakes and lose points they would have scored otherwise, eventually leading to a win. Soccer doesn't have to work that way. Two teams could diddle the ball around the middle for infinity. There's really nothing to prevent this, or to prevent half hearted runs on an opposing team that result in nothing. I'm maybe not being clear, but what I'm trying to say is tennis is made up of points which have to be scored, and winning is about getting enough points against your opponents. Soccer doesn't have to result in goals. It's unlikely, but you could have two teams playing at 0-0 into infinity. Moreover, the longer soccer goes on--the more tired the teams are, the less likely they are to play in a way that scores goals. Tennis is the opposite--the more tired you are, the more likely you are to make a mistake which results in your opponent scoring a point.

That is, in tennis, points are passive--not doing anything scores your opponent a point. In soccer, points are active and hard to get. The more tired you are, the harder it is to get a point, and the easier it is to prevent your opponents from getting a point. A long game --> less likelihood of scoring, so prolonging the game just increases the odds of no score.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:24 AM
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382 -- One problem with that is deciding when the set piece is over. http://www.espnfc.com/video/latest-videos/600/video/1914259?&ex_cid=espnapi_affiliate_Google_World_Cup_Video

BTW, Spain's goal against Holland: http://www.espnfc.com/fifa-world-cup/4/video/1878381?&ex_cid=espnapi_affiliate_Google_World_Cup_Video


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:27 AM
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To 371 et al, are you really saying that there is no possible strategy in soccer for playing offense against a tired defense? That doesn't seem likely. "Offense creates defensive risks in a low scoring game"'is a constant of soccer throughout the game, not just in overtime. And yet somehow offense gets played. I'm not a tactician of the game but, very simply -- if the other team (as Keir suggests) runs a 9 defenders, 1 man on offense scheme, run a more usual 4-4-2 scheme and see what happens; you're not giving up much defensive vulnerability especially since the assumption is that the offense is tired. Obviously there are some overtimes that would drag on forever (which is exciting! cf Stanley Cup) but the idea that this is some necessarily inherent feature of all overtimes that is impregnable to strategy seems nuts.

The risk that actually-played overtime would make the regular time game more boring is both pretty unlikely and something you could solve very easily with subbing rules.

As far as I can tell the real objection is some kind of aesthetic preference for 90 minute games in which the players aren't tired, even at the expense of having your major single-elimination tournament decided by random bullshit like penalty kicks. Which is OK I guess from some kind of aesthetic perspective, but definitely makes the sport bullshitty and wussy.

383 last is ridiculous. Does goal scoring slow down to the point of nonexistence in the second half of matches as players get tired and the iron law of no scoring applies? What about in the limited overtime that exists now?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:28 AM
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Halford's "let them play for hours and hours" proposal is obvious trolling, but I think it's equally obvious that the NASL style of penalties was an improvement over the "kick from the spot". Whenever I see mockery of this concept itis actually mockery of the fact that there was a 15-second clock which would sometimes go off in the middle of a shot. Which is, you know, a totally unrelated issue.


Posted by: cryptic med | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:29 AM
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381 -- so why doesn't every bad team try that strategy now and take their chances on penalty kicks?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:30 AM
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386: yeah I liked the hickey penalties too


Posted by: Turgid jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:31 AM
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387: They do.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:35 AM
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As far as I can tell the real objection is some kind of aesthetic preference for 90 minute games in which the players aren't tired

Have you ever watched a game in your life? You think the players don't look tired at the end? They run over 7 miles. What YOU want is a 90-minute game in which the players aren't tired, because they need to pace themselves for potentially playing another 90 or 190 minutes.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:35 AM
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Sub in "aesthetic preference for games in which the players aren't *too* tired." And as I said above (and is obvious) the problem of slowing down the in-90-minute play is easily solved by changing the substitution rules (assuming it's a problem -- the regular time play in eg the Stanley Cup isn't slowed down by the possibility of playing overtimes).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:42 AM
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389 -- and yet, somehow, this doesn't always work.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:43 AM
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387

Plenty of bad teams do.

Does goal scoring slow down to the point of nonexistence in the second half of matches as players get tired and the iron law of no scoring applies? What about in the limited overtime that exists now?

You're missing the point. First, players simply aren't that tired in the second half of the game, and actually there's extra pressure to score, so the reverse happens. You better believe Brazil was doing everything they could after halftime to score. Secondly, it's not simply that players get tired. It's that teams who know they're going to have to play for an unknown amount of time will play differently, in a way that is less interesting to watch. If you know you have to play for max 120 minutes, you can still choose to go all out or conserve energy, but you know there's a limit to the energy you must conserve. There's also no benefit to conserving excess energy. If you could theoretically play for 3 hours or 5 hours, or to play for days on end, you're going to have to play differently starting from minute 1. Introducing more subs in overtime would obviously help with player fatigue, but this would radically change the game in ways that penalties don't.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:43 AM
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pwnd by 389-390


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:47 AM
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393.last is just trolling, right? You can't possibly actually believe that?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:51 AM
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Well our internet is down, and I'm not going to wade into this over my phone, so I'm outtie.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:52 AM
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So the argument now is that allowing a subbing system that looks like any other sport is worse than not allowing the game to be decided by actually playing the game? The former rewards team depth, the latter ...? The "pacing to play overtime"'argument is probably real but also probably pretty overstated; there's the psychological fact (again in other sports you see this) that playing hard in regulation means you don't go to overtime at all. Combined with a reasonable subbing system for overtime there's not much reason to think it would be a problem.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:54 AM
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Hockey's Core game length is 60 minutes with two 17 minute intermissions, a few timeouts, and two full replacements for forwards and one for defenseman, occurring regularly.

Soccers core game length is 90 minutes with a 15 minute intermission, seriously rare timeouts, and precisely three players can be subbed with no possible returns.

But, there are relatively common stoppages of play and goals in both, so Yeah, hockey is totally like soccer and I can see why soccer should look to hockey for game management guidance!


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:59 AM
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393
Maybe a little bit of trolling. I don't feel strongly about the number of subs allowed in the current game, and I do actually think that extra subs in overtime would probably be good, but I do think allowing for potentially unlimited overtime with potentially unlimited subs would make the game worse. I actually enjoy penalties, and I enjoy that soccer is no more than 120 minutes long. I think it adds necessary pressure into the game for people to try to get shit done in the allotted time period.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:00 AM
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So the argument now is that allowing a subbing system that looks like any other sport is worse than not allowing the game to be decided by actually playing the game?

No. Plenty of us have said that LB's 368 would be totally fine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:01 AM
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Look there used to be one sub allowed instead of three. Before that, none. You will not make inroads on the substitution front.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:01 AM
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I suppose that wasn't aimed at me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:01 AM
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Okay maybe you could get one sub per over time. But it'll be tough.

And mostly I'm just reacting to RHs obvious trollery, per heebies disruptive innovation comment.

I like thinking about minor fun tweaks to the rules, honestly.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:05 AM
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My attitude is, "if it's not broke, don't fix it"

People who actually enjoy soccer don't seem to have problems with penalties, and all the solutions seem to be coming from people who seem to actively dislike the game. I think there's plenty wrong and annoying with FIFA, including unwillingness to introduce basic measures to make the game more objective, but the fact that soccer isn't played like hockey or tennis isn't one of them.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:06 AM
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No, but I think getting the change through will be a slog. I also like that the total time is generally quite predictable.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:07 AM
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Ok then! Comity with 400, but not 399.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:09 AM
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I'm willing to believe that most alternatives to PKs might be worse. But PKs are incredibly stupid things, and I'm not going to be convinced by arguments of someone who doesn't start from that fact.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:10 AM
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One sub per overtime seems reasonable. Two subs also seems reasonable. The danger is if you sub too many players, you basically get the same countries playing a second different match with their B team. I suppose you could have a rule that if in 90 minutes, two countries' A teams haven't won, you go to a full time regulation match with their B teams, and if that doesn't work than move to the C team, and so forth, but that just seems more bizarre and ridiculous and time consuming than going to penalties.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:10 AM
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But, I do think that if this problem isn't fixed, soccer remains at best a second tier, not quite legit sport, maybe like NCAA basketball. You just can't have your biggest event decided so randomly without being kind of a bullshit sport. Maybe having the WC tournament be a giant round robin instead of single elimination would be better, the problem is that being the WC "champion" is a much-lessened honor in the current system.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:14 AM
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But PKs are incredibly stupid things

See, this I just don't get. PKs add an element of excitement and they rely on a fundamentally related set of skills necessary to score in normal match. They force goal scoring into a game where there could hypothetically not be any. Moreover, knowing the game is going to PKs at 120 minutes, they force players try to play for a result in the 2 hour time frame.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:16 AM
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Fundamentally, PKs just don't have any of what makes soccer appealing. There's no flow. There's none of the beauty of a good goal. No one would watch a sport that consisted of penalty kicks, because it would be a terrible terrible sport.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:19 AM
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I came into this argument broadly hostile to penalties as a device for second order tie breaking, but Halford has almost convinced me that they're not such a bad idea after all.

1. Penalties are an intrinsic part of the game. The striker vs. the keeper, mano a mano in a set piece, is the standard way of dealing with an infringement and it's rare that this doesn't happen at least once in the course of normal time. It isn't something that's just been dreamed up as a quick fix.

2. From the spectator's point of view, they're fucking exciting. You can cut the tension with a knife during a shoot out, even if the rest of the game has been seriously dull.

3. Also from the spectator's point of view, nobody wants a match to drag on past two hours. This is a game where you have to pay attention, you can't just wander off and get a hot dog. Everybody is tired after two hours, not just the players.

4. The players approve it; the organisers approve it; the vast majority of the paying customers approve it.

5. At the end of the day it is only a second order tie breaker; it doesn't happen very often.

Fuck it. It ain't broke enough to be bothered fixing.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:19 AM
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PKs during regular play are also stupid. They're inevitably either too big a punishment or not enough of a punishment, and they're always the most boring highlight at the end of a match. You can't watch a video like this without seeing that PKs are the worst kind of goals in soccer. It's all beauty and awesomeness interspersed by the occasional PK stupidity.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:25 AM
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I like penalties, they're exciting. That the worse team can sometimes win is part of soccer's charm.

The alternative to penalties in soccer is replays - you play a new game a several days later, like in the FA cup. That would wreak havoc with the world cup schedule, and the clubs who own players contracts wouldn't stand for it.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:25 AM
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Everything in 412 except 4 would also apply to settling tied NBA games through a dunking contest.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:25 AM
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You just can't have your biggest event decided so randomly without being kind of a bullshit sport.

But as we have established above, PK results aren't random.

Also, I'm being really serious, watch Pirlo taking penalties in Euro 2012 and then watch Panilla in Brazil vs. Chile and tell me if you can't see a skill difference. Two guys both punting it down the middle, totally different results.

(Here is Euro 2012, can't find a video offhand of Brazil/Chile)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj08RmCgk3E


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:26 AM
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What I want is subtitles for crowd chants. English and whatever language the crowd is chanting.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:26 AM
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412: So now you support penalty kicks out of tribal loyalty? You'd be surprised the number of people in the US who supported the Iraq war on those grounds.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:27 AM
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A huge huge part of PKs is a scissors-paper-rock game that is random. Yes there's some skill involved, but I don't think it's unfair to describe it as much more random than most sporting events.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:29 AM
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Or, more plausibly, free throws. Yes there would be some excitement to settling basketball games by freethrows, but freethrows are the stupidest part of basketball. Free throws at the end of basketball games are already the fundamental problem of basketball as a sport.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:31 AM
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I see this argument has gotten stupider overnight.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:31 AM
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through a dunking contest

No. The better analogy is free throws, which, hey, actually is how many games are decided. The better counterfactual analogy is a series of players playing one-on-one with the other team's best defender, which would be awesome.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:37 AM
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But being good at penalties IS related to being good at soccer. As I wrote above but nobody probably read, kicking an unsaveable goal into the corner of the net vs. hitting the post or the bar is a difference of inches, and being able to do it, exhausted and with crazy pressure, requires mad skillz. Psyching out the goalie and punting it softly down the middle straight into the net like a boss? Giant cohones. I'm not sure how actual humans (vs. robots pretending to be human on the internet) can find this dull, especially if they've just invested two hours in watching the match


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:38 AM
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Off topic, or maybe on topic: how are there so many empty seats in Netherlands - Mexico? Did fans of other teams expect to be there and then those teams didn't make it through?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:38 AM
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424: also I guess some are camping out in concessions areas with tvs? It is pretty hot


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:39 AM
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I'm not saying I find penalties at the ends of games boring. But the excitement is entirely the situation and not the activity. I wouldn't feel like I missed anything if they turned off the video during PKs.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:40 AM
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Everything in 412 except 4 would also apply to settling tied NBA games through a dunking contest.

If you can persuade the NBA to settle tied contests by throwing the players in a nearby pond (and what? See who gets out first?), I will entirely support you. Sounds like great television.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:41 AM
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Also, Heebie is totally sexist for ignoring my 249 in favor of LB's 368. I'm not convinced that infinite golden goal time with extra subs would be as dull as people think. The possibility of death from exhaustion would motivate some offense. How aggressive to be would be a coaching decision, like any other.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:41 AM
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How about this: you keep the same in-game rules but shorten the round of 16 to a round of 8 (decided by round-robin to get in! I thought the WC group play was excellent). In the round of 8, semis, and finals, each team plays the other 3 times and 2/3 wins. If all three matches are ties, fuck it, at that point flip a coin or do a penalty kick or have a match of death with unlimited 20 minute overtimes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:41 AM
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Free throws are the essence of soccer. You try to hit the ball in, someone tries to block it. Most of what makes soccer long and boring on the field is that teams try to prevent the ball from ever going near a goal in the first place. Forcing people to try to score goals and forcing the goalie to block them, one on one, is kind of awesome. Not as an every game sort of thing, but definitely as a once in awhile sort of thing.

And to reiterate, 1) PK results aren't random, and being good at them isn't random. 2) PKs aren't arbitrary: being good at them doesn't require a separate set of skills from being good at soccer. 3) if teams get down to PKs, they're equally enough matched that either team winning isn't an unfair result.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:46 AM
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I can't believe Halford has trolled us this long. Here's an idea for a sport. Let me pick 100 major league baseball players and have them run a mile. The game will be predicting how many of them will die.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:46 AM
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How about golden goal, but if no one scores in overtime then neither team advances.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:47 AM
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You could make PKs more awesomer if you gave each kicker 30 seconds to beat one defender and the goalie. I'd watch that all day.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:48 AM
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Soccer is all about striking the ball a single time and never passing to your teammates. I don't see how people can fail to grasp this essential fact. All the most beautiful goals in soccer have been scored on set pieces with no prior build up where the kick is unobstructed by defenders.

Also, telling teams they have to win by one goal will obviously lead to teams not trying very hard to score one goal during minutes 0-120 and especially not after minute 120. This is also an essential part of the game.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:53 AM
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I can't believe Halford has trolled us this long.

He'll never win this way, though. We need to go to penalty trolls.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:53 AM
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If you like PKs, then you should really watch more baseball. Which really has a lot in common with PKs, but with an actual interesting game built around it.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:56 AM
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He'll never win this way, though. We need to go to penalty trolls.

That's the unsporting way to troll. Unlimited overtime with unlimited substitute trolls is the only way.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:59 AM
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Baseball is a set of penalty bats where teammates take turns at being ball boys.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:01 AM
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There must be some good way to run an elimination tournament where you allow draws except for the final. Basically, a single loss or two ties and you're eliminated.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:01 AM
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425: It does look like people are only avoiding the unshaded areas.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:02 AM
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hy is everybody referring to the Netherlans as Holland? Are there no players from Eindhoven, for example?

I expect Mexico to clean up in this half, as it gets hotter.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:10 AM
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I dunno, maybe a Round Robin past the group stages would work would work, except it seems like it would take out some of the excitement inherent in knock out stages. There's something exciting knowing that, within 130 minutes from the start, one team will win and one will lose. Maybe it would be fairest to have every team play every other team, and then pick a winner based on the total results, except that wouldn't be as much fun to watch as a spectacle. Again, most matches don't end with PKs, so I'm not sure it's worth redesigning the tournament to avoid, even if you dislike them.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:15 AM
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It's something like 1/5 games, right? (2/7 in each of the last Euros and 2/15 in the last world cup.) That's pretty frequent.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:20 AM
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The World Cup format has changed quite a bit over the years, including one year with only group stages and a few years with multiple group stages.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:21 AM
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Luristan!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:27 AM
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The idea of fans of US sports of almost hilarious parochiality giving advice that soccer, the number one global sport, should be more like those sports: top comedy trolling.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:28 AM
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444. Yes, nowadays they let the odd non-European/Latin American team participate, so they have to redesign it to accommodate everybody.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:30 AM
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I also find it hilarious that real games were actually decided by drawing lots, at one point. I guess this is what David the Unfogged Commentator was pointing out above. Yes, shootouts are an improvement over that.

Really, this all started with an observation that, in my experience, people not from the US seem happier with penalties than people from the US. The occasional US penalty fan like Buttercup doesn't really change my impression.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:30 AM
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441.1: Isn't this standard in soccer, for whatever reason?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:48 AM
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448

In fairness the only sports I grew up watching as a family when I was a small kid were the Winter Olympics so I probably shouldn't count as an American sports fan for whatever sociological study you're doing.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:53 AM
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Poor Mexico. So close to the end of the game. So far from the next round.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:56 AM
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Poor Mexico.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:56 AM
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I think American sports fans as a rule are pretty dedicated to the idea that the better team wins. This is often to the point of irrationality (every spot has a huge random element no matter what you do). But Soccer fans seem to go in the opposite direction of actively reveling in the idea that the better team should get robbed reasonably often. This is mostly shown in how soccer fans don't really care much about improving refereeing. But it comes up with PKs too.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:57 AM
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449: In French/Spanish/Italian, at least, I think the Netherlands are referred to as something that translates to English as "Low Countries". I don't know if this slights Belgium.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 10:58 AM
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Univision calls the country Holanda.

453 -- I think calling either "the better team:" if it's tied after two hours of play leads to the wrong result. And as for the dedication to the idea that the better team wins, I really wonder what country you live in. Because it doesn't resemble the one I live in, where fans would like their team to win, by a fluke if not by being better.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:04 AM
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This Dutch commentator is full of it. It was a dive, get over yourself.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:04 AM
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soccer, the number one global sport

I've seen stats that among teens basketball is now more popular globally. How they're measuring that, I have no idea. But hey, we're Americans, we like to make things better.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:07 AM
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Yeah, sucks for Mexico. I was hoping they'd be a major upset. I think this and our surprise tie against Portugal shows how the more naive teams get comfortable and then let up off the ball thinking the last few minutes won't count. You can get away with that maybe against a mediocre team, but Holland or Portugal will punish you for getting sloppy at the end.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:08 AM
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456: It's become pretty amusing to watch him stuck to his guns.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:09 AM
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446: Just like when people complain about McDonald's, the number one global restaurant.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:14 AM
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Univision calls the country Holanda.

Huh. I had the volume too low to really hear it. I did notice they used NED and not HOL, which I think the American TV used to and maybe still has as an abbreviation. French TV definitely used Pays-Bas on the graphic, and I think Italian had similar, but I never paid attention to what the commetators were saying. I thought I saw Spanish TV do something like that too, but I could be lumping all the Romance languages together.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:14 AM
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It was a dive

I don't think so. I think it was a light foul that Robben (characteristically) oversold.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:14 AM
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Yeah, Marquez clearly stepped on his foot. Then Robben exploded.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:16 AM
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461 -- http://futbol.univision.com/fifa-copa-mundial/calendario


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:16 AM
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451 awesome


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:17 AM
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Marquez clearly stepped on his foot

I'm also not 100% sold on this! I think Marquez stubbed Robben's toe, but I'm not sure he was ever on top of Robben's foot.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:20 AM
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466: watch: https://twitter.com/honigstein/status/483308467093262336


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:24 AM
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467: hahahaha


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:25 AM
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464: Yes, and looking around at European TV websites shows Holanda in Spanish and Olanda in Italian. But French TV has Pays-Bas, so I guess it's just France.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:31 AM
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watch

Yeah, it looks like he stepped on it, but not clearly enough for me to say for sure. Either way, I think it was a foul.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:33 AM
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Sweet.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:40 AM
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At least everyone can agree that there was much less of a foul on the play at the end of the second half than the one at the end of the first half, right? Furthermore, the foul at the end of the first half stopped an actual scoring chance, while on this play the ball was going right to a bunch of Mexican players.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:53 AM
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yeah


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 11:55 AM
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472: everyone but Robben: https://twitter.com/BeNeFoot/status/483313505459011584


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 12:13 PM
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471: I'm disappointed that wasn't a picture of a giraffe.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 12:16 PM
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CONCACAF!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:12 PM
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little fish!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:15 PM
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It's a bit remarkable just how often people get away with handling the ball in Soccer. The whole point of the game is that you can't do that, yet why bother having enough refs to be able to enforce it?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:20 PM
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The fact that they allowed rehydration breaks in the Netherlands-Mexico game, for the first time ever, has ruined the perfect sport of football.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:20 PM
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No! US-Portugal was the first water break! USA! We're number 1!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:21 PM
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The US ruined the perfect sport of football. Are you surprised?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:29 PM
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they're just getting the world used to water bresks. in qatar it'll be after every play, with a 40 second clock.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:29 PM
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You can only hydrate five players from each team. Previously, you could only hydrate one player, chosen by lot.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:31 PM
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only by referees discretion


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:33 PM
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ouch


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:53 PM
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In Qatar the games will actually be played in the pool.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:55 PM
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486: fifa and fina execute a strategic merger


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 2:59 PM
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qatar will pay to naturalize three brazilian dolphins and win it all


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:05 PM
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489

Pink air 50 years too late?


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:08 PM
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The end of this game is the best possible refutation of Halford.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:15 PM
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What makes this a refutation? Have they decided they won't go to penalties?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:17 PM
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bc it sucks


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:20 PM
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Why shouldn't it? In 15 minutes they can just kick the ball a few times.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:22 PM
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Everyone is completely out of gas. Continuing this indefinitely would be an atrocity.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:25 PM
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I mean, Greece is a man up! They have a huge incentive to end this before PKs. But it's still a slog.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:27 PM
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And there's another good example. Greece has a 5-on-2 break and can't finish 'cause they're gassed.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:30 PM
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Weird. Why don't they just use strategy?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:32 PM
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494.1: I get that, but indefinite overtime is not a sentence. It's a consequence of not scoring. I think it comes down to whether you think teams will be willing to take more or fewer risks to score. The more I think about it, the more I think the anti-overtimes view is right that risk aversion is the more common approach to championship soccer.

If analogies weren't banned, I'd think of it like distance running, where championships tend to be slower, kickers' races because people don't want to take the risk of front-running.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:32 PM
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495: But Costa Rica equally has a huge incentive to just make it to penalties. A slog favors them.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:35 PM
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499: Are you watching the game? It's not a slog 'cause Costa Rica's doing anything to make it one; it's a slog 'cause Greece has completely run out of ideas and energy and resorted to crosses from deep. It's attacking soccer, but not *good* attacking soccer.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:41 PM
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When Joel Campbell looks affirmatively slow... The game has gone on long enough


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:43 PM
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These guys are barely standing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:47 PM
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Yes, I'm watching and you're right about Greece not attacking well. I think there's a good argument that only a few teams could play entertaining extra time soccer, but it's not like there haven't been good extra times before. This whole game hasn't been great.

I do think Greece would score to put the game out of its misery eventually, and probably not in much more time than penalties would take but we'll never know or be in a position to know. As everyone keeps saying, for most people who watch the games, penalties are fine.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:47 PM
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Anyway, I want to see Costa Rica win.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:49 PM
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Greece would have scored eventually, but they were also a man up.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:49 PM
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CONCACAF!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:55 PM
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Does that win really deserve capital letters?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:57 PM
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concacaf?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 3:58 PM
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I gotta admit, that was sorta lame. I guess goalies can get gassed, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:01 PM
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Pretty sweet. Feel a little bad for the Greek dude who missed. Looked like a grizzled veteran, and it wasn't a bad kick, but he's never going to forget that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:02 PM
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Wait, what was lame?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:03 PM
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On a more important topic, Spanish-language broadcasts need to quit with the GOOOOOOOOOLLLLL stuff already. Who can we invade to make this point forcefully?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:04 PM
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Oh yeah, and does anyone want to keep arguing that penalties aren't a skill after that?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:05 PM
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You've let Halford get into your brain, Josh. That was a great ending. Except for that Greek guy, whose kids hate him now.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:08 PM
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I think Halford has actually mastered the art of causing brain damage with his words. Does anyone think that penalty kicks aren't a skill?

You know, if the three substitution rule hadn't been handed down by Moses, like the rest of the rules of the game, you could solve everything by allowing free substitution at the beginning of overtime.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:19 PM
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I think Halford has actually mastered the art of causing brain damage with his words.

He's been pretty upfront about what he does for work all along.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:28 PM
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511, 514: those penalty kicks were kinda lame! The ones in the Brazil game were exciting, but those just seemed like waiting for somebody to die or fall over or whatever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:29 PM
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The argument was actually that penalty kicks are not the same game as the game that was being played before it was decided by penalty kicks. No argument has been offered to counter that. Most people who watch the game are fine with that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:31 PM
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8 brilliant penalties and a great save.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:37 PM
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No one has countered it because it's silly. Of course it's the same game. Just a variant phase of it, that is resorted to only because the regular game has failed, after two hours time, to produce a winner.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:40 PM
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I'm pretty sure any tiebreaker developed in the 1950s-1970s as an alternative to replays and drawing lots, if it gained acceptance, would be defended the same way penalties are now.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 4:47 PM
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521: "not actually as sucky as the critics think and actually requiring a fair amount of skill"?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 5:02 PM
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522: sure, and also as an essential part of the game. It could be just like penalties but NASL-style, or corners, or even extra extra time of dubious quality.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 5:05 PM
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Halford, the World Cup is like NCAA basketball. It's a four yearly spectacle. The exhaustive "best team" searches are the European leagues, and then kind of the Champions League.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 5:28 PM
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525

521. I agree. What of it? I don't think anyone, here or out in the world, is saying that this is The One True Way that games have to be decided. Just that there's a rational basis for choosing it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 5:46 PM
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Yes, I'm watching and you're right about Greece not attacking well. I think there's a good argument that only a few teams could play entertaining extra time soccer

Those are the teams who have somehow overcome human physiology. Being exhausted and playing poorly after sprinting for two hours in 38C degree weather and 65% humidity is clearly a sign of an inferior soccer team. Germany or Argentina can keep going at 50 degrees, 80% humidity, for at least 5 hours.

I agree. What of it? I don't think anyone, here or out in the world, is saying that this is The One True Way that games have to be decided. Just that there's a rational basis for choosing it.

Yep. I enjoy penalties, but if there were another way of breaking ties that was obviously better, that would be good too. No one in a five hundred comment thread has suggested anything obviously better, and lots of people have found ways that are obviously worse. The more people argue against penalties and for other things, the more I appreciate penalties as a tie breaker.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:42 PM
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525: Because I apparently can't let things go, I'll continue this thread and say that I just mean it isn't silly to say that penalty kicks look like a different kind of game - obviously not an unrelated game and obviously using skills important to the regular game - because they really were something that got added on later. But people are largely ok with that, so much so that they've become considered an essential part of the game to an extent that any alternative is considered to be pseudo or not the same game.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:47 PM
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526.1: Thanks for carrying on the trolling spirit of this thread. I think I can't continue this indefinitely, so something something yesterday's extra time game was better something something variation between games and teams can account for differences in quality something something today's game was not an expression of immutable facts about games something something cough. I'm done.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 6:51 PM
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528 Quick! Where's the sub!

Or in the next 5 comments we can go to penalty trolling. Mano a mano, two commenters. The first to break frame loses. Each side has to go through 5 opposing commenters.

527
There's also the element of thinking that other things have been tried and ruled out and this was settled on in the end probably for good reason. Maybe there were at the time totally BS reasons to go to PKs over drawing straws, but it seems like the evolution of the game is in the right direction. There are also other much bigger problems that deserve the energy of soccer fans, like crappy refereeing or insane FIFA corruption


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 7:25 PM
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530

Oh hey awesome it was another bullshitty day in the most bullshitty of competitions, but for God's sake let's not settle the games by actually playing them, because somehow subbing impossible running 2/3 matches impossible only defense is possible to play when people are tired something something. Of course it's true in the United States that we decide our three major sporting competitions by a round of HORSE, the home run derby, and the quarterback throwing the football through a ring, so what do we have to teach the world.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:28 PM
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531

Troll overreach! It's ok. It's late, you're tired. We understand.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:42 PM
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532

I'm sorry I lack your commitment to being a fake European.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:46 PM
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533

yawn


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:47 PM
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534

Or really, commitment to defending the indefensible about Europe. You know what's awesome? Monarchs and tiny refrigerators.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:48 PM
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535

The legendary Halfjord must be near the Trollfjord.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 8:49 PM
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536

Oh good, the American IP lawyer is here to help fix the sport.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:00 PM
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537

Honestly, and without trolling, I can't even understand the position that penalty kicks *are not a problem.* Of the many solutions proposed here, basically none seem worse and many seem obviously better. And yet US soccer crew remains pompously committed to defending this indefensible system. But why -- it's one thing if you grew up with this particular system and it has familiarity, but to an outsider it's obvious that a pretty good sport is being consistently decided in important ways by non-meaningful play. I feel like denying these facts is a kind of defensive reaction from threatened US fans, but the defensiveness is lame and annoying, you don't have to deny the obvious just because you want to feel like a cosmopolitan.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:05 PM
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538

(I'm actually paying RH to make me appear more moderate.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:07 PM
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539

Substitution! 530 on for 528. Looks like we're staying in overtime.

He may be losing the argument, but Halford is winning the meta 11th dimensional trolling contest. Well over 500 comments and we're still duking it out in the Nth round overtime. If we were more skilled we'd have forced the game comment thread to end on penalties long ago.

Thinking about it, penalties involve two commenters, each allowed one sentence per comment, and they have to say something great about their favorite sport. Or maybe they have to trashtalk the other commenter's sport. First person to run out of things to say loses.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:11 PM
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540

Iberian Fury agrees with you that penalty kicks are lame, Halford.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-29-14 9:14 PM
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541

In French/Spanish/Italian, at least, I think the Netherlands are referred to as something that translates to English as "Low Countries"

And in English.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 12:31 AM
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542

Everyone agrees that penalty kicks are lame. Halford is getting too much credit here -- the pro-penalty-kick side is obviously trolling as well. Buttercup has been trolling for like 200 comments now. Not even Edmund Burke would make the argument in 529.last with a straight face.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 12:48 AM
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re: 541

Yeah, but I always think of the Low Countries as also including Belgium. And bits of the surrounding countries, too.

Hence the linguistics mailing list Lowlands-L [Dutch, Flemish, Frisian, various forms of low German, Scots, etc].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 3:40 AM
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544

Yeah, but I always think of the Low Countries as also including Belgium. And bits of the surrounding countries, too.

Oh sure. It's basically what is known in financial circles as Benelux. I was just amused by the apparent glossing over of the meaning of "Netherlands".


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 3:54 AM
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545

Meanwhile Holland is two provinces out of twelve. They do include Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague, but still.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 4:00 AM
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546

Tiny refrigerators are awesome, it's true!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 4:16 AM
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547

I think I want this.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 6:33 AM
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548

Algeria is pressing pretty impressively so far.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 1:20 PM
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549

548: shoulda had a goal when Neuer got bored and decided he wanted to be an outfield player.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 1:24 PM
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550

Yeah that didn't seem like a smart place for him to be.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 1:35 PM
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551

Meanwhile I'm trying to figure out how the Spanish managed to turn "al-Jaza'ir" into "Argelia".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 1:50 PM
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552

And WTF is up with "algorithm" for that matter.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-30-14 1:55 PM
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