Sitting on the couch, watching the World Cup Final, one central theme struck me throughout the first 90 minutes of play...Marcelo Balboa has a huge man-crush on Zinedine Zidane. After Balboa managed to spend 100+ minutes talking about how great Zidane's career has been, how courageous it is to play with an injured shoulder and what a great leader Zidane is, Zidane got himself sent off for arguably the most outrageous head-butt I have ever seen. What was he thinking? That was just an atrocious loss of control by Zidane, but the silver lining is that it makes Balboa look kind of dumb, which I like. In all honesty, I found the first half of this game almost unwatchable. France's goal came on a penalty kick that was generated with a terrible, shameful dive in the box. Balboa declared Zidane's penalty kick to be incredibly clever, but in my uneducated opinion, he just about out-clevered himself out of an easy goal...a few millimeters higher and instead of bouncing in, the ball comes straight down and out. As I just wrote that last sentence, Fabio Grosso buried a penalty kick in the top-right corner of the goal, giving Italy the World Cup. Think the French could have used Zidane in that shootout? I think that I'm more happy than sad at the outcome (considering my disdain for the French team and only mild dislike for the Italians) but had you told me a month ago that an Italy-France final was in store, I wouldn't have watched nearly so much World Cup Soccer this time around. Well, congrats to the Italians all the same. Here come four more years of waiting for the US to get another shot at moving into the ranks of decent soccer nations.
On a totally unrelated note, I've gone ahead and purchased season tickets here at Texas A&M. While reviewing the schedule last week, I discovered that the only significant overlap of Aggie home games and Michigan games occurs on September 30th when Michigan plays at Minnesota and A&M plays Texas Tech. Both are semi-rivalry games, but I plan to monitor the battle for the Little Brown Jug on my portable XM radio while taking in the Tech-A&M battle in person. This game represents the largest threat to A&M starting 9-0, but more on that as the season draws a little closer.