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Congratulations Italy

So much for my skills of prediction -- I thought it would be England vs. Brazil in the World Cup finals. In fact it was Italy (whom many expected to be there) and France (whom hardly anyone outside of France thought would make it that far). Italy won on penalty kicks, shedding a particular demon of theirs in the process. Well done Azzurri.

Though I have good friends with strong ties to Italy, my ties to France (language, friends, time spent there) are much stronger. Also, I was sentimental about seeing one last hurrah from Zidane and Barthez, winners in 1998. So, naturally, I was cheering for France. It was sad to think that after such a spectacular career, this shot of Zizou headbutting Materazzi -- as I write this, we don't know why -- will be an enduring image of him:

Zizou Headbutts Materazzi
I had a crowd at my house that was split not only between Italy and France, but split between soccer fans and neophytes. Interestingly enough, the soccer neophytes, all of whom were pulling for Italy, thought that Zidane's headbutt was incredibly cool and made them like soccer far more.


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Go Materazzi go!! Campioni!

Go Materazzi go!

Who you callin' a neophyte?!

Yay Italy! My Number 1 team!

The old guy who makes samwiches in the cafe here is Italian and he's sooo proud. He always has the games on and tapes newspaper articles to the wall when Italy wins. He's probably in 7th heaven right now.

I was sad it had to end in penalty kicks, and couldn't believe Zidane did that. At first I thought, wow, pretty cool. That guy must have said something really nasty.

But it wasn't a good thing for him not to be around for the rest of the game and not take part in the penalty kicks.

Oh well, I have to say this World Cup has really piqued my interest in soccer.

Can one deduce that you were watching with hockey fans/ Canadians? :) (said the Canuck)

Megan, I don't know what to do with you. Cheering for Italy merely to spite your host? That's just mean. Do you need to go to finishing school?

Emrys, I admit, there's a part of me that actually admired Zidane for what he did. But whatever satisfaction he got from it lasted a few seconds, while his action may have cost France the win. Who knows what would have happened had he been in the game?

Funnygrl, nope, no Canadians to be found. Before the game, we put beer and donuts on the porch, and called, "Here, Canadians," but none came. I guess they've all migrated back north for the summer.

Given your summers, do you blame us?

No, I can't blame Canadians for migrating north. I played soccer myself last night and, near the end of the game, thought I was going to Beckham (puke while playing soccer in hot weather). I was ready to migrate someplace cooler myself.

When do Canadians migrate back south, anyway? I want to know when I should put the back bacon and Coffee Crisp bars in the feeder on the porch. I'd hate to see them go hungry! Plus it's fun to watch them eat through the window, being all polite to one another and picking up their trash when they're done. They're so... Canadian!

Ha ha. I know you think that 'Strange Brew' is a true representation of Canada...but no. Of course, American confusion at the border is endlessly amusing for us: show up at the Manitoba border in July with skis strapped to the roofrack? You have just given some very bored Customs agents something to laugh about for months. Show up in BC trying to buy things with pounds sterling ("But it's BRITISH Columbia...what do you mean you don't accept this currency? Why don't you call yourselves CANADIAN Columbia?"): you'll give us a story to dine out on for years. Remember: Canadians are only polite on the OUTSIDE. Inside we mock everyone--including ourselves.

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