See You In 2010
I didn't want Italy to win, but at least they were full value for their victory, playing extremely well at the back but not by refusing to go forward at all. In fact, I imagine the Italians finished the tournament 2nd in goals scored, behind the Germans (although if the Argentineans hadn't run into Germany in the quarter-finals, they probably would have been up there as well).
Aside from Zidane's momentary head-butt madness (one wonders exactly what prompted it), France played well in the final. I think it was a mistake to take off Ribery - notwithstanding that he was dog-tired out there, he was still their best hope of finding a way through the Italian defense. Tough luck for the man who replaced Ribery, Trézéguet, his (just barely) missed penalty was the difference and that will be hard to live with for the rest of his days.
I was glad to see the Germans win the third place game with some style, especially against Portugal (says my girlfriend, after another cynical Portuguese play, 'they're the new Italians!') Oh well, good tournament, I hope they give Cannavaro the golden ball since he certainly deserves it, I don't think anyone else was as important to the Italian victory.
So that's probably it for sports around the blog for a while. Although Vancouver City Council votes on the proposed new soccer stadium on July 11th, with public debate on the 10th (Monday) so I'll probably comment on that decision.
The next international soccer events will be the Euro 2008 tournament in Austria/Switzerland and, for all you masochists out there, Canada's next qualifying run for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will probably start in the next couple of years as well. They really should play the key qualifiers in Newfoundland like they did back in 1986, the only time Canada ever qualified for the World Cup.