Ageism: 52 Mundial years
Forecast: Turning quiet, with scattered church bells
Looks like real life just returned to Frankfurt. Last night was the final game at the Waldstadion, with the semifinals in Dortmund and Munich, the third-place game in Hannover and next Sunday's final in Berlin. So that means that we too are getting ready to uproot ourselves. But still there's one more day, and it's quiet, and it's a holiday back home, so I'll put up a couple of things around the theme of club vs country, then leave you to your barbecues and cottaging.
First, here's Kevin Mitchell in The Observer this morning, from an article headlined Abramovich strikes -- and Chelsea win the World Cup:
The paradox that attends football is that, while it engages more people than any other sport, reaching into villages in the Andes, housing estates in Slough, penthouses in Minsk, the projects of Chicago, a playground in Cologne, and sustains the hopes of whole nations once every four years, it exists most vividly and more regularly in the imagination of its audience within the confines of a few grotesquely rich clubs.
And one more thing: last December's top 10 in the voting for the FIFA Player of the Year Award, their point totals based on the vote, and how they've gone at this tournament:
1 Ronaldinho 956 ... Out of sorts and out of the tournament.
2 Frank Lampard 306 ... Hands up everyone who thought he looked like the No. 2 player in the world. Anyone for No. 2,000? Perhaps the most disappointing performance here, and certainly one he will carry around for a while.
3 Samuel Eto'o 190 ... Along with Cameroon, didn't make it here.
4 Thierry Henry 172 ... Finally getting it done for Les Bleus. Someone tell me who was supposed to be marking him on Saturday night.
5 Adriano 170 ... Didn't have much of a tournament, and now Brazil are gone.
6 Andriy Shevchenko 153 ... Got to the final eight, but was marked right out of that final game by Italy's Cannavaro.
7 Steven Gerrard 131 ... Rarely showed any of the marauding, explosive package he brings to Liverpool.
8 Kaká 101 ... Brazil's best midfielder here. Along with Henry, the only one on this list to match the position here.
9 Paolo Maldini 76 ... Retired from international play after 2002 World Cup.
10 Didier Drogba 65 ... Could have done more as Ivory Coast couldn't advance out of a tough group.