JLo’s beginner’s guide to the World Cup: Gigi sings, #LePattern rolls on, and the time has come for a new anthem

Yesterday we got to see one of my favorite parts of any international soccer tournament, and it has nothing to do with the game itself. There’s really nothing more thrilling than watching Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon sing his country’s national anthem. It was very similar to this.

Seriously, when was the last time you saw somebody sing ANY song with that much passion? The man’s an opera singer masquerading as a world class keeper. We were robbed of the opportunity to see this before Italy’s opening match since Buffon had to miss the game with an ankle injury, but not yesterday. (If I were an NFL announcer, I would have said he was “out with an ankle,” which is just stupid.) And somewhat amazingly, that was pretty much the highlight for Italy, as they were stunned by Costa Rica, 1-0. I don’t know who the richest person in the world is right now, but if there was somebody out there who bet that Costa Rica would advance to the knockout rounds while Spain and England would be sent packing after their second games, that person is probably in the top ten today.

Perhaps not as shocking as that result was France sticking to #LePattern (thank you Men in Blazers for that) and demolishing Switzerland 5-2. Given their competition so far it is hard to gauge exactly how good the French really are, but they certainly looked impressive swarming forward on the break in their first two matches, and Karim Benzema looks to have his eye on winning the Golden Boot for the tournament’s top goal scorer, even if most of his goals yesterday were disallowed.

The French haven’t been this impressive on the attack since Austerlitz (hey, it’s not often I get to use my history degree, proud of that one.)

Man of the Match: The combination of my Surface, ESPN3, and a Brighthouse wifi connection that allowed to stay up on the proceedings the past two days while working. Cheers. Ok, fine. Karim Benzema.

Speaking of national anthems, I think it is time for those of us in the U.S. to come to grips with the fact that we really need to up our anthem game. Seemingly every country in the world has a better song than ours, and nowhere is it more apparent than at the World Cup (And don’t even get me started on how great O Canada is), where nation after nation is sent out to the field of play with stirring, upbeat anthems extolling the virtues of their home country. The Star Spangled Banner on the other hand is hard to sing and basically a slow dirge about us not losing a battle – not even a glorious victory, mind you, we just managed to live through the night to fight again another day. Inspiring!

The frustrating part is that we have multiple songs that everybody knows that are better, more uplifting, and don’t require somebody who can hit 5 octaves to sing. America the Beautiful? God Bless America? Heck, even the Battle Hymn of the Republic (Dadgummit, I just had my native South Carolinian status revoked for suggesting that.) Any one of those is a better choice. Come on America, let’s make this happen. We deserve better.

Three interesting matches today to look forward to, each for different reasons. Argentina should have no trouble crushing Iran, but any chance to see Lionel Messi play is one that shouldn’t be turned down. In the second game, the U.S. would love to see Germany dispatch Ghana from the tournament for good, and I think they will without much trouble. The best game of the bunch, however, should come at the end of the day where Bosnia and Nigeria will be battling for the second place spot behind Argentina in Group F. I’m picking Bosnia to pick up a 2-1 win here on the strength of an Edin Dzeko brace (shine on you Bosnian diamond!), as well as Argentina 4-0 and Germany 3-0.

Cheers and happy viewing.

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Posted on June 21, 2014, in The Sporting Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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