When we last left noted Anne Frank House denier Peter King, he was in Cape Town, South Africa! Yes, Cape Town. The Seattlishest of Seattlish cities in the Southern hemisphere. Did you know our summer is their winter down there? And our winter is their summer? And their urine is our Shock Top? IT’S TRUE! Anyway, Peter is in South Africa to cover the World Cup. It’s one of the great voids in his sportswriting career, along with not getting to know Steve McNair better as a person and learning the difference between a subject and a predicate.
So this week’s MMQB column is all about SOCCER! WOOHOO! Finally! Peter’s expertise plus games that never feature more than two scores combined. SIGN ME UP. Oh sure, Nnamdi Awesomenougat filled in for Peter’s football column this week. But who wants to read that? That’s about stupid AMERICAN football.
No, no. I want to hear Peter’s take on the world’s biggest sporting event. Did he finally find a good cup of coffee on the African continent? Why aren’t Cape Town’s streets as clean as those in the Back Bay? Hey, how’s Peter’s soccer roto team doing? Why did he trade Lionel Messi for that kid from “Ladybugs”? Shouldn’t Bob Bradley only hire his brothers as assistant soccer coaches? ISN’T THAT THE SMART THING TO DO? What did we ever do without recycling? And how is Peter supposed to get a good feel for the Apartheid era if there aren’t black people still being sequestered and whipped to death as part of some kind of tourist attraction Peter can visit? Read on, but before we do… let’s check out that special soccer-only Peter King Twitter feed!
@SI_PeterKing: Condoms available in rest rooms throughout Soccer City Stadium in J-burg. Picked up a pack of 2.
Okay, let’s never check that out again. Onto the column. There’s a 40 percent chance this will be interesting. Wait. Make that 40 percentimeters. They use the metric system in international competitions such as this one. That’s a LEGIT 40 percentimeters.
So I’m standing with the Man of the Match, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, along with an Israeli reporter, in the Mixed Zone underneath Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
Later on, we all played Sawgrass together. ARE YOU NOT DAZZLED BY MY ZELIG-LIKE ABILITY TO MEET EVERYONE AND BE EVERYWHERE?!
For those who aren’t fluent in World Cup/Olympic-ese…
Oooh! Ooh! That’s me! I need help in my Worldcuplympish! All I have are these definitions thus far:
Nil: Zero. Also, misspelling of “Neil”
Yellow Card: Card handed out for trying to, like, take the ball away from someone.
Group of Death: When Peter and Donnie Brasco and Grant Wahl sit together at the JoBurg Caribou Coffee. WATCH OUT, BARISTAS. THEY’VE GOT THEIR EYES ON YOU.
Red Card: What Cup organizers deserve for holding matches in a place where the temperature could drop below 50 degrees! THIS PLACE IS AN ICE CAVERN!
Vuvuzela: The outer part of Pam Whiteley’s famed “bread pudding,” if you catch my drift.
…all participants in a match walk through this Mixed Zone, and reporters can talk to them — or the players can just walk on by. On a chilly Saturday night in a Triple-A stadium in this beautiful country, Wayne Rooney walked on by.
Fucking Wayne Rooney. What a dick. Why won’t you stop and talk to an American reporter you’ve never heard of, who never usually covers the sport you play? Eh, Wayne? And why won’t you answer Peter’s texts?! You’ve got a lot of gall, young man. You’re no Derrick Mason.
Howard stopped. Several times. When the mobs were done with him, I said to him: “This was a great event. The electricity, the drama, you playing hurt, the rivalry. Great stuff.”
“Also, you should be dead. Again, I have no question.”
Howard smiled. “I hope all the Americans in all the bars and all the homes felt the same way. My phone’s been vibrating constantly since the end of the game. It was … it was a great night for the game, and for us.”
Please note that we didn’t actually, you know, WIN this game. Truly, an historic evening. You’ll never forget where you were when the US shocked the world by not beating England.
This was the first time the United States and England have met in a World Cup match since 1950, and it lived up to everything it was supposed to be, despite the 1-1 draw…
“This steak lived up to everything it was supposed to be, despite the fact that it’s actually a sweet potato.”
It had a goat — England’s goalkeeper Robert Green, who Bucknered the tying goal near the end of the first half.
Good fucking Christ, can anyone anywhere make a mistake in sports without some Boston asshole immediately piping up about fucking Buckner? ZOMG! Robbie Green is just like Bucknah! And my waitress just drawpped my French toast! She Bucknahed breakfast! BUCKNAHBUCKNAHBUCKNAH!!!!
It had golden chances for both sides — Jozy Altidore, the Dolphins’ biggest Haitian fan (he’s dying to own season tickets there, and he loves Ricky Williams)…
Well, well. A Haitian fan loves Ricky Williams, does he? PAUL SHIRLEY SAYS YOU PEOPLE SHOULD BE STERILIZED.
…hit the post in the second half, and Emile Heskey, the English forward, had the kind of chance he’ll be dreaming about for years. Think I’m kidding?
I do. I totally think you’re kidding. Emile Heskey blew a goal and it will haunt him forever! HAHAHA! That’s totally a farcical development!
I have every reason to believe Howard has a significant rib injury, and either a severely bruised shoulder or separated shoulder.
I’ve been thinking there’s a strong likelihood Howard has a significant rib injury. And I’m not sure I’ve changed my mind. But two things happened in the past week that made me feel like there might not be rib injury. MAYBE. PERHAPS.
As you know, I’m a neophyte about this game, but am advanced enough in my knowledge of the game to know this:
Are you ready to have your fucking SKULL BLOWN WITH TRENCHANT FOOTBALL ANALYSIS?!
Goalkeepers need to use their shoulders and ribs when diving around the goal area.
Fuck off. I did NOT know that. I thought goalies only dove using their EYES. And you want to know something else? Strikers need to use their feet when kicking the ball. No lie. 100 percentimeters true. I think. Possibly. Again, I’m a neophyte when it comes to both soccer and natural human movements.
Last month, meeting Howard for the first time, I’d asked him about whether he wanted to be the guy with the game in his hands — like a quarterback at his own 20 — at the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, down six on the road with the game on the line.
You think about how astonishingly incorrect that correlation is. Just a reminder: a goalie can’t actually, you know, score goals. He can only prevent them. But hey, Tim Howard, as a goalie, don’t you want to be the guy who gets to take the final kick in a shootout? Or score from your goal when the other team pulls its goalie? That happens in soccer, doesn’t it?
One other observation about the game: (Bob) Bradley knows futbol, and football.
Can HE write this column then?
Drove to Rustenburg Saturday with football editor Mark Mravic (a not-so-closeted socceraholic),
HIS SOCCERHOLISM IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM TO SOLVE!
his son Branko…
Isn’t that a type of bread crumb?
and fellow scribe Mark Bechtel (you can follow Bechtel and Mravic’s adventures on SI’s World Cup blog). It’s a three-hour drive via the scenic route — a sometimes-mountainous, sometimes-Bush-dissecting trip to a stadium in a midsized city known for its platinum — and gold-mining in the country’s North West Province. It’s a Kansas City-type city, I’d guess, rising out of the countryside.
It’s semi-Missouriesque. Because Kansas City, as you know, if famed for its platinum mines.
So we were an hour from the stadium, out in the bush, and I spied a tiny roadside eatery with one table and two barstools called The Garden Café.
And they did NOT have free coffee. This whole fucking country is BIZARRE.
South African Factoid That May Interest Only Me
In my first week in South Africa, I have had waiters named Offer and Quiet.
Those were not names. Those were hints. “Mr. King, I know you’re talking to Bill Parcells on the phone. But it is quite loud. I am OFFER. And that is QUIET. And OFFER and QUIET would be more than happy to assist you get off the phone.”
But those can’t top the first name of my bartender Sunday night in Cape Town.
Still better than Branko. Even Larry Izzo wouldn’t name his kid Branko.
Random NFL Experience in South Africa
I’m here with my wife, and the other day, we were in a cab in Cape Town and the driver asked where we were from.
“I grew up in Pittsburgh,” my wife said.
“The Steelers!!!!” the fellow said.
“You know the Steelers?” she said.
“Everyone knows the Steelers!” he said.
I think if you didn’t like that game Saturday, you don’t like sports.
Or you don’t like soccer. That is also possible.
/sarcasm aside, enjoyed the game a great deal
I think Wayne Rooney has some Michael Irvin in him. He knows when to grab when he can get away with it.
That means nothing.
I think Rooney’s the genuine item.
But why won’t he stop and talk to me?!
You only have to see 97 minutes of soccer to see that.
Well, that should just be the title of the whole column. Things Peter Sees That You Only Need 97 Minutes Of Soccer To See. Wayne Rooney is good! The field is large! Those horns sound like bees! THIS IS SOME SERIOUSLY IN DEPTH SHIT.