With the Netherlands defeating Uruguay 3-2 yesterday and Spain facing Germany in the other semifinal later today, the 2010 FIFA World Cup is nearly at a close; the only other games to be played are the championship on Sunday and the third place game who cares.
It’s been a delightful World Cup; this is the first one I’ve fully enjoyed with the full power of the Internet behind it (in 2006 there was Deadspin and little else). The vuvuzela meme was so much fun that I grew to enjoy hearing the infernal buzz when I turned the TV on in the morning. And though the officiating was frequently terrible, the commentators were not: ESPN deserves credit for hiring excellent, intelligent broadcasters who elevated the games with their calls — most notably Ian Darke (below: watch/listen to Darke’s call of Giovanni von Bronckhorst’s rocket of a goal yesterday).
Finally, while it’s sad that the USA missed a golden chance to make the semifinals — assuming future advancements to the knockout stage, their quarter of the bracket won’t be filled with second-tier teams the likes of Ghana and Uruguay — it’s also nice to enjoy the games without screaming in angst or feeling ill at a defensive lapse that leads to a goal in the fifth minute. No, I’m happy to enjoy what little world-class soccer is left without seeing Wesley Sneijder and the Dutch destroy my favorite team. Maybe in 2014.