Top Ten Thursday - Soccer

Welcome back to Top Ten Thursday!

Today let's talk soccer, or football, depending on where you live. 

Could care less, love it, live it? What team are you rooting for? Who's going to win the FIFA World Cup 2018? Who's your favorite player? 

Swiss soccer fans, unfortunately witnessing our last game...

I am going to divide my post into stakeholders:
  1. Teams: as a rule, during the group matches phase, I always support the underdogs, and typically they are so much more congenial than the big nations. So during the first round I loved Senegal, South Korea (mostly for kicking Germany out of the tournament, I'll talk about that later), Panama and Columbia: so much joy, passion - and tears as they dropped out. Surprising - or not - detail: After committing a foul. the Japanese players consistently apologised to the referee, not the opponent they hurt.
  2. Players: This may be totally subjective, but I feel like there are not many players really standing out in terms of charisma and leadership, except maybe Harry Kane. I'm thinking of legends like Pele, Figo, Platini, Beckenbauer or Maradona (he hasn't always been that coked up drama queen!) Where are they these days? Is it a generation thing? I'm aware that I outgrew the players. When I was a little girl, they were grown men. For a while they were potential dates. Now? I could be their Mom. Easily. From that perspective I spotted some decently handsome boys: Kylian Mbappé (France), Eden Hazard (Belgium), James Rodriguez (Colombia) and Roman Torres (Panama)
  3. Hair: As the Mom of a hockey guy who could care less, I'm always amazed by the soccer player's vanity: Neymar must have brought his personal hair stylist, because over the course of the games he played, he had at least three different hairdos. For the record, I liked the last one best.  For the fun of it, have a look at this collection of ugly / epic hairdos  PS: somebody found out what kept causing Neymar's pain: 
    Source: unkkown

  4. Technology: so in succer they FINALLY decided to use goal-line technology and video assited referees. Sceptics were worried about referring too many decisions to the VAR and thus killing the traditional flow of the game. Ahem, what flow? The one  every couple of minutes when a seriously injured (or so they behave) player is groaning with pain on the floor..? In the year 2018 (and with thousands of people in the audience recording with their phones anyway) it is time to use technology if it's available. It prevents referees from making bad calls and takes some pressure off their shoulders.
  5. Referees: see #3 - technology certainly helped them to do a better job. All in all they did well in my opinion. They might have been stricter where our opponent's fouls were concerned, but hey, whatareyougonnado.
  6. Fans: they're the best!! Dressed up, cheering, singing, playing music, being peaceful - just one big party! Apart from the Serbia : Switzerland game, see #8, I haven't heard of any incidence of violence, which is great!
  7. Coaches: What I said for the players goes for the coaches as well. Where are today's Gress and Scolaris? However, two current ones stuck out to me: Jorge Sampaoli (Argentina), short, tatooed guy, pacing back and forth as if his Fitbid asked him to take 20,000 steps on game days. He cracked me up. Sampaoli also had a very hard time staying within his assigned coaching zone. The other one was Aliou Cissé (Senegal) very cool Rasta dude. He seemed to really get his players. After being eliminated due to fair play tiebreaker rules (Senegal had accrued two more yellow cards in the group stage than its Asian counterpart Japan) he showed admirable sportsmanship. 
  8. National Anthems: the national anthems are hands down my favorite part of the games. Let's be honest, most first halftimes are super boring and end with a 0:0. I like to watch the teams singing. Above mentioned underdog teams (and fans) sang way more passionately than the big nations. For that reason I like when an anthem is long, let's take Uruguay. Plenty of time to thoroughly look at the players and the fans and enjoy the atmosphere. Goosebumps, I'm telling you. Tears, too. I can't really tell you why because I'm tearing up not only for Switzerland, but for pretty much every other team.
  9. Politics: while in theory it's all about sports, we can't deny that politics play a role as well, like it or not. We had some drama within our Swiss team. Two of our native Kosovan players made a hand gesture of a double eagle (representing the Albanian flag) as part of their goal celebration.
    Xhaka's father spent three and half years imprisoned for taking part in demonstrations against Serbia's communist government during the 80s, so there's definitely a good deal of personal hard feelings. Before and during the game Serbian fans (the opponent) kept chanting provocations and booing Shaqiri (our Kosovan/Swiss topscorer) every time he touched the ball. There was even a group of guys wearing T-Shirts showing Rakto Mladic's (who was a major war criminal) face.
    My take on this is: very un-classy of those fans, very un-classy of our players. I get that they have two homes, and that they are proud of their roots, however, they chose to play for Switzerland, and they endangered the whole team by recklessly taking the chance of being banned for two games. Also Shaqiri removed his jersey which resulted in a yellow card. Stupid.
  10. And in the end, Germany wins. I actually wrote this when I started this post. Boy, was I wrong! (And boy, am I glad, haha!) What is it with us Swiss, why do we *hate* the German soccer team so much? OK, for starters because we're secretly jealous and begrudge their success. Of course it goes beyond sports. The Germans comprise the second largest immigration group in Switzerland, and we don't like the smug way in which some of them behave. While our next door neighbours, Colin's daycare lady and many Germans we know are the nicest people, I have had some super bad personal experience in the business world where our corporate cultures clashed. Well, this soccer WC us Swiss got ahead further, take that, Jogi Löw!

What about you, are you enjoying this soccer world cup? Of course I can't leave without asking you: who is going to win the finals? Let me know in the comments below or link up your own post!

What's next?

July 19: "This kind of sh** only happens to me" - like trying to push open a door that clearly says  PULL. Or writing down your childhood phone number on an application form. List your top ten mishaps and help me feel better about my own clumsiness! Sign up here.

The last Thursday of the month is Photo Scavenger Hunt time. Here are the items to find for our July 26 post:
  1. Clouds
  2. Fly Amanita
  3. Sunflowers
  4. Peppers
  5. Native American
  6. Airplane
  7. Ice Cream
  8. Bridge
  9. Letters
  10. Bricks
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