As the Final approaches on Sunday, it's time for an interview round-up. We'll be hearing from each of our World Cup correspondents ONE LAST TIME in a segment I toyed with calling The End of the Road, but I don't like Boys I Men THAT much.
I sent each of my blog-helpers the same ten-questionnaire, through which I hope to discover the true essence of World Cup 2010. That, or this is a lazy, literary gimmick.
MATT: THE ULTIMATE INTERVIEW
1) The Finals are set. Are you happy?
Of course I would have liked to have seen the U.S. or Italy in the Final, but I'm extremely happy about the Finals matchup. But am I happy? Not so much. Don't get me wrong, part of me is very happy to be home again with my wife, but I've already got the post-World Cup blues returning from South Africa and the tournament isn't even over yet. I only hope South Africa doesn't suffer the same affliction on Monday. OK, enough Debbie Downer for one interview. GO FLYING DUTCHMEN and HUP HOLLAND, but if I have to hear about "total football" or Robben's diving one more time, I'm going to freak.
(I think I've already made myself abundantly clear in terms of how I feel about Italy, so I'll leave that part of your answer alone. In terms of TOTAL FOOTBALL, yeah, I feel you on that one, but I'm SO not tired of talking about Robben and how he's a pansy diver. In case you aren't aware of this meme flying around le internet, check it out. Hilarious.)
2) What's the best thing you've Ronaldoed* while watching a game?
I've already tried to document the stadium food at the games, so it's safe to say that my best Ronaldoing (?) happened at a game we didn't attend. The burger stand as we arrived at the Soccer City park and ride does get a high honorable mention for their outstanding service and chutney sauce. I had three of them. However, the best thing I Ronaldoed was at the Fan Fest viewing of the Ghana/Uruguay game at St. George's Park cricket stadium in Port Elizabeth. I tried to sneak to the concession stands right before half, which of course caused me to miss Ghana's first half extra time goal. Mistake #1. Mistake #2 was thinking that there would actually be food. They were out of burgers, dogs, fried calamari, empanadas and "chips" (aka fries) - an ambitious menu to begin with. Seriously, at half time the options left in the stadium were donut holes and fish. I opted for the "fish and no chips" as they called it. I felt bad for the workers because of all the rude foreign customers they had to deal with, but the fish was amazing [see above photo].
(God, that looks delicious. On a personal note, I think that I have a real problem, as, more often than not, when I see a picture or a video of food, I get jealous of the 2D image that is eating/holding said food. That CANNOT be NORMAL or HEALTHY. I need a brainiotomy.)
3) I've talked a lot on this blog about vampires and other creatures of the night. Who's your vote for best monster at the World Cup?
The Condom Fairy. We encountered this entity at two of our games. Anything raining down free condoms for people to blow up and pass around like beach balls at a sporting event gets my vote.
(True story: I used to pass out condoms on gay night at Tremors in Lawrence, KS, which I guess makes me The Condom Fairy. Over the long period of time I've spent in Lawrence, this town has never had a sustainable gay bar to speak of. There have been a few places that tried to establish themselves, but more than anything, for the past decade, there only option for gay night life is Wednesday night at whatever bar/club hasn't gotten sick of los homos, yet. The location rotates every few years, but they've always been called "Family Night," which makes me want to puke, and they've always been a weird, sad, glorious slice of what it means to grow up gay in a smaller city/town in the Midwest. For the record, wherever free condoms abound, people will blow them up like beach balls and pass them around. It's a universal impulse.)
4) Tell me one thing you've learned about South Africa thanks to this tournament.
I wish I could narrow it down to one thing, but I can't, sorry. 1) If something is said to have been hand carved, it means they've taken the time to grind off the portion that says "Made in China". 2) When people realize you are a tourist (which takes about 0.3 seconds for most Americans), they'll talk about you in Afrikaans or whatever other language they know you can't understand. "South Africa actually has Google". Yes, a tourist actually said this, no wonder they talk about us. 3) Their president supposedly raped a girl who had HIV and said it was OK because he took a show afterwards.
(I'm just gonna man up and say it: Afrikaans is a STUPID language. REALLY. FUCKING. STUPID. All the other South African languages are pretty sweet. This one SUCKS.)
5) Out of the four remaining captains in the Final and Consolation match, who would win in a fight: Diego Lugano, Giovanni van Broknckhorst, Philip Lahm or Iker Casillas?
You can't name only one goal keeper and expect me not to pick him. Iker Casillas easily gets the nod. If this is a cage match, van Broknckhorst would be the second to last man standing. His goal against Uruguay was silly.
(Ok, admission time. It turns out that Iker Casillas isn't the Spanish captain. It's actually Carlos Puyol. When I wrote this question, I was thinking about the game Puyol missed due to yellow cards. That's no excuse, though. I still made a terrible mistake.)
6) Which team's exit from the tournament made you laugh the most?
Brasil, Italy, France, England. Tough decision. I'm gonna have to go with Brasil though because I think they truly thought they were going to win. Ever since the Brasil/Cote d'Ivoire game, I had a feeling the Futbol gods would not take kindly to Luis Fabiano flashing 6 fingers even if he said it was for his daughter's 6th birthday. Or his handball goal which changed the game entirely in Brasil's favor. Or Kaka being an ass and getting a red card. So yeah, watching all those overly confident Brasil fans be put in place made me laugh the most. Does this make me mean?
(No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO.)
7) Compare the USMNT's performance in South Africa to dining at a chain restaurant.
Bob Bradley treated it like dining at the Cheesecake Factory. You can't be looking on page 32 of that menu or you'll just get lost and end up disappointed with some crappy vegetable lasagna or something. You have to know what you want going into dinner. Seriously Honduras, you can have Bornstein already. I just saw the Daily Show interview with Bradley and Donovan and I thought JStew went waaaaay too easy on these guys. Had you not known the outcome, you might have thought they actually won the World Cup, sheesh. I thought we had higher expectations, but perhaps that is still a problem. Bradley got lost searching for the perfect entree and didn't get to enjoy the best part, the cheesecake? I'm not good with these comparisons, obviously.
(Ricardo Clark is definitely not the cheesecake.)
8) Which player was the biggest disappointment at the World Cup?
If I'm an Argentina fan, sadly - Lionel Messi. If I'm a Portugal fan, cleary - Christano Ronaldo. If I'm an England fan, comically - Robert Green. If I'm a Ghana fan, tragically - Asamoah Gyan. If I'm a North Korea fan, nobody because I will have thought we won the World Cup. However, I'm a USMNT fan and I've got to go with Josy Altidore. He can't be as bad as he looked this World Cup, can he? Spend the next four years learning how and when to pass the ball instead of dribbling into 4 defenders.
(I actually don't think Jozy had that bad of a tournament. He needs to learn to score, for sure, but his presence created A LOT of chances for other players. Let's not forget his sick header to Bradley for the second goal against Supposedly Slovenia. Ultimately, he didn't have that great of a showing either, but I think he did enough to show that we should still have a little faith in the man.)
9) Make up a curse word I can shout during the Final on Sunday.
Leeuwen neuker! You have google translator, look it up. Its either Dutch or Afrikaans, or both. It's made up because my translation is probably awful.
(Umm, that sounds really racist. No, I will not look it up. If anyone knows what that means, let me know in the comments section. Matthew, your racism DISGUSTS me.)
10) We've all learned a lot over the course of the past month. Final question. True or false: Slovenia is a real country.
Their jersey's with the mountains look like what Charlie Brown wears. Charlie Brown is not real. End proof.