And that's an all-of-a-sudden sort of thing, isn't it? Weren't we just tuning in to see South Africa play Mexico yesterday?
- Do make a point, if you can, of catching the third-place game. It may be a mere consolation prize for the losing semi-finalists, but for that very reason it often produces spectacular soccer, as nobody worries too much about making mistakes. The third-place game can also yield remarkable "moments," like the touching joint celebrations after the 2002 match between South Korea and Turkey (see photo above, and note that that is a Turkish player carrying the South Korean flag). Definitely worth watching!
- And then, on Sunday, we will see a country win the World Cup for the first time. We will also see a European country win the Cup outside that continent for the first time. And, we will see the first ever World Cup final not to feature at least one of Italy, Germany (inc. West Germany), Brazil, and Argentina.
- Sunday's game is to be refereed by Howard Webb, a policeman from Yorkshire. So, either FIFA has changed the rules, mentioned in the last World-Cuppity post, about the geographical origins of its refs, or they feel that Webb is one hell of an official. Collina seems to like him, in any case.
- While we're on the subject of officials, one of the linesmen ("referee's assistants," in modern parlance) for the third-place match on Saturday will be Hector Vergara of Winnipeg, working his final international game. Another reason for Canadian fans to watch!
- Finally, nothing at all against Spain (I'll be genuinely pleased for them if they win on Sunday), but we here in the warrens will be pulling for the Netherlands. Hup, Hup! etc.