My favorite part of the World Cup is over. I love group play because it gives us a chance to see many teams, brings surprises, and more diversity to the table. This year was especially interesting for me and I am sad that my watching parties are coming to a close.
The only good thing over the weekend was the food. On Saturday we really enjoyed the Korean Bi Bim Bap, steamed rice topped with seasoned stir-fried beef and a variety of “salad sides” including sesame cucumbers and spicy mung bean sprouts, topped with a fried egg. YUM! The hot dog bar was spectacular, with all sorts of fun toppings including homemade chili and pepperoncini relish from the garden, but my Yankee friends didn’t like that I forgot the sauerkraut… they also didn’t enjoy my cheering for Ghana very much, but in the end we all had a good time anyway. The US played well and deserves praise, they just were outplayed by a better team. On Sunday we had the German “Farmer’s breakfast” which was filling and satisfying, with a side of Mic’s mushy peas to represent England, which were received with rave reviews. I made my Mexican staple tortilla and chicken casserole with calabacitas, corn, and a spicy tomato sauce topped with melted Chihuahua cheese, and a very good Argentine dish called bifes a la criolla, a sort of stew made with paper-thin beef steaks layered with potatoes and tomatoes from the garden, bell peppers, onions, and fresh herbs. It was delicious. My lovely friend Martine made her famous sangrita at my request, which we drank quicker than she made it with some fabulous tequila from Riazul. We finished both the plata and reposado! No wonder we felt like hell on Monday, but hey, it was well worth it. I couldn’t have survived that first half without it. Thanks to Matt Miner with Dorian Wines for providing us with the Nectar of the Gods!
I decided to take this weekend off since I just got a new foster doggie ( a 4-month-old Dachshund!) and the house is in desperate needed of a thorough cleaning, not to mention the garden needing weeding, harvesting, planting, and edging. Depending on who plays the final I’ll decide to host or not. Hate to see Netherlands and Brazil in the quarterfinals again. These two deserve to meet in the finals, as in my opinion, they are the best two teams and it should be an amazing game. Too bad we will likely get Germany or Argentina in the final instead…and at this point I am praying for Germany to just crush Marranona’s babies, and I still have a glimmer of hope for Ghana.
Japan had me in white knuckles yesterday, and I was very sad to see them go. What a surprise team, so much heart, effective futbol, even virtuoso play by Keisuke Honda who will likely get a good contract with a world-class team after his world-class performance. They should all be proud of their performance!
Joseph Blatter and his ridiculous apology to England and Mexico, after categorically denying that the referees were wrong, helps no one. Thanks for nothing. At least it seems that he is willing to reconsider some measures to insure accountability. I like adding two more refs and the goal line signaling. Add this and you don’t need the much talked about instant replay. I hope they never bring that on to the game. It would ruin it. Although that clear gol by England and Argentina’s classic win-by-cheating left me very, very upset (not to mention drunk, ugh.)
Brazil is still showing poise and beautiful play despite the more offensive approach of Dunga’s new style, and they remain my favorite, as always. I was happy to see Spain move forward thanks to 4 goles in 4 games by David “Mara”Villa, who has played like no one else in the tournament. He is awesome. Talk about a never-give-up attitude! I would love to see them in the semi.
More reflections and ideas tomorrow, including a trip back to the garden.