Daily Telegraph correspondent Catherine Elsworth returned to her post in West Hollywood from a trip home to the U.K. with a serious jones for David Beckham and England's World Cup hopes. A few days here where the tournament is more exotic entertainment than cultural obsession—and listening to American commentators try to get the world's most popular sport—brought her fever right down. She blogs:
It doesn't appear to be a case of no interest. Numerous bars are screening games and there’s plenty of online chatter about the competition - including much discussion of the contents of the “magic spray” applied to footballers' injuries.
Maybe the early kick-offs (5pm in Germany is 8am here) are to blame. There‘s also the issue of the American commentary and analysis of televised games here, an alien language after the familiar informed banter of Martin O’Neil, Alan Hansen and Gabby Logan etc.
During Tuesday’s Brazil/Ghana match, the ESPN commentary sounded like chapter one of Soccer Watching for Beginners. We learned that “saving goals…is what a goalkeeper does - it doesn’t matter how” and that “if a player’s offside, he’s offside. It’s up to the referee”.
Ronaldo’s opening goal was deemed “a thing of beauty” and “a picture perfect counter attack”.
“We call him fat but fat people can dance,” sang one of the commentators (at least I think that’s what he said) during the Taco Bell highlights before the Hyundai half-time report of the Adidas-sponsored match. “He’s still got it.”
Quaintly, shots were termed “blasts” and instead of leading two goals to nil, Brazil were up “two nothing” at half-time.
* Lot of it going around: Bob Timmermann at the Griddle and Tom Hoffarth in the L.A. Daily News also give it to ESPN's soccer buffoonery. Meanwhile I missed this from Saturday's L.A. Times op-ed page: KFI shouter John Ziegler sees in the popularity of Univision's broadcast over ESPN, and Mexico's games over U.S. games, another reason for his ilk—surprise—to object to "the silent invasion from the south."