I was sitting in a place for lunch on Tuesday afternoon so that I could watch the second half of the Brazil vs. Mexico. I was sitting in the booth waiting for my number to be called when one of the workers came over to me and asked, point-blank, “so do you really like soccer?” I laughed a little before I responded that I actually do like it. She looked perplexed and asked me why so many people around Salt Lake were so into it. I thought that was rather obvious since it was the World Cup on the television behind her and that people are very patriotic, but instead of explaining about national pride and the like, I just said that there is a professional team here and thought the conversation would be complete. I was wrong! As we continued to talk I could tell that she wasn’t interested in the beautiful game in the slightest and never would be. That left me feeling kind of sad for her.
After all, soccer is an incredible game when it’s played at the highest level. That is one of the main reasons why I watch or tivo every single game. There is nothing better than watching the passion and pride that revolves around two national teams competing in a sport that they love. The best part is one two teams play a very open style that allows for plenty of chances and top-notch keeper play. I must say that I am more that a little biased when it comes to the keeper aspect of the games because I have been a goal keeper for most of my life, but in my opinion, a great keeper can make all the difference in the world (pun intended), when it comes to the winner and the loser. That is exactly what happened in the Brazil vs. Mexico match from Tuesday. Brazil was very impressive in the final third and had countless quality chances to score, but the Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa was up to the task. Along the way, he had a handful of massive saves to keep a clean sheet and give the Mexican side a much-needed point in their pursuit of advancing out of the group stage. Imagine the pure joy and pride he must feel after being the main reason that his team stole a point from the host nation and gave Mexico a good shot to advance.
If you aren’t a soccer fan as of yet, just turn on the World Cup and see if your tune changes about the beautiful game. The games are intense, the passion from the stands in almost overwhelming and getting to see all of the best players in the world face off against each other with national pride on the line only happens once every four years.