World Cup Weekend Wrap-up

You knew the tabloid press in England was going to have a field day with Robert Green’s “howler” of a botched save that gave the U.S. a 1-1 tie in their opening World Cup match on Saturday.

Fleet Street did not disappoint.

The runaway leader for top headline was used by two top tabs, the News of the World and the Sunday Mirror: “HAND OF CLOD.” The Mirror also had a winner in, “TAINTED GLOVE,” while the Sunday Times of London went for “STARS AND TRIPE.”

News of the World called it “Shock and Draw.” The Times opined that the botch was “one disastrous spill the Yanks won’t complain about.”

The Mirror cataloged the best jokes it could find about the Green Blunder in this story. (Admittedly, some of the quips are as painful as the play itself. “My computer has the Robert Green virus! It can’t save anything!)

Meanwhile, concerns mounted over the health of U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard on Sunday. He may have broken ribs during a collision with England’s Emile Heskey on Saturday and is due for more evaluation. []

The USA-England match on Saturday drew 16.7 million viewers on ABC and Univision. For comparison, Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers drew 14.1 million viewers. Game 1 of the 2009 World Series drew 19.5 million. The 2010 Kentucky Derby drew 16.5 million viewers. ESPN’s coverage drew 12.9 million viewers, with the rest coming from Univision’s Spanish broadcast. [More from The Washington Post]

Among the more impressive performances of the weekend was South Korea’s 2-0 win over Greece (though Greece would have to be dubbed the disappointment of the tournament’s opening weekend). But perhaps impressive isn’t the word. In South Korea, sales of a certain item skyrocketed as the local population, clearly, took to celebrating. [The Straits Times]

Now that the world has heard the joyful noise of the plastic “vuvuzela” horns in the South African venues, could it be that FIFA has heard enough? Certainly, there are calls for banning of the horns — mostly from people at the sites, though television viewers, too, are complaining at the constant bee-swarm sound coming through their broadcast. BBC News was the first to report that FIFA officials were considering a stadium ban of the noisemakers. “We’ve tried to get some order,” South Africa World Cup organizing chief Danny Jordaan said. “We have asked for no vuvuzelas during national anthems or stadium announcements. It’s difficult, but we’re trying to manage the best we can.” They can do what they want, but I don’t think they’re going to silence this movement. FIFA itself has been involved in selling these horns. Call it the price of buzz. []

— And finally, a few odds and ends:

  • presents the World Cup through the eyes of cartoonists. [Slide show]

  • The Freakonomics guys take a stab at soccer. [Podcast here]

  • The Guardian has put together this high-speed replay of the World Cup through the eyes of Twitter. You can see how topics surged and receded based on score and events in each match. [The Guardian]

    You can read all of my World Cup updates by clicking here, or by following me on Twitter @ericcrawford or Facebook by clicking here.


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