Since today is the longest day of the World Cup, and in light of the dream about Bill Simmons I had last night, let’s do a running diary of all four games today!
5:41am – The alarm goes off, and I’m out of bed. I immediately remember a dream I had about Bill Simmons where my wife and I asked him for a tour of his offices. He declined but instead gave me his cellphone number, because dreams are dumb and never make sense. I decide that today would be a good day to borrow one of Bill’s favorite column formats, the running diary.
5:50am – First cup of coffee and a few minutes of quiet time, bible reading and prayer. There’s a lot of soccer to be watched today, Lord give me the strength.
6:00am – And we’re off. France vs. Australia. Should be noted that Australia’s yellow on yellow kits are a crime against my eyes. Very possible that INTERPOL shows up at some point to make some arrests, surprised the announcers haven’t mentioned this yet.
6:25am – FOX’s color guy for this game, Tony Meola, might have the most subdued tone of any announcer I’ve ever heard, and that’s the kindest way I can put it. Inflection and volume are your friend, Tony. I’m wondering if he switched up his nightly sleeping pill and morning vitamins?
6:45am – Well that was the most boring half of soccer of the tournament so far. Pretty sure Australia’s only two missions coming into this match were to not get arrested for their banana-colored kits and to earn a 0-0 draw. In fact, when the halftime whistle blew with a 0-0 scoreline, Australia’s fans let out a rousing cheer. I did not do the same. Need more coffee.
7:12am – We’ve got our first replay review of a potential uncalled penalty in the box, and it’s overturned! The ref ate his whistle when a France player went down in the penalty area on a hard tackle, but the VAR (video assistant review) technology stopped the game so the ref could look again, and he changed the call to a penalty kick. The penalty is converted for a GOAL, and France leads 1-0!
7:17am – Another penalty kick, this time it’s awarded to Australia for a French handball in the box. The bananas make it count for a GOAL! It’s 1-1!
7:32am – Look, Tony Meola has forgotten more about soccer than I’ll ever know, and I love his insight on goalkeepers, but I can’t get over how uninterested and flat his voice sounds. Can’t tell if he’s announcing a World Cup game or reading through his grocery list in his sleep.
7:38am – GOAL! Paul Pogba puts France up 2-1 in the 81st minute, which is great because I do not want to see the Yellow Socceroos advance past this group stage. Their brutish style of play is as ugly as their kits.
7:45am – Tony Meola just referred to Germany as “West Germany,” which they haven’t been since 1990. Tough game today for Tony today, but with a little more sleep and an injection of high test coffee directly into his veins, I think he’ll be better tomorrow.
7:52am – That’s the game, 2-1 France! Meanwhile, I just realized that I don’t have nearly enough food to watch four soccer games today. Time for an early grocery store run.
8:27am – For the 59th straight time I was not able to walk by the Cheez-It section without grabbing a box. Today it was sharp cheddar Cheez-It Grooves. I am the Lionel Messi of eating Cheez-It’s.
8:57am – Alright, we’re back from the store. I’m washing down a sausage and egg sandwich with a nectarine and drinking my third cup of coffee. I’ve got apples, cheddar cheese, chips, and crackers coming off the bench later today. Messi and Argentina are about to kickoff against Iceland.
9:18am – GOAL Argentina! Sergio Aguero breaks the ice with his left foot to put them on the board. Also, every time Messi gets the ball it’s exciting. It’s sort of like every time Jordan Clarkson got the ball in the NBA Finals, only the exact opposite.
9:20am – My three favorite things I’ve learned about this Iceland team in the first 35 minutes? 1. Their manager is a part time dentist. 2. Their goalkeeper, Hannes Halldorsso, is a part time filmmaker. 3. Every one of their starter’s last names ends in “son.”
9:22am – GOAL Iceland! The little nation that could just did! We’re tied!
9:53am – It’s 1-1 at the half and I just had a 10-minute text thread with my buddy Tyler about the beards of the World Cup. Without question these athletes are at the top of their aesthetic game compared to America’s major sports. The hair is better and the beards are better too, especially the beard fades we are seeing. Incredible touch and feel from these specimens. What a time to be alive.
10:22am – Messi with a great touch into the box in the 64th minute that draws a penalty on Iceland. Messi with the penalty kick and IT’S BLOCKED BY THE KEEPER! Wow that was unexpected. Look for a 30 for 30 from ESPN Films in 2020 called “The Best Save Ever Made By The Most Handsome Goalie of All Time” by Hannes Halldorsson.
10:39am – We’re down to the last ten minutes of this match, and we’re still tied at 1-1. Time for three more fun facts about Iceland. 1. Their country has the same land mass as Maine. 2. Their population is the same as the island of Honolulu. 3. No one in their country likes ice in their drinks. (I may have made that last one up.)
10:55am – It’s over and this 1-1 draw is a major upset. Messi might be the GOAT, but he’s the lowercase goat in this one for not converting that penalty from the spot. As a newbie to this soccer thing, I need the stars to stay alive in this tournament. Here’s to hoping he shows up in their next two group stage games.
11:27am – I’m headed down to the park with my daughter for a little walk. Feels good to get off the couch, not gonna lie.
12:00pm – Peru vs. Denmark, here we go!
12:11pm – I just realized I haven’t taken a shower since the start of the World Cup over 48 hours ago. Not great.
12:31pm – The announcers for this game have a ton of energy, which I love, but it feels like it’s the first time they are working together. The play-by-play guy just said, “It is zero-zero, scoreless, nil-nil. Which is your favorite?” To which the color guy answered with who his favorite team is so far in this game because who in their right mind would think they were being asked to choose between different ways to say, “no score?”
12:43pm – Not gonna lie, starting to run out of gas right now. Scoreless game, no big stars. Is there a pill I can take for soccer fatigue?
12:44pm – And as soon as I say that we have a penalty kick thanks to a video review. The attempt is…NO GOOD! He booted it high, it wasn’t even close. Is there anything in sports more embarrassing than missing a penalty kick? Maybe an extra point in football? Or putting on a Cleveland Browns uniform?
12:48pm – Halftime. Zero-zero. Scoreless. Nil-nil. (What’s your favorite?) My favorite is when teams score goals, but whatever. It’s 79 degrees and sunny out and the golf course is calling, but who has 4 hours to play golf when there is 135 minutes of soccer left in your day? Not this guy.
1:02pm -By the way, these VAR reviews are taking as little as 15 seconds to confirm calls at times and it is glorious. Adam Silver and the NBA need to be paying attention to this as their video reviews can sometimes go 3-4 minutes just to figure out whose hand a ball touched last before going out of bounds. Well done, FIFA.
1:17pm – Just when I was about to fall asleep here on the couch, it’s a GOAL for Denmark in the 59th minute! And the call by the announcer is better than the goal itself. First he goes with an elongated “GOOOAAAALLL” scream that lasts 10.33 seconds (I timed it), then he caps it off with a “Boom Goes The Dynamite!” Well done, sir.
1:54pm – There’s 5 minutes of extra time, but Peru doesn’t seem to have much urgency. In fact, the referee blows the “end of game whistle” while a Peruvian player is taking his good old time setting up a throw-in. Denmark wins in a game I had trouble caring about, 1-0. That was the soccer equivalent of J.R. Smith dribbling out the clock in a tie game. Be better, Peru.
2:25pm – There’s a half hour left until the final match of the day so I flip over to golf to see what’s happening and Phil Mickelson literally runs to tap a bad putt in the other direction while it is still moving downhill! That would be a red card in soccer. In golf it’s a 2-stroke penalty and not a good look. Be better, Phil.
2:51pm – I almost took a shower before this last game, but decided against it. Dustin Johnson, the leader of the U.S. Open is headed to the first tee. I am headed for the remote for the next game,
3:30pm – A third of the way through this Croatia vs. Nigeria game. The word “slog” comes to mind. There have been some good scoring chances, but I don’t know anyone from these teams. It’s just really hard to care when you’re into your 300th minute of soccer in one day.
3:33pm – GOAL Croatia! It’s a picnic party in the stands as it looks like their fans look are all wearing tablecloths. This is the happiest, rowdiest picnic I’ve ever seen.
4:05pm – I’m not going to lie to you. I turned on the U.S. Open during halftime and I’ve decided to leave it playing on the iPad while I watch this second half on the big screen. I’m technically still watching soccer, don’t judge me.
4:31pm – Woah! For once in my life they called a penalty on a defender mauling another player on a corner kick. Feels like a prison fight could break out on most corner kicks and the ref would say “play on,” but this time Nigeria gets whistled. Can Croatia takes advantage? Yes, it’s a GOAL! 2-0 Croatia with 15 minutes left, and while this has been fun, I am ready to not be watching soccer anymore today.
4:53pm – And that’s it! Today’s games have wrapped up 10 hours and 53 minutes after we started.
4:55pm – For the sake of the folks we are going out to dinner with, I’m going to finally take a shower.
“How do you mark Cristiano Ronaldo? You try not to leave him alone, don’t let him shoot on his right foot. And Lionel Messi? Just make the sign of the cross.”