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Paul Wellman

Fútbol Musings

An A to Z of What’s Going on in the World Cup


Here are some thoughts about the World Cup and a few other things from A to Z:

Anxiety: All the last-minute goals and overtimes are sending pulses racing around the world.

Bau Daigh: U.S. forward Chris Wondolowski’s other name, bestowed on him by the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, into which his mother Janis Hoyt was born. Pronounced Bowe Dye, it means “warrior coming over the hill.” Wondolowski, who is Polish-Californian on his father’s side, is on the short list of Native American sports stars, including Olympic champions Jim Thorpe and Billy Mills.

Colombia: The next team to give Brazil anxiety.

Diving: U.S. soccer players do not indulge in fakery when they are touched by their opponents, a quality that prompted Irish fan Patrick Smyth to say, “The Americans are not the most talented at soccer, but you have the biggest balls of any team.”

Eight Hundred: When the Santa Barbara Foresters defeated the Menlo Park Legends 10-5 last Saturday, it was Bill Pintard’s 800th win as head coach and manager of the summer baseball club.

France: Heading into a quarterfinal clash with …

Germany: Friday’s match is sure to evoke some history: In the 1982 World Cup, German goalie Harald Schumacher brutally slammed into Frenchman Patrick Battiston, rendering him unconscious.

HD: High-definition technology has made viewing sports on TV better than ever.

“I Believe That We Will Win”: This chant is said to have originated at the Naval Academy a decade ago. Utah State’s basketball crowd made it a YouTube hit in 2011. Now it is a rallying cry for U.S. soccer.

Jaws: Uruguay’s Luis Suárez promised he will never again bite an opponent, but when he roams the turf again, it would be fitting to play the movie score by John Williams.

Klinsmann: Despite how this tournament turned out for the U.S., it is evident that Jürgen Klinsmann has the ability to push the right buttons for the team. It’s encouraging that he will be the national coach through 2018.

Lionel Messi: There have been glimpses of the magic that makes him the most heralded player of our time, but will it be enough for Argentina?

Nwaba: Barbara Nwaba of the Santa Barbara Track Club finished second in the U.S. heptathlon championships last week. The UCSB grad’s score of 6,307 points made her No. 14 all-time in the U.S.

Ochoa: Goalkeeper Memo Ochoa’s brilliant saves were memorable for Mexico.

PKs: Soccer purists hate to see games decided by penalty kicks, but those shoot-outs are high drama.

Qatar: The superheated and super-rich host country of the 2022 World Cup. It’s been alleged that bribery was involved in the selection.

Robben: Tweeters played on the last name of Holland’s wily Arjen Robben, asserting he stole the round-of-16 match against Mexico by taking a dive in the penalty area.

By Paul Wellman

Stoppage Time: When you really have to pee but you don’t dare leave the match because there are no commercial breaks.

Trout: If he weren’t hitting baseballs almost 500 feet, Mike Trout would be a heck of a striker.

UCSB: The Gaucho men’s soccer team will open its 2014 season against Northwestern at Harder Stadium on September 5.

Vin Scully: The great voice of the L.A. Dodgers was channeled — either subconsciously or intentionally — by ESPN’s announcer at the Costa Rica-Greece match. After the Ticos prevailed in the penalty-kick shoot-out, he proclaimed that in the midst of “improbable” results, the “impossible” had occurred. It was straight out of Scully’s call of Kirk Gibson’s home run in the 1988 World Series: “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.” Because of the ongoing blackout of Dodger telecasts in most of Southern California, we are entertained by reminders of Scully’s talent rather than by his latest work.

Woodwork: The crossbar and uprights around the goal, not necessarily made of wood. Brazil should put the woodwork that rejected two Chile shots, including the last PK of the shoot-out, into the national museum.

Xabi Alonso: After the Spanish player criticized his teammates for their lack of hunger, the defending champions were X’d out of the World Cup.

Ybarra: A panel of experts that convened to make World Cup forecasts included Rudy Ybarra, a former Santa Barbara High star and successful youth coach. Every other panelist said the U.S. had no chance in the Group of Death, but Ybarra correctly predicted that the Americans would advance to the next round.

Zero-Zero: One of the most exciting matches of the World Cup group stage was the 0-0 draw between Mexico and Brazil. Both sides attacked and defended with breathtaking ferocity. The zero-hitter tossed by Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw would have been fun to watch too, if only ….

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