Wednesday, June 27, 2018
France zero Denmark zero
I read a book of letters between Karl Ove Knausgard and Fredrik Ekelund that was about watching the last World Cup, Karl from home, and Fredrik off where it was happening in Brazil. And when I say "read" I mean I made it about a third of the way through the book before tossing it aside. The first big thing that put me off was how Karl Ove Knausgard kept falling asleep during the matches.
After watching some chunk of 20 or so games I can only now have a shred of empathy and understanding for poor Karl in that last World Cup. Only France and Denmark have taught me that soccer can be pointless and dreary and stupid. I am forever in their debt.
My sympathy for Karl Ove Knausgard's struggle could only carry so far though, since he was always at pains to tell us about his love for disciplined, stolid, defensive soccer. You'd think he could stay awake forever watching Denmark back their way through a game.
The early response to this awful game seems to be to blame France, maybe because everyone knows they should be good, brilliant even, but they are just not all that great so far. But two things about France here: one, as the game went, tied, they were assured of being first in their group despite all their unamazingness, and then two, France actually tried to score the whole time.
This leaves Denmark as the true villain that the fans were justly whistling. Because Peru were clearly cruising to victory over Australia, Denmark had nothing to lose in losing to France. They still would have gone to the round of 16 as second in their group. But by scoring they could have been first in their group. They actually ceded first place in their group to France by not trying, and they did so for no actual good reason.
I wonder if Karl Ove Knausgard would like that!
I'll go wake him up and ask.