|Wait, that's not LeBron...|
While I can't help but wonder just how broken the Heat are, it would be criminal to take anything away from the triumphant Spurs, who clearly deserved the 5th title of the Tim Duncan era. They were fantastic, putting on a display of team-oriented, fluid basketball that comes as a salve to any true basketball fan yearning for glimpses of the beautiful game we first fell in love with. Honestly, it may have been the most impressive championship performance of the recent era. Congrats, San Antonio!
Today in the bag, I'm taking an extended look at World Cup soccer, before acknowledging the crowned Kings in Los Angeles.
Click below for the bag...
Around the World Cup -
I hope you've all been watching the soccer, as the quadrennial display of international 'footy' has gotten off to a roaring start. Goals, goals, and more goals have rained down in Brazil, with nary a tie to be found. The action has been fast-paced, dramatic, and, above all else, beautiful to watch. If you haven't been able to find at least something to whet your appetite, there may be no hope for you.
Group A -
A nervous stammer in the opening minutes from the Brazilians notwithstanding, this group has mostly gone according to plan through the opening two games. The hosts conceded a stunning own goal to fall behind a game Croatia side in the Cup opener, before proceeding to slot three unanswered goals to secure the points. As expected, Croatia would not go silently, but I never thought the Selecao were in any real danger last Thursday.
|Oh shit, did that actually just go in?|
Group B -
The stunner of the tournament, so far, was the thorough dismantling of defending champion Spain at the hands of their 16th Century rivals. Once again the team that scored first was upended, as Spain saw their suspect lead (earned through a cheaply won penalty) evaporate into the heavy air of Salvador. The Netherlands would score five successive goals, varying from spectacular (Van Persie's first) to embarrassing (Van Persie's second), before walking off with a triumphant 5-1 scalp. Never before has a holder been so humiliatingly dispatched, and the Spanish, thought to be on the precipice of declaring themselves the greatest national dynasty in soccer history, are suddenly beset with questions and doubt.
|Fly away, Robin, you're free now.|
Group C -
I wasn't all that invested in the pair of outcomes in Group C. Colombia, thankfully, blew apart the always painfully dull Greeks 3-0, and the Ivory Coast earned a well-deserved 2-1 win over Japan through a pair of second half goals. It's not that the games weren't fun to watch, it's just that I don't have a lot of vestment in any particular side. I'll save my passion for other groups. Groups like...
Group D -
Hello, Costa Rica! Los Ticos furthered the banner of CONCACAF with their impressive showing against a favored Uruguayan side. The thumped the 2010 semifinalists in front of a hostile crowd 3-1. Certainly not a fluke, the win flips the table on this Group of Death, leaving hopes of advancement up in the air for everyone.
|If only it had snowed...|
Group E -
I don't want to get ahead of myself, or sound too batshit, but I actually kind of enjoyed watching France play over the weekend (*gasp*). During the Euros a few years back, I went to watch the Frogs play with a coworker who hails from Paris. In his words, the team was incapable of living up to expectations because they were always 'too French.' Indeed, that very problem seemed to plague them in 2010, when a spate of lethargy and infighting held the team back from even escaping group play. That doesn't seem to be the case this year, however, as Les Bleus look a 3-0 win off of Honduras in fulfilling fashion. Certainly, the Honduran side was never going to be much of a challenge, but I take it as a good sign that the French didn't find a way to turn that game into a 1-0 snoozer, or even a dour draw.
|Dare I say it, the French are... interesting|
Group F -
Unsurprisingly, Argentina appear to be the class of this group. Their 2-1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina only confirmed that they're ready to soar in front of home continent fans. Opening fixture action concludes today when Iran and Nigeria stumble onto the pitch. Given their win yesterday, and the suspect quality of the other two squads, look for a nine-pointer from the Argentinians.
Group G & H -
The final two groups kick off their action today, including the US, who look to avoid another Ghanaian-sized road block in a few hours. I'm so excited that I've donned my Dempsey 'sash-model' jersey from the 2010 World Cup. The team is completely different from the previous versions which fell to the Black Stars, to the point that I've convinced myself that this round will be different. Here's to the US proving me right with a 2-1 revenge-laced win!
|Welp, here we go...|
Kings reign, again -
Those damn Kings did it again. Pushed to overtime by the feisty New York Rangers, and facing a goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, who was in the form of his life, LA once again squeezed out an overtime winner, taking Game 5 3-2 to earn their second Stanley Cup in three years.
I feel bad for the Rangers. Contrary to popular belief, they were clearly worthy of skating on the same ice as the Champions of the West, and were only a handful of moments away from still playing hockey into this week. All three games won by the Kings in LA were decided in overtime, and in each I could easily see New York stealing the victory given a do-over. Them's the breaks, I guess.
|The Kings are back on top of the hockey world.|