An irruption of football into an otherwise glum Wednesday afternoon: what could be better?
Even better since it delivered a nice showing today by the French team, to my relief. And in Wembley no less. Between the two teams, France is clearly limping out of the hospital a little more quickly, it seems. Though it must have been a stressful afternoon for Arsene Wenger, as Liz Hottel pointed out.
What is so pleasing about this is that they not only pass the ball around nicely and set up good plays, but the result is actually, with some frequency, the scoring of goals, rather than a perpetual string of near misses. They seem at ease on the pitch, able to build up, with a certain understanding. It’s like watching a real football team! The first goal here by Benzema was inspiring.
Meanwhile, nice to see the U.S. do well against South Africa, and nice too to see the Cape Town Stadium — where I spent a delicious evening watching Holland-Uruguay this past World Cup — being used for the event, a fund-raiser for the Mandela Children’s Fund. Peter Alegi provided this nice preview of the match-up, and of U.S. soccer more broadly, from his perch in Cape Town, and a nice report from the game. I also recommend his excellent dispatches of the recent African Women’s World Cup, also played in South Africa in recent weeks, culminating in a victory for Nigeria.