I fully support Bill Simmons coming into the light and becoming a footie fan. The fact that he is doing so for most of the same reasons that I love the sport (although unlike Bill, I played and watched from a young age because my parents are British Empire emigres and because I was less bad at it than other sports) is especially nice. As he progresses from being a casual fan into obsession like his buddy Marc Stein, he'll learn not to make statements like this:
As a scoreless second half creeped into the 80s, he was muttering to himself and yelling helplessly at the television. Tottenham was controlling the flow and getting more scoring chances; in soccer, karmically, that eventually translates to a goal. (Note: That's different from playoff hockey, where one team can dominate an overtime for 15-16 minutes and the Hockey Gods decide, "Wouldn't it be funny if the other team scored on some garbage goal?" The Soccer Gods aren't nearly as cruel.) Throw in Man City's urgency to score, as well as its inevitable sub of an extra striker in the last 10-12 minutes, and Steiny Mo was becoming increasingly resigned to his fate. Tottenham finally scored on a defensive lapse and a hard rebound headed in by Crouch -- karma again, since he had just missed by a hair on about 25 chances in the game. Ten minutes later, we had a 1-0 final. Yet another heartbreak for Man City.
Bill, not only are footie fans familiar with the concept of a team dominating a match and then losing, but there is a term for it: smash-and-grab. The Platonic ideal for the smash-and-grab is the first example listed in that Guardian article: the Italia '90 round of 16 match between Brazil and Argentina in which Brazil created all the pressure for 80 minutes, then got beaten on one Maradona counter that caused unmitigated panic in the Selecao's rearguard.
My favorite aspect of the highlight is Caniggia's look of utter shock after scoring, as if to say "this wasn't part of the plan at all! We were supposed to win in penalties after a goalless 120 minutes!" Because of their performance at the 1990 World Cup, I hated Argentina for years, although their slick side at Germany '06 changed my mind.
There's another smash-and-grab not mentioned in the Guardian's article that is near and dear to my heart:
At some point, I need to create a tag for all of the posts in which I have invented reasons to include that clip.