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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

After a full month of football, 32 teams from six continents playing in over 64 matches, the World Cup pretty much came down to this:

Italian Head. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Italian Butts. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And a French Butt Head. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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There's not much more I can say that hasn't already been said about Zidane's actions. Simply put, it was inexcusable. I don't care what Materazzi said to him, even if he did call him the "son of whore terrorist," you can't lose your head in a moment of that magnitude. Do you know how many times bloggers such as myself have been called a terrorist by whack jobs on the far right? And you don't see me walking around burying my head into people's chests. Of course, if I saw O'Reilly on the street, I might not be able to contain myself...

It could've been worse I suppose. At least this didn't happen...

I realize I didn't keep up my Cup blogging through the quarter and semifinals, but that didn't mean the NYC Cup Crawl didn't continue. I shed tears (and many Newcastle's) with the English at Dekk in Tribeca. I walked out of the darkness of S.O.B.'s in stunned bewilderment with the Brazilians. And I returned to the infamous intersection of Grand & West Broadway to watch the French knock off Portugal at Novecento. But it was the final this past Sunday that I will remember most.

My Cup Crawlin crew for the final match consisted of my sister on a visit from Seattle, my best lady, and my partner in crime for the past month, Richard, who appropriately enough is of Sicilian descent. He's the one who valiantly made the BYOB run at Felix two weeks ago, who managed to snag himself a date in Koreatown three weeks ago, and who discovered the magic of the Soca Warriors with me on Flatbush the opening weekend, so he had to be there.

About an hour before the final was set to kick-off, we took a quick stroll down Mulberry St. in the heart of what's left of Little Italy. The tension in the air was as thick as the cannoli cream at Ferrara. The bars and cafes on Mulberry were already packed, but we had a spot waiting for us at Basso Est, an Italian joint on Orchard St. More than a century ago, this street would've been dominated by Italian immigrants selling fruits and vegetables from their pushcarts. But on this day, Orchard Street was dominated by World Cup fans.

Then. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Now. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We took our seats, had a big brunch complete with bottomless mimosas, and we were off. Every pass, every push, every shot, every miss was accompanied by cheers or groans or gasps from up and down the street. And this scene was repeated across every nook and cranny across the city, you could just feel it. The French were first to score. Clenched fists and whole lot of agita filled the air inside Basso for the next 20 minutes, but then Materrazi knocked in the equalizer and everying was all even up. At halftime, everyone poured into the streets to pace and nervously smoke cigarettes. I switched from mimosas to Peroni.

The second half seemed a blur. Before anyone knew it, we were in extra time. The tension was unreal and then, suddenly, Zidane did the unthinkable. Everyone was stunned. We weren't sure what had just happened, but when that red card came out, we knew what it meant. And my sister, god bless her, brought a little American sporting flair to the international affair by starting the sing-song taunt of 'sha na na na, sha na na na! hey, hey, hey, goodbye!' Soon, all of Orchard Street seemed to be joining in.

The Italian fans could taste it at this point. They were poised on the LES. They were ready on Mulberry St. They were primed in Bensonhurst. And they were pumped on Arthur Ave in the Bronx. Moments later, after several minutes of agonizing penalty kicks, the streets exploded. Italia was Campioni del Mundo!

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After a thorough dousing of champagne (oh the irony) at Basso, we quickly made our way to back to Mulberry St. to join in the festivities. Here's what we found. (click to enlarge)

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Thus ends the DAYS NYC Cup Crawling blogventure of 2006. Congrats to the Italians. See you all again in 2010. Oh, and once more, for good measure....

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(oh come on, you knew she'd get the last word, didn't you?)

BBC: WC '06 Compilation (video)
'One' Compilation (video)
NYC Watches the Cup
Zidane's Shame: Full Video
Wallak: You Can Be Zidane!
YouTube: Zidane and Super Mario

** regular DAYS blogging (politics, etc.) will resume next week.

here's the game
I was getting worried, Jed. It will be good to have your excellent rants back.
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