Monday, June 28, 2010

World Cup runneth over with trivia

And I thought the pursuit of baseball trivia was nuts.

The World Cup is churning out statistics and tidbits that only the pathologically obsessed could love.

Here are just three examples catering to the US audience, which is hardly the most soccer-crazed. (We, of course, still call it “soccer” in a world gone mad over “football.”)

Landon Donovan’s 91st minute goal against Algeria made him the only American player to score multiple goals in two World Cups.

Tim Howard posted the first shutout by a U.S. goalkeeper in the World Cup since the famous 2-0 victory against Mexico on June 17, 2002, in the Round of 16 in Korea/Japan.

American fans should not forget the quarterfinals in 2002, when the United States lost a 1-0 match to Germany, the ultimate finalist, after an obvious handball by a German player was missed or overlooked, by the referee.

“Should not forget”?

If I remembered stuff like this, I’d forget to eat breakfast.

Before this World Cup ends, I wouldn’t be surprised to read something along these lines:

“The goal was the first scored off the left foot of a divorced, tattooed striker parting his hair on the right and owning a second home in Majorca, since Italy’s third goal in the 1977 match with Brazil.

Such a glut of fact, figures and trivia could only be technology-driven.

Search "striker," "left foot" “bald,” “Majorca,’” “divorced,” “hair.”

Commentators and sports journalists seem to be saying: We are sharing this absurd fact because our computer is able to generate it. Aren’t we clever for having such a clever computer so cleverly programed to impress you with how clever we are?

Well, not really.

Save the space. Save our time. If you are so clever, tell us how to cure cancer or end war.

Now that’s worthy of a real World Cup.

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