A — Alphonso Davies, Canada’s No. 1 world-class player, made history by scoring his country’s first-ever men’s World Cup goal.
B — Bonuses for players are determined by individual countries; hot rumour: after Saudi Arabia’s major upset win over Argentina, each player’s reward was a Rolls Royce.
C — Canada competitive on the world stage? Yes, zero wins, but an emphatic yes!
D — Davies, Alphonso (see above) is likely to be named Canada’s male athlete of the year for 2022.
E — Europe remains the centre of football/soccer excellence — Spain, France, Germany, England …. where the sport is lived and breathed.
F — ‘Football’ everywhere except North America, where it is ‘soccer’.
G — Gooooooooooooaaaalllllllll! is the go-to call for announcers when a ball hits the net.
H — Hand-touching the ball is not only illegal, but almost an automatic goal if the violation occurs in a player’s own penalty area.
I — Injuries often at first look close to fatal, but miraculous recoveries are the norm.
J — John Herdman, the Canadian coach, made some uncomplimentary comments about the Croatian team prior to their Group F contest, and his words may have been motivating for the Croatians, who easily won, 4-1.
K — Knockout round is the goal of each starting World Cup team. Unfortunately, only two teams from each group advance to the knockout round.
L — Losing does not mean coming up short at the World Cup. Losing is not making it into the 32-team field. Ergo, Canada is a winner.
M — Money talks at the World Cup. Total payout: $440 million. Winning team gets $42 million; runner-up earns $30 million.
N — November is an abnormal time to play a World Cup, but it’s just too hot in Qatar during the tournament’s standard summertime schedule.
O — Offside. Does anybody recognize a play that’s offside? (Showing my soccer ignorance here.)
P — Pulisic, Christian. The undisputed No. 1 American player is No. 2 among North Americans. (See A and D above).
Q — Qatar, a controversial choice to host, due to a variety of political reasons.
R — Run: Amazing how fit and athletic these world-class soccer players are, constantly on the run.
S — ‘Soccer’ it is in North America, because if two very different sports were called football, confusion would reign.
T — Tie? No, it’s called a draw.
U — Uruguay was host of the first World Cup, in 1930.
V — Victory for the winning team will probably put an estimated $400,000 in the bank account of each player. So yes, those are real tears from losing teams’ players.
W — ‘World’ Cup it is; almost every corner of the globe is represented, unlike baseball’s ‘World’ Series.
X — X is the only letter of the alphabet that is not the first letter of a country of the world.
Y — Yawn! Some say World Cup games are boring. Few shots, fewer goals.
Z — ZZZZ — Expanding on ‘Y’ above, yes, some of the games may be sleep-inducing.
• Spotted on Vince the Sign Guy’s leaderboard in Indian Hills, Cool: “My boss wants me to sign up for a 401 (k); no way I’m running that far.”
• RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com, with an oldie but a goodie: “Police were recently called to a Michigan McDonald’s after a man came in wearing scuba gear. Once during Grey Cup week I carried jumper cables into a bar — they warned me not to start anything.”
• Patrick Allen, on Twitter, after KC Chiefs beat LA Rams 26-10: “BREAKING: At 3:06 a.m., Arrowhead Stadium security found a trespasser wandering around the field. The man appeared to be extremely confused and told security he was ‘looking for Travis Kelce.’ The man, Jalen Ramsey, a CB for the LA Rams, was told the game was over and to go home.”
• Comedy writer Brad Dickson of Omaha: “At his press conference (new Nebraska football coach) Matt Rhule said he could’ve made good money sitting on his butt and doing absolutely nothing. In Omaha we call someone like that ‘mayor.’”
• Vancouver comedy writer Steve Burgess: “The Vancouver Canucks should trade in their jerseys for fitted sheets. At least that way they won’t fold so easily.”
• Comedy guy Torben Rolfsen of Vancouver: “RIP Hall-of-Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry. He used more ingredients on the mound than Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen.”
• Another one from Brad Dickson: “So soccer doesn’t stop every three minutes for a long video review by the refs? This isn’t a sport!”
• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “The Denver Broncos are 3-8 since trading the farm for Russell Wilson. It is the worst trade since Pete Best left the Beatles to play drums for the Cockroachers.”
• Headline at theonion.com: “New Golf Channel Show Just 30-Minute Praising Of Saudi Royals”
• fark.com headline: “Facing the nightmare scenario of both Alabama and Ohio State missing the playoffs, the CFP expands to 12 teams.”
• Tim Hunter of KRKO Radio, on Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and his wife welcoming their second child: “Doesn’t the godfather have to be Jake from State Farm?” Care to comment?
by Bruce Penton