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Goal!

Michael Leighton vs. Robert Green.  Which devastating, inexplicable goal is worse?  Discuss.

As a forward, I should exult in such moments; goaltenders thwart us nine times out of ten, every damn day of the year.  But instead I come away with a dull sadness, a bone-deep ache, an intimation of the fragility of our little lives and the hollowness of every human triumph.

Posted by on 06/15 at 06:32 AM
  1. Leighton’s worse in terms of importance, obviously. He messes up and Pittsburgh’s done. England can still make it through the group stage, possibly on top, even. But I believe that the pace of hockey almost comes with its own redemption. The confusion following the goal is pretty telling. So it’s Leighton’s fault, but hell. It’s not exactly like he gently pushed it into his own goal.

    That is basically what Green did, and even without the slo mo, you get a sense of why this might be worse. I’m not even talking about the fact that he has to bear the weight of 44 years of English frustration in the World Cup, by which the English almost systematically find a scapegoat among their own players to explain their failure (and they won’t win this year either). Not either about the fact that British keepers have a history of blunders in major games. However wicked this ball may be, Green is in poor form from the get go, and what I think makes it absolutely terrible, is that he has time to turn around, paw at it, hope that he may still save it, and realize that it’s too late. That’s one long second.

    Posted by  on  06/15  at  09:19 AM
  2. He messes up and Pittsburgh’s done.

    He makes the save and Pittsburgh’s done.
    </low-hanging fruit>

    Posted by  on  06/15  at  10:04 AM
  3. Given that the bobble brought the US level after they had sloppily conceded yet another early World Cup goal, *and* that I was watching the game at the house of an English colleague who up until that point had been rather smugly satisfied with the progress of the game, I will confess that sympathy for Mr. Green was not my initial response.

    That said, I agree with Alfred that the Green bobble was worse in several different ways.

    Posted by  on  06/15  at  10:44 AM
  4. Ha!  Your company might be vigorously befouling our Gulf Coast for the forseeable future, but we beat you at your goofy game of Run Around in Short Pants for Twelve Hundred Minutes Kicking Each Other’s Ankles!  In your faces, limeys!  [INSERT GRAPHIC OF SUNGLASS-WEARING BALD EAGLE FLIPPING OFF MONOCLED LION AND UNICORN HERE]

    Posted by  on  06/15  at  11:49 AM
  5. we beat you

    Mds takes the soft bigotry of low expectations to a new level.

    Posted by  on  06/15  at  12:34 PM
  6. Mds takes the soft bigotry of low expectations to a new level.

    Oh, come on, cut me some slack.  I’m a somewhat left-wing American; imaginary triumphs are all I have.

    Posted by  on  06/15  at  01:10 PM
  7. The guy played way, way over his head for most of the Stanley Cup playoffs and got his team into the finals.  So I’m not aching empathetically.

    I did feel a twinge at the moment it happened, or more accurately, during the several replays that established it as an indisputable, and indisputably bad, goal. It’s a tough way to lose a series; we’d all prefer that a brillian, unstoppable goal would be the winning one.  But it was this or hear about 1971 for 48 hours, remember?

    (The captcha is four.  That’s some eerie little AI...)

    Posted by Nell  on  06/15  at  01:20 PM
  8. To be clear, since I left it off the comment: Robert Green’s is worse.

    Posted by Nell  on  06/15  at  01:24 PM
  9. The bad news is FIFA removed that second video you linked because it’s, you know, their property. The good news is that in lieu of said video, there’s a big ad inviting me to “Friend BP” on YouTube so I can get the “latest updates” on the Gulf oil spill. I think even Herr mds would have trouble out-irony-ing that. (Not that he won’t accept the challenge, of course. And JP too, for that matter).

    Posted by  on  06/15  at  04:37 PM
  10. My ‘theory’ (captcha) is that: since the Stanley Cup is passed around every year, and the World Cup is held high once every four years, that Green’s flailing was dramatically worse.  But the very next day, the bird-wing waving arms of the Serbian, initiating the handtouch, seemed even more ridiculous.

    Posted by  on  06/15  at  05:21 PM
  11. Well, we can relive the England/US game in Legoland, here and everywhere. The rendition of Green’s bobble is perfect; I think it may have been Rotoscoped (in some digital form).

    Posted by  on  06/15  at  07:28 PM
  12. And I think the Serbian handball was forgivable—I think he was trying to keep from falling down, not reaching for the ball. And Robert Green can say that the ball was wet, but I don’t think that excuse flies at this level of play. I think, as he groped, he was imagining himself living in a trailer watching others play in 2014, as in that Nike ad.

    Posted by  on  06/15  at  07:31 PM
  13. But the very next day, the bird-wing waving arms of the Serbian, initiating the handtouch, seemed even more ridiculous.

    Are you quoting Austen, cheap modern erotica, or an early twentieth-century anti-immigrant pamphlet?

    Posted by  on  06/15  at  10:16 PM
  14. But instead I come away with a dull sadness, a bone-deep ache, an intimation of the fragility of our little lives and the hollowness of every human triumph.

    True enough. But on the bright side our failures and follies are hollow as well.

    Posted by  on  06/16  at  07:09 AM
  15. But on the bright side our failures and follies are hollow as well.

    True. Yet I find the solace I take from that sadly lacking.

    Posted by  on  06/16  at  09:24 AM
  16. I think even Herr mds would have trouble out-irony-ing that.

    Unfortunately true.  Irony: if not quite dead, then liberally coated in crude oil ... and with a Palin 2012 sticker slapped on it.

    (Not that he won’t accept the challenge, of course. And JP too, for that matter).

    Sorry, Ms. Girl.  But we’re apparently somewhat preoccupied with the pursuit of fractal melancholia.  It’s Mock Turtles all the way down.

    Posted by  on  06/16  at  10:45 AM
  17. It’s Mock Turtles all the way down.

    Well-played, Alice. “Fractal melancholia” is quite good, too. Very clever. How’s that working out for ya?

    Posted by  on  06/16  at  11:03 AM
  18. And for the irony challenge, as always, ardent multi-nationalist Sarah Palin will be hard to top:

    The Dutch, they are known, and the Norwegian, they are known for dikes, for cleaning up water, and dealing with spills. They offered to help. And yet, no, they too, with the proverbial, can’t even get a phone call back.

    Posted by  on  06/16  at  11:13 AM
  19. Please keep ass and crotch to yourself, Stormcrow.  Oh, too late ... I see you went with “ass.”

    “You can always tell a Norwegian ... but you can’t call him Dutch.”

    Posted by  on  06/16  at  11:19 AM
  20. <insert “Sarah Palin is opining for the fjords” joke that actually makes sense here.>

    Posted by  on  06/16  at  11:37 AM
  21. <mds: i>Unfortunately true.  Irony: if not quite dead, then liberally coated in crude oil ... and with a Palin 2012 sticker slapped on it.</i>

    (Uproarious laughter followed by plaintive crying and whimpering).

    JP: And for the irony challenge...

    “The Irony Challenge” - sounds like it should be a new prime time television game show, like “Minute to Win It”. Question: if it were a prime time television game show, would the irony be so great that it’d become one of those recursive dealios you like so much?

    Posted by  on  06/16  at  12:11 PM
  22. The only fjord Sarah Palin is familiar with is the F-150.

    Posted by  on  06/16  at  12:51 PM
  23. I’m pretty sure Sarah had a brief fling with some guy named Fjord. Or at least that’s what he told her his name was when they left the bar.

    capcha “public” as this is public knowledge

    Posted by  on  06/16  at  03:53 PM
  24. Are you quoting Austen, cheap modern erotica, or an early twentieth-century anti-immigrant pamphlet?

    If you saw the play, you too would go with the middle one.  And today, Spain seemed to like the way England played, so they went all sloppy and messy; getting stung by a limp ball caroming off a defender right into the foot of a Swiss forward. 

    Mock Turtles:  band, soup, praline chocolates, character, all rolled into one?

    Posted by  on  06/16  at  06:41 PM
  25. Clearly Green’s error was more disastrous for two reasons.
    1. I am English (as in ‘British Petroleum’wink and
    2. ‘ice’ hockey is an inexplicable game played people in cold isolated countries like Finland and Antarctica, that I just don’t care about, apart from when the fighting starts.

    Posted by  on  06/17  at  08:31 PM
  26. Naomi Klein on the Gulf!

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  07:52 PM
  27. Michael, it’s been a loooong time since I’ve checked in here. As it turns out, teaching takes up a hell of a lot of one’s time.

    Anyhoo, I distinctly recall soccer being, well, not exactly welcomed on this-here blog back during WC ‘06. What changed?

    Hope the playoffs treated you well. I was never a Blackhawks fan despite my Chicago and downstate roots.

    Posted by  on  06/24  at  11:53 AM
  28. I distinctly recall soccer being, well, not exactly welcomed on this-here blog back during WC ‘06.

    Really?  Because in ‘06 I was watching the WC final in a small town in the south of France, having turned the blog over to guest hosts Chris Clarke and Lindsay Beyerstein.  Anyway, good to hear from you, Paul.  Yes, teaching does take up a hell of a lot of one’s time.  As does becoming middle aged and getting old, as Ringo remarked in A Hard Day’s Night.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/25  at  09:58 AM
  29. Michael,

    As a born and raised New Yorker who has lurked on your site and read your books I am finally commenting.

    First:

    You are far and away the most entertaining hockey analyst in America. This comes from someone who had season Ranger tickets from 82/83-86/87.

    That said, I loathe the Philadelphia Flyers. To this day, a youtube video of the thugs in action makes me cringe. Even so, I feel terrible for Leighton. That is one of the worst moments in pro-sports (and much under-reported). Green? Who gives a *&^%? A meaningless qualifying game where the Brits simply wanted to prove superiority. . .and--sorrily--could not.

    Please keep writing!

    david

    Posted by  on  08/07  at  10:24 PM
  30. Robert Green’s is worse.

    Posted by new chanel purse  on  09/10  at  02:21 AM

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