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July 14, 2011

Japan stuns U.S. in Women's World Cup final; plus LeBron leads parade of 6 Miamians on new most-annoying-in-sports list (with poll); plus Brian Wilson, the lure of U.S. women in World Cup & more

[Twitter.com/gregcote: The Twitter site that U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo would most want to you to follow if she'd ever heard of you, or me].

U.S. WOMEN'S WORLD CUP RUN ENDS IN FINAL DEFEAT: Japan wins 3-1 on penalty kicks after 2-2 tie through overtime. Cannot say Americans deserved to win after missing three consecutive PKs. Also tough to not feel happy for Japan, with this to cheer at least after the disasters of enduring an earthquake and tsunami. ..... Oh my again. Japan ties it 2-2 off a corner kick in OT, in 117th minute. Looks like penalty kicks will decide this World Cup. .....Abby Wambach header for 2-1 U.S. lead in OT! Textbook. ..... Overtime. Still liking U.S. chances, but my jingoism lends very little nuetrality. ..... Oh my. Japan ties it 1-1 in 80th minute. ..... Alex Morgan goal gives USA 1-0 lead in 69th minute! ..... U.S. and Japan were 0-0 at halftime of today's Women's World Cup final in Gemany. Americans had the best handful of goal chances, especially early, before play leveled. I explore the phenomenon of this USA women's team in a recent column; click here to read. I think that in a nation so divisive, so splintered, we are drawn to rare common ground. To what unites us. 

LEBRON NAMED 4TH-MOST ANNOYING SPORTS FIGURE: I am not sure whether to be annoyed on LeBron James' behalf that he made the list at all, or to be annoyed on behalf of Clevelanders that he didn't rank 1aaa1josec 1aaa1chado 1aaa1alexr 1aaa1mercm 1aaa1drewr 1aaa1lebronj even higher. The list is "The 50 Most Annoying People in Sports Today," from Complex.com, and you'd click here for the complete slideshow. To save you time, the top 10: 1. Dick Vitale, exclamatory basketball announcer; 2. Miami's own Alex Rodriguez, Yankees 3B; 3. Brett Favre, retired (maybe) QB; 4. Heat's LeBron; 5. Joe Buck, sportscaster; 6. Albert Haynesworth, Redskins DT; 7. Jim Rome, shout-radio and TV host; 8. Miami's own Chad (Johnson) Ochocinco, Bengals WR; 9. Skip Bayless, ESPN clown; and 10. Gene Auriemma, UConn women's basketball coach. Joining A-Rod, LeBron and Ochocinco in the top-50 with direct Miami ties: 11. Mercury Morris, Perfect Season-obsessed former Dolphins RB; 13. Drew Rosenhaus, pub-glomming sports agent; and 45. Jose Canseco, former juiced-up baseball player. Also of note: Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, 17th; Patriots quiniela of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, 22nd and 29th; Jets coach and foot fetishist Rex Ryan, 37th; and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, 49th. Of Miami's "Annoying 6" (pictured randomly above), Ochocinco, Rosenhaus and Canseco are to me the three musts, the Hall of Annoying no-brainers. The most surprising/quirky choice among the locals is Mercury, who only is exhumed into public consciousness every few years when an NFL team gets to around 11-0 and he rhapsodizes (or in some cases raps) loudest of all the '72 Perfectos invited to remind us how great they were and, really, continue to be. Presented here in poll form are Miami's Annoying 6. Who most deserves to be on the list? Vote now. And if you voted "somebody else," please do share.

ON BRIAN WILSON: It might or might not be totally coincidental that our earlier item on Most Annoying

1aa1brianwilson Athletes leads us into a piece on Giants pitcher Brian Wilson, whose initial quirkiness seems to have transmogrified into a calculated attempt at bizarreness, a la Charlie Sheen. Pictured: Wilson's outfit at the ESPYs the other night. Fair to call it a skin-tight Spandex tuxedo with an orange bowtie? Wilson also sports the world's most fake-looking real beard. I keep thinking the shelf-life for orchestrated eccentricity is limited -- ask Joaquin Phoenix -- and that within a year Brian will be clean-shaven and wishing this photo was a bad dream. Meantime, I feel for Brian Wilson The Original, the Beach Boys founder and creative force whose name has been hijacked by ... well ... by this.

1aa1spandez SPANDEX MORE AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE: Brian Wilson in Spandex segues to the somewhat more pleasing photo at left and the actuality that there is a website (there really is) devoted to volleyball players wearing Spandex. How I happened upon this website, I would rather not say at this time. Let's just assume I was Googling "Spandau Ballet" and my computer somehow auto-corrected to "Spandex volleyball."

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Jose Canseco is #1.................. for me to poop on!"

Pretty baffling that 15 people have voted for LeBron. Sure it was exciting to have him come to the Heat, but also look at the local economy. They said before the Decision that whatever city LeBron chose...that city would see at least a billion dollar boost in all facets of the local economy (think about it..his arrival benefits everything..arena sells out..bars are crowded..more people at hotels..more people inclined to spend..good good good). South FL is a trip. Really the only team with decent support down here is the Fins. I got your back LeBron.

I think it's the strong showing in the high profile World Cups that gets people going, soccer haters or not...these are times that are of interest. Large numbers of people are always leaving work to go to some sports bar to see the games this year and in last year's men's world cup (not just for US games). Great ratings for an early morning game on Sunday and workday Wednesday.

It also helps that this team is so spirited ..such as in their amazing come back vs Brazil despite adversity: officiating and playing one player down for 1 hour, including 30 minutes of OT when they should simply have been exhausted.

They beat France despite the French midfield's massive dominance.

Not sure if we can handle the newbee Japanese ..their quickness and endurance. But all it takes are a few well placed shots.

mike1,

always have maintained that female volleyball players are as a group the best looking women in sports. it has been the american way for awhile to let the opposition dominate play and then come from nowhere with a goal to advance. as long as they mget corners to put on wanbach's head they will be in the game. the women lack the same midfield flair that the men do and it shows versus the better competition. methinks the japanese will run rings around our ladies on the field but wind up with less goals.

Shadow,

In Soccer the Womens game may lack the speed & power of the Mens game, BUT THEy ARE A HELL OF ALOT NICER TO LOOK AT!!!

Once again if these girls can look "hot" after running around & playing their guts out for 2 hours....just imagine them "made-up" and all ready to out.....

ALEX MORGAN HOTTEST WOMAN @ THIS YEARS WORLD CUP HANDS DOWN !!!!

Each team has 2 or 3 good to look at. But guys have less to look at then women fans do when it comes to sports, from each of their perspectives.

Go USA!

Where's Le Batard on that list?

Dennis Rodman pioneered the "calculated attempt at bizarreness" (which he picked up from Madonna).

Carlitos Estevez just has his nerves on edge!

Alexandra!

Yes, Alex Morgan might be our best looking soccer player. If she scores another goal like the last one even better.

According to a study conducted by researchers at Wake Forest University, female soccer players, while not totally immune to the siren song of the strategic dive, do so much less often than their male counterparts.

The end result of less diving is that watching women play soccer at the highest level is less encumbered by obvious cheating histrionics and more of a pure experience. Sans dramatics, fans can focus on the sport in its pure form.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP5mLY16xTc

I'm off to Africa, back in the fall.

But I just noticed a post on the last blog from "UMike" - this blog is searchable, put your name in the search bar, you'll see a shocking preponderance of you calling people gay and being a shockingly sincere racist. Go f*ck yourself buddy.

If there's no football by the time I get back I'm going to start watching handball.

Greg,

YOU sir are Miami's most annoying sports figure!

I am Kazaam,

I guess you like "Handball," lol, I guess that makes you lonely or pathetic which one, maybe both?

I guess you will be the one doing what you suggest? LOL

Its funny, whenever someone who's not a 12 year old girl writes "lol" I cant help but imagine them sitting by their computer and hysterically laughing out loud like the horrible jackass they are.

JK! TTYL! NAMBLA!

That would be Team Handball -- not a bad sport. Don't worry, there will still be plenty of Euro 2012 qualifiers coming down to the wire; Champions League stuff, and MLS playoffs.

What's on your Africa itinerary, I mentioned before I had also done Kilimanjaro, then several safari's, and Zanzibar island (east beaches and the city on the west side).

Jambo

Shadow,

The French women play great..except on defense.

Colombia missed a regulation PK ..I mean, he missed the goal by a yard. It was a poor call anyway. But they would've won...Instead, Peru gets the win.

Argentina..home country..with Messi... failed to advance. Tiny Uruguay ..always amazing in its socccer prowess. Given it's 3million population. They are neighbors of Argentina; I'm sure they'll help occupy the stadiums.

I am Kazaam, talk about a juvenile name, LMAO is that better jerk off?

Wow, sorry you don't like my name "Anonomous Cane", ill try to think of a more mature one for when I get back - maybe "Timothy Beauregard III"?

mike1 - I did the whole safari thing a few years back, the main event in this trip is climbing mount Kenya, which involves two days of technical rock climbing with an overnight roped in to the side of the mountain. Going to Cairo to see some mosques, Uganda for gorilla tracking, mount Kenya, killinanjaro, chilling out in Zanzibar for a bit, white shark diving in south Africa, diving the red sea from Saudi Arabia, then ending up meeting some friends in Rome.

Head out tomorrow, back by the Ohio state game at the latest - enjoy the rest of your summer of obscure unamerican sports.

The Top 50 link didn't reveal the top 50, just #50 (Jay Cutler) and feedback.
So, was that blowhard Steven A Smith on the list. He is by far worse than Dick Vitale, whose energy is at least positive.

Does this blog still have a pulse? Boop-boop, boop-boop, boop-boop. Ahh... Just barely.

If you watch the highlights and freeze the moment of contact on the 2nd Japanese goal, you will see an incredible shot. Her back was facing the goal and she back kicked a curve ball of the corner kick, first time. Hope Solo had no chance wwith the wicked curve and unexpected nature of the shot. Outstanding, and also lucky that none of the US defenders were there to block it.

Sad to see the US not be able to hold on. Probably poor decision by coach on the penalty shootout takers. Boxx missed her first shot a week ago as well. And a sub who had just come on 5 minutes before the end of OT looked nervous taking her kick.

Kazaaam, I also did Cairo/Luxor when I went to Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. You'll love the east beaches. Hope they are still quiet and pristine.

Yes, we now have FINA World Championships (swimming/diving) going on in Shanghai.

Canadian Football league is in full swing.

Irish Football is steadily prgoressing towards the Final in September.

mike1,

after the men and women can't hold leads, it seems the USA can't play from in front- also happened against brazil in 2009. both chile and japan had horrible calamities that world cup success helped cheer up the natives. missing three kicks in a row in the shootout may never have been done at that high a level. kudos to the japanese and their captain who sat on the bench most of the tournamant and then did the paolo rossi job on the literal giants of germany and the united states.

Shadow,

Brazil missed all 4 of their PK's in the Copa America losss to Paraguay

I don't think anyone has ever done that, especially Brazil.

Kazaam of Arabia,

which brian wilson is more eccentric- the giants' or the beachboys'? the giants' version doesn't have the excuse of being under the influence of LSD/dr eugene landry (?)-i t
hink that was his name- nor the accomplishment of having written such a beautiful song as "in my room", so we vote for the ballplayer. have they brought that hishhash to your tent yet?

boys,

i understand it is hotter in minnesota than in eilat/riyadh/pick the midle eastern spot of choice. 119 degrees in minneapolis- maybe iyt is time for ole #4 to suit up and shvitz a little!!

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