My World Wednesday: FOOTBALL!

It might seem strange to some but I love International Football. Oh, that's soccer here in the U.S. There is a huge tournament going on right now called Euro 2008. It happens only once every four years so it is quite a big deal. Sixteen European teams are playing in the host countries Austria and Switzerland.

My favorite club team is Bayern München so it follows that my favorite national team is Germany. Germany is the favorite in this tournament but they always do well. In their first match, they scored 2 goals. Certainly they will make it through to the quarter-finals.

Those who have never gotten into football say that it's boring--90 minutes of play and the score is 0-0? While the score determines the winner and a goal is great fun, every kick or touch of the ball is exciting to us fans. When Germany plays, it is difficult for me to even breathe the whole match.

Footballers are the most athletic of all sports players. These guys run up and down the field for 90 minutes with only a 15 minute break between halves. They don't wear padding and helmets but often get an elbow to the head or a spiked foot to the back. And they are cute!

At heart I may be a football hooligan. Watching football is the only time I yell at the TV. Actually it is the only time I yell. I swear and wish terrible things for players of opposing teams. I am not a good sport at all. My husband is embarrassed by me. My most reviled teams are England and Brazil.

My favorite player is the German National Team Captain, Michael Ballack or Balla as he's known. He left Bayern München for Chelsea in England so I'm still a bit upset with him. But he's a great asset for the German team.

Oliver Kahn was goalkeeper for many years and I loved watching him. They call him Lion Face because, well, he does look like a lion when he's directing his teammates. He's a big guy and could cover the whole net with ease.

My all-time favorite footballer though is Lothar Matthäus or Loda as he was known. He played such a long time and was one of Germany's stars. He even came to New York at the end of his career but didn't fit in too well with the American way of soccer. I believe he's coaching now.

Euro 2008 runs all month. Right now there are two matches a day, on TV here from noon until about 4:30 in the afternoon. As you might imagine, I won't get much done in June.