Friday, June 29, 2012

Superstition Ain't the Way

Franz Beckenbauer:

Beckenbauer, 66, lamented the "curse" Italy have over Germany at major tournaments - having remarkably still never beaten them in a competitive match - but believes reaching the semi-final was still a good achievement for a young team.

"I think we have too much respect (for Italy). The talk about the curse of Italy seemed to paralyse the players," he wrote.



Soccer is a strange game, and how much history plays into contest like this is often overlooked. Germany remain unable to beat Italy in a meaningful game at this level, and it goes beyond the level of luck to a matter of psychology. Italy never appeared really challenged in this game, even when they made some nearly disastrous gaffes early on. But Germany did grow flustered, as if they believed not only that they were destined to win the game – but that there was no way they should be losing it so early on.

Often overlooked. Yes, if only someone besides every lazy staff writer covering the sport, every studio analyst on ESPN and the ghost of Oswald Spengler had dared to broach the possibility that a mystical sense of historical destiny was more relevant than the mundane details of the particular match in question. There's simply no precedent for a better team being upset by an underdog, and with a statistical sample stretching right to the cusp of high single digits, what other conclusion could any reasonable person draw?

I want you all to bookmark this post, in case I need someone to present it as evidence in my defense after I finish my killing spree and wind up sitting in court, drooling, kicking at imaginary soccer balls and gibbering incoherently about the difference between causation and correlation in response to the judge's questions.