Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Main Event

So the World Cup final will be France against Croatia.

Somewhat shockingly, England has still only made it to one championship game, back in 1966. TigerBlog would have guessed that the English would have been there a bunch of times in the early days at least.

The latest loss, 2-1 to Croatia in the semifinals, has to really sting the English. They scored early and seemed on the verge of adding two or three more, only to have the Croats tie it in the second half and win it in extra time. 

As for France, it is 1-1 in the finals, with a win over Brazil in 1998 and a loss to Italy in 2006. France won in 1998 in Paris, and England won in 1966 in London. France is the only team to win at home since 1978, and of course that won't happen this year, since the game will be in Russia.

TigerBlog was in Ireland in 2008 for the European championships. Ireland wasn't even in it that year and Dublin was nuts.

Can you imagine being in France or Croatia Sunday, or Monday if they win? Well, TB actually knows someone - three someones - who will be in Paris this weekend.

BrotherBlog and Joe, the official brother-in-law of TigerBlog, are headed there today. They'll be in Paris for the World Cup final.

Even BrotherBlog will have to be aware that some major sporting event is in progress.

They'll be joined there early Monday morning by Miss TigerBlog ’22, who will be spending a week in Paris with them. If France wins, the party will still be going when her flight touches down shortly after dawn. If France loses, well, there'll be a lot of hungover people anyway, TB presumes.

It's an international summer for TB's children. MTB was offered a graduation party or the trip to France; she chose very wisely.

As for TigerBlog Jr., he is in Israel. He's been there since June 24, and he'll be there until the end of the World Lacrosse Championships, which began yesterday with a game between Hong Kong and Luxembourg.

From the World Cup to the World Championships. If you're like TigerBlog, then you're glad the main event is finally here. 

TBJ is playing in a league separate from the World Championships but at the same site, in the Tel Aviv surburb/beach town of Netanya. He is also working at the championships, doing stats and helping out the ESPN people.

His first 10 days were spent touring, from Haifa in the north of the country, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and then south to the Negev Desert. He's sent a bunch of pictures, including his "selfie" on a mountain with Syria behind him and one of him and his group covered in mud from the Dead Sea.

Somewhat surprisingly, he's texted more from Israel than he does in an entire school year in Connecticut.

It's a great opportunity for him, of course. Travel. Night life. Lacrosse.

Princeton has four players who are competing in Israel, and they're on four different teams.

Andrew Song, a rising sophomore, is playing for China. The longstick midfielder had a dynamic freshman season for Princeton and is one of the main reasons for the optimism that surrounds the program.

Princeton, if you forgot, will enter the 2019 season with the longest winning streak in Division I, and it will do so with a deep corps of players who are rising sophomores and juniors who already have a ton of experience.

Song played his first game at 9:30 Israeli time this morning, which means 2:30 am Eastern time. TBJ has promised to get some pictures; TB will see if he follows through.

The other three Princeton players are all alums, and they're all in the top division. TBJ is supposed to get pictures of them too.

The final almost surely will be the U.S. and Canada, which would mean Tom Schreiber against Zach Currier. Alistair Berven, who graduated in 2017 with Currier, plays defense for England.

TigerBlog put a story on that has the schedule broken down by each player. You can see it HERE.

There will be a lot of television coverage of this tournament, including this afternoon at 1:30 Eastern when the U.S. opens against the Iroquois, who solved their passport issues to get to Israel.

The championship game is a week from Saturday at 10 am Israel time. That's 3 am Eastern time.

TigerBlog will be awake.

Why wouldn't he be? The final of the biggest world championship event in sports this summer?

Okay, okay. He'll admit it. The World Cup is bigger.

And hey, he can love both.

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