This is Why It's Called the World Cup!

Cosmic VarianceBy Mark TroddenJul 11, 2006 4:38 AM


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In an exciting game, marred by one bizarre incident, Italy won the World Cup yesterday, beating France on penalties (not PKs), after the score was tied at 1-1 at full time and again after extra time (not overtime). France had gone ahead early in the game, through a (heart-stoppingly close) penalty taken by retiring star Zinédine Zidane, but Italy came back strongly and Marco Materazzi scored a wonderfully headed goal (not an offensive strike) within the next ten minutes. The two goal scorers were involved in a ridiculous incident about twenty minutes before full time, when Zidane headbutted Materazzi in the chest after exchanging some words. It is unclear what was said, and there have been some claims that a racist remark was made. But the most compelling story I've heard so far (apparently backed up by lip-readers) is that, after some shirt pulling, Zidane asked Materazzi if he'd like his shirt, and Materazzi told Zidane that he should keep it for his sister and then called her a prostitute. I guess we'll find out eventually. In any case, Zidane was sent off and left in disgrace. For the third World Cup in a row I held a party to watch the game. I've mentioned before how international physics is. Combine this with the international appeal of football (not soccer) and you get quite a mixed crowd for a party like that. Unless I'm missing someone, my party was attended by people from (in no particular order)

  • The United States.

  • England

  • Italy

  • Brazil

  • Argentina

  • New Zealand

  • Mexico

  • Romania

  • Japan

There would have been even more nationalities if it wasn't the summer, when a lot of people travel. It truly is a wonderful perk of being a physicist, to work in such an international community, and we should definitely advertise it to young people considering a career in physics. We had a great time, celebrated with the six Italians present, drank a lot of wine and beer and ate well. Almost as importantly, we indulged in another World-Cup related pastime; complaining about the ABC commentators. Just so you don't feel left out, I've involved you in this little game with my italicized comments throughout the text. Only four years to wait until the next one!

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