Thursday, July 26, 2007

U20 World Cup Wrap-up

I thought about doing some kind of tournament recap, but it basically boiled down to this: Argentina won, Canada sucked, I didn't hate the US tinies as much as I thought, Spain got my hopes up only to choke as usual, teenage boys are hot-headed idiots, tasering people is bad. The end.

The incident with the Chilean team, as far as I know, still hasn't been resolved. I suspect the truth is that both the Chilean players and the Toronto police were partly to blame. But FIFA's going to be investigating it, which means we'll probably never hear what actually happened.

Apart from that controversy, though, it was a very successful tournament, setting attendance records -- 1,195,299 spectators, ahead of the 1,155,160 in Mexico in 1983 -- and getting some decent TV ratings. (This despite the fact that the CBC shunted a lot of the games off to Country Canada rather than showing them on the main network.)

Encouraged by this, the CSA are considering bidding for the Women's World Cup in 2011. But if they do that, I hope there are a few more proper stadiums -- I mean not necessarily soccer-specific stadiums, because putting down a new pitch isn't such a huge problem, but stadiums that are the right size. This time around, the venues ranged from Swangard Stadium in Vancouver, with a measley 10,000 seats, to the 60,000-seat Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, which was usually about half-full. They need some kind of happy medium, because even if they're selling 30,000 tickets or so to games, the crowd looks lost rattling around in a gigantic stadium.

While I'm being critical, let's talk about the CBC, who were the host broadcasters. The commentators, for the most part, were fine -- probably because the majority were organized by FIFA instead of being drawn from the CBC. As for the in-house guys, Nigel Reed and Craig Forrest did a decent job on their games (although I could have done with slightly less preaching from Forrest about Argentina's diving in the final; I don't like diving any more than you do, Craig, but I don't need to be beaten about the head with it in the commentary either). The other team, Steve Armitage and Paul Dolan...not so much. Dolan's a former national team member, so he knows his stuff, but Armitage is clearly not a soccer guy, and I couldn't get away from the impression that he was meant to be commentating an NHL game instead ("He shoots...he scores!").

They also seemed to have a problem synching up their satellite feed for some of the games, because the audio was slightly ahead of the video. Most of the time it wasn't a big deal (the commentators just seemed unusually on top of things), but you really don't want to hear them announcing a goal before you've actually seen the ball hit the back of the net.

The CBC did have a pretty good website, for the tournament, including a comprehensive rundown of all the groups, with team-by-team analysis. Probably the best part of their coverage was that all the games were streamed live on the website, or available to watch later.

On the other hand, the CBC site was far from perfect. If they want to feature commentators' blogs, for example, then they need to be updated more than once a week. My biggest quibble was that they didn't have the most basic thing: a page where you could see all the fixtures and results at once. It's not that hard; both Sportsnet and TSN managed to put one together, and the Sportsnet page even has links to individual match reports.

Okay, I know that most of y'all are probably bored by now. But the Women's World Cup is coming up this September on the CBC, and I live in hope that somebody from the Mothership may actually take note of some of this for their coverage down the road.

No comments: