July 5, 2006
I spent part of my long holiday weekend watching the World Cup match between Brazil and France, flipping between Univision and ESPN. I understand maybe one word in a hundred on Univision so it’s not exactly adding to my store of soccer knowledge (thus having to switch to ESPN once in a while so I’d have a better idea what was up with a particular yellow card, for instance) but it sure is entertaining. Proof that I am quite possibly too sensitive for my own good: I got teary-eyed at two different commercials shown during the Univision coverage (in Spanish, of course, so you’d think they’d wash right over me, but no). The worst was the one for a phone company which told the poignant tale of a guy whose dad took him to soccer matches every Sunday when he was a boy and now he was a father with his own son to watch soccer with and that made him remember the Sundays with his dad, and also that he hadn’t talked to his dad in too long, so he called him and it was just so circle-of-life and touching and stuff.
But the commercials weren’t the important thing. The important thing was that France won. France was not supposed to prevail–Brazil has won something like seventy of the last seventy-five World Cups (all figures very approximate)–but they did win, and by the overwhelming margin of 1-0. I think I know why: it was the uniforms (or kits, as I’ve learned they’re called). The French players were a vision in white, with both the jerseys and shorts containing red and blue accents, which tied in nicely with the French flag. Further adding to the visual cohesiveness of the look, both top and bottom included some swoopy pointy bits. The gentlemen from Brazil sported what I understand is a traditional yellow and blue combination. Now, yellow and blue do go together, and both colors appear in the country’s flag, so they make sense for the national team. The problem came in the accent colors. The jersey had green accents–green also being a color in the flag, so that’s cool. The shorts? Had white accents. That was a mistake. Yellow would have provided just as much contrast to the blue as the white did and also forged a critical link between the bottom of the outfit and the top. The nifty yellow shoes some of the players wore could not salvage a coordinated look. As it was, it looked like they’d put on some other team’s shorts. No doubt this dissonance in the look prevented them from concentrating on their game.