"Football punditry is no doubt the most facile and inconsequential form of writing known to man," declares Tim Parks in The New York Review of Books. "So," giggles Arts & Letters Daily at the rest of the article, "why shouldn't the New York Review of Books try its hand at it?"
Having just declared soccer writing "facile," Parks admits that he "read[s] it avidly. In one's eagerness to remain within the emotional aura of a memorable game one laps up any silliness." (Wire editorial aside: Say, this, for example.) Thus, continues Parks, "[t]he genius of football pundits is to take the most recent result as a demonstration of absolute reality. They know that the losing fans won't be reading about the game--they want to forget--and that the winners want to feel that victory was heroic, deserved, inevitable." That leads them to overconfident predictions that a team that just won a decisive victory will win another one: though pundits predicted Germany would handle Spain easily after dispatching England and Argentina 4-1 and 4-0, respectively, it turned out "[t]he Spanish were superior to an extent one rarely sees in the final stages of a major competition."
This, it turns out, is not the main point of Parks's piece, which focuses more on the general frustration of a rather ugly series of games.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.