I'm so caught up in this competition that I'm missing out on all the other sports events that are going on: the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup, the French Open, the National Spelling Bee, and this weekend's auto races at Texas Motor Speedway. I'm just grateful that I found time to watch Conan O'Brien take over The Tonight Show.
After Wednesday's concerto performances, I got to see the tail end of the U.S. soccer team getting skunked in Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifying match. The loss itself is probably just a speed bump in terms of qualifying for the big tournament, but the team's performance (dismal by all accounts) raises some questions. Now they've got another match tonight, a home game against Honduras. I'll be checking on the game after we're done this evening. Don't sleep on the Hondurans; they've got some talent.
Other World Cup qualifiers that might interest our finalists: Japan won their game this morning against Uzbekistan, becoming the first country to officially qualify for the World Cup, so if Nobuyuki Tsujii is a soccer fan, he has reason to cheer. Son Yeol-eum is more of a basketball fan, but she'll be glad to note that South Korea is currently cruising in their game against the United Arab Emirates. They're almost in the tournament as well. (In other Asian soccer news, North Korea tied Iran, which could have some political repercussions in the Middle East.)
Italy is idle this week, so Mariangela Vacatello has no rooting interest, but she and Bozhanov both might be following Bulgaria's home match against Ireland later this afternoon. Bulgaria badly needs a win, but the Irish (under their new Italian coach) have been awfully difficult to beat. If Ireland wins, they'll overtake Italy for first place in their qualifying group, but Italy will still have one game more to take back the top spot, so I Azzurri won't be too concerned.
As for Di Wu and Zhang Haochen, they're out of luck if they're soccer fans. China's soccer team was eliminated last year in a humiliating loss to Iraq. Well, as we saw at last year's Olympics, there's plenty of other sports for the Chinese to dominate.