All this talk about religion, politics, racism, sexism, etc. is getting a bit stale. One in seven people on the planet will watch this game live or taped. Does the A/N population number many football fans?
Lets go Blues.

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Ex-Brit here and I can't stand soccer; it was always very pointless to me, with matches always played and attended by hooligans.
It used to be in some places. But I don't believe that the world's most played sport can be fairly characterized like that. How Soccer Explains The World has an interesting analysis of the "hooligan" aspect of the fans. Short version -- most popular sport, lots of unemployed young people, anger and resentment at the system, jerkishness reigns.

In America there is a huge NIH syndrome -- especially among sports writers.

I would love to see the professionals from other sports do what the average soccer player does during a game. Two 45-minute halves on a field bigger than a football field with no timeouts and a maximum of three substitutions per team per game. Referees at the upper levels have been clocked at covering 12 miles during a game. Players might average 5-6 miles each. There is a reason you never see fat or out of shape soccer players at competitive levels, regardless of the age (I ref all ages from 8 to over 50 -- some of the old guys aren't what they used to be.)

re "pointless": What is the point of any sport? Or stamp collecting? Or not-stamp-collecting? Or gourmet cooking? Or music? Or poetry? Or rock-climbing? Or golf? Or macrame?
I like football, cricket and rugby. But ya i find sport pointless too...

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