The Day After

Here are some musings on the USA while I wonder why Japan would want to make Brazil so angry by daring to score 1st in their game? 

Yes, the penalty was a terrible call.  But both Ghana goals were preventable.  Don't know what Reyna was thinking on the first.  Never play with it in the back, he should have just booted upfield to clear his lines.  To add injury to insult, that play knocked him out of the WC and will probably be his last game for the USA besides a cameo on Claudia Reyna Night coming on a cold night next year in Columbus.  Pre-order your bobblehead now. 

The 2nd Ghana goal was even worse.  Bocanegra needed to knock it out of bounds.  Gives Ghanaa throw-in, but no real danger.  Instead he plays with it, gets chased down, beat on a header and then the penalty call on Gooch.  Game over, as this USA team was never going to score 2 goals in a half. 

Ghana played a smart game.  They pressured for moments, then set-back and roughed the US up (32 fouls on Ghana to 16 for USA) and then used the counter-attack.  But without Essien who's suspended on cards, they will get rolled by Brazil.  Hey look, Ronaldo is scoring again.  He still can't move, but is a clinical finisher. 

Where does the US go from here? Don't know, but I'm headed to Koln for France-Togo right now.  Actually, I'm preparing a whole state of the USA soccer piece that I'll post in the next week.  Feel free to send me your ideas, so I can laugh at their silliness and revel in my mock-intellectual superiority. 

A final word on the WC refereeing: shitesnessstrautsausageweisersuckfest as the Germans so eloquently put it.  And I couldn't agree more.  The parade of yellow cards and penalty kicks is ruining the game.  A player from Croatia last night managed to receive an unprecedented 3 yellows in one game.  My biggest reason for seeing France-Togo was to watch Zidane play.  He's the greatest player (along with Ronaldo) of the past 20 years and retiring after the WC.  Instead, he's suspended for picking up a 2nd yellow in the 90th minute against S. Korea on a horrible call.  Let the players play. 

Enjoy the games.         

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4 Comments on “The Day After”

  1. Hup Oranje Hup Says:

    Sorry about the USA. I wanted them to win, but in my heart of hearts, I’m happy for Ghana, who, as a country, appreciates the sport so much more than Americans.

    There’s been a lot of complaining that the USA didn’t come out to play. Let’s face it, other teams don’t want to let their countries down and they play for pride of their country. Throw in a few death threats, and you have a really motivated opponent. I bet most Americans didn’t even know they were eliminated unless they happened upon a short segment on the nightly news. If the NBA Finals were still going, even less would know. We’re at a point where most of today’s young dads played the game when they were young, and as there is more of an intergenerational interest in the game, there will be more interest in the World Cup. And having lots of immigrants doesn’t hurt, either!

    I liked the referee in the Argentina – Holland game. I have no idea who he was since I watched the game on Univision. Sure, he made a couple bad calls (against the Oranje, of course), but he only gave yellow cards when appropriate (and possibly just to placate FIFA). He let the players complain and get something off their chest (let them have their emotions — it’s the World Cup, for crying out loud), and would signal with his hands to calm down. The best part was the looks he would give — no language barrier at all. When a player would go too far, he would just gave the player the look where another referee (like the one in the USA – Italy match) would give a yellow.

    Hup Holland Hup!

  2. flair2 Says:

    I completely disagree with the statement that the US doesn’t deserve to win based on fan interest. Millions of Americans are following the WC. It’s a gigantic country and is never going to shut down ala Brazil when the USA plays but if fan interest is the main qualification for winning than wouldn’t England win everytime? But English fans are the main reason why so many people (myself included) root against England.

    It’s certainly easier to swallow the USA losing out to Ghana rather than say Italy, but it still hurt. Overall, the USA was not good enough on the field to advance and that is the bottom line.

  3. Hup Oranje Hup Says:

    I wouldn’t, and didn’t, say that “the US doesn’t deserve to win based on fan interest.” The best team deserves to win and clearly that was not the USA. I’m just happy for the people of Ghana.

    I’d love to see the US make a run in the WC, say to the finals. It would generate so much hype and interest here in the States. I don’t know if you are aware just how disinterested _most_ Americans are in the WC. Sure, millions are following, but I don’t know if there are tens of millions following. If there are, it would be the low tens.

    Let me give you an example. Today, watching the game on a big screen at a bar/restaurant, there was one other man somewhat interested, another man who was asking me about some of the rules and was moderately interested, and a few boys (at least two of them sons of the moderately interested man) who were fairly interested. The rest of the crowd (50-60 people) had little to no interest. Typical comment overheard: “I can’t wait for the baseball game to come on.” There were a couple men far more interested in the bass fishing tournament highlights that came on afterwards.

    I thought people hated the English fans because they are a bunch of hooligans, not because they love the sport and their team so much.

  4. flair2 Says:

    No one can argue with the guys who wanted to watch Bass Fishing. After all, the only thing better than fishing is watching it on TV.

    I sincerely believe that every WC will bring a substanstial increase in viewing numbers in the US. Just think about how many more kids play soccer now than did only 10 years ago? These will be the people in bars next time. Kinda like the Cubs generation that was weaned on day games on WGN and has made Wrigley into an automatic sell-out. The Cubs had some horrific attendance figures in the 70s and 80s, but because people grew up watching they started going to games. The next generation of US sports fans will have been much more exposed to soccer than the previous. Don’t forget the USA sold-out its ticket allotment to this WC as quickly as Brazil, Argentina, Italy etc.

    Also, more and more European clubs will start training in the USA. There were sell-outs all along the East Coast last summer for exhibition matches with Chelsea, Juventus, etc. Fifa wants the game to succeed in the USA for money purposes and certainly Nike and all the big sponsors do as well. I don’t think soccer will ever challenge the big 3 in the USA but it will grow into a very comfortable/lucrative niche sport.

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