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rfrobison
06-24-2009, 09:07 PM
Yes they can!

No billion dollar a year program required. Awesome.

claymisher
06-24-2009, 09:08 PM
Woah, spoilers. Change that!

Lyle
06-25-2009, 02:52 AM
I think we caught Spain on a bad day. Not their best performance. Hats off to the U.S. though.

bjkeefe
06-26-2009, 05:54 PM
There is a none-too-happy neocon reaction to this result, so of course, your Wonkette (http://wonkette.com/409507/the-official-neocon-stance-on-soccer-the-childrens-game) must weigh in, too.

Bonus: claymishers's pain (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=117353#post117353) is shared.

uncle ebeneezer
06-26-2009, 07:28 PM
Socio-political reasons for the popularity (or un-popularity) of a sport seems like a stretch. I loved soccer and played it from childhood through high school. But once I went to college that was pretty much it. Now it seems boring to me. I don't think it's because of the lack of scoring. I learned to love baseball. I think it's all about exposure. There was just far more baseball, basketball and football readily available when I was acquiring my aesthetic taste for sports. And I think, like food taste, we get much of it from whatever our parents were into (thus my love of tennis.) But then again, I still think Nascar, bowling, poker, horse-racing etc. are all incredibly boring and there's no lack of regular programming for any of those.

nikkibong
06-26-2009, 08:03 PM
Considering the habits of the contemporary sports fan, I would suspect that varying degrees of populartiy can be attributed to which sports are the best to watch on television. Hockey sucks: the puck is too small, you spend the whole time squinting. Soccer sucks: the field is too big, you get whiplash careening back and forth. And poker sucks: why in god's name would anyone watch poker on TV??, you spend the whole time sleeping.

Meanwhile, basketball, baseball, and, ahem, American football (a game which I peronsally despise) seem to be perfectly proportioned for the tube.

As for the baffling popularity of soccer amongst non-American; it seems to me that a lot of it is mixed up in primitive (and depressing) notions of nationalism and tribalism in a way that American sports aren't. (Boston vs. New York rivarly ain't exactly akin to, say, Japan and Korea.) I was in South Korea during the '06 world cup, and I watched my sophisticated friends turn into bile spewing monsters, directing racist hate at whichever country's soccer team their team was playing. So I don't even think it's about the game, really. Especially considering that I witnessed a similar phenomenon regarding the rugby world cup when I happened to be in Paris in October 2007.

rfrobison
06-26-2009, 11:50 PM
I finally watched the U.S.-Spain match last night. Not nearly as much fun when you know the result ahead of time, but I wanted to see how it went. And while Spain dominated the game in terms of possession and shots on goal, the U.S. played tenaciously and put the ball in the net. In the end, that's the only statistic that matters.

People talk about who "deserved to win" to denigrate the U.S. victory. The CNN "World Sport" sportscaster last night said they "won ugly." But that's sour grapes, if you ask me. If that's your attitude, why bother having a match at all? You could just compile all the relevant statistics of the individual players and have a computer pick the "winner."

I've never understood the need for some righties to dump on soccer all the time. I've heard all the charges against the sport: no action (cf. golf, Nascar, much baseball), that it's for sissies because it's (mostly) a non-contact sport (but people watch Wimbledon with interest), etc. Personally, I think it comes down to a simple "We-don't-like-it-because-them-furiners-do" mentality. I like American exceptionalism as much as the next guy, but come on...This is just silly.

Not sure I buy the "ugly nationalism" argument Nikki was making.There's always an element of that in international sports--and soccer attracts a certain yobbish fan in some countries. On the other hand, look at the "celebrations" in some U.S. cities after an NBA championship and you'll see loutish fans aren't unique to soccer.

Maybe I'm odd, but I kind of like watching the U.S. compete internationally in a sport where they are in with a shout but not expected to dominate. I like the pageantry and the fact that the "undeserving" team sometimes comes out on top. By the way, the idea that this happens more in soccer than other sports is absurd. I like watching (American) football a lot, but how many games are decided by a bad ref call or a fluke play. The same is true in baseball, basketball, or any other sport.

I gotta hand it to the U.S. squad: They get no attention from the U.S. media--except to snicker about their lack of attention--virtually no public recognition, very modest financial rewards. They're constantly underrated by their opponents, but they go out play for the love of the game--and occasionally beat the odds.

That's why I'm a fan of U.S. soccer. And I'm gonna be one no matter what the dweebs at the AEI blog say. So, there.

My prediction for the Confederations Cup championship match:

Brazil 3 - United States 1.

uncle ebeneezer
06-27-2009, 12:06 AM
Yeah as much as I hate the Yankees, Boston and New York don't have a history involving military conflict, subjugation, ethnic cleansing etc.

I would add that for many countries, soccer is all they have. It's cheap to play, and doesn't require outlier-ish physical attributes (unlike basketball or American Football.) So anybody can play. Of course why soccer, and not rugby, well you got me there.

Lyle
06-30-2009, 11:45 AM
I'm with you and it was a great result, but the U.S. isn't a world class team. One thing that bothers me about some U.S. fans is they have no perspective on how good or bad the U.S. is. They just think the U.S. should make it to the quaterfinals or higher of every World Cup now, and that's ludicrous.

The U.S. is decent and can pull off an upset here and there, but our overall record against the best teams in the world tells the tale, I think.

rfrobison
06-30-2009, 12:06 PM
Yeah,

It was a heartbreaker to hear how they gave up a two-goal lead against Brazil in the final. I think Donovan summed it up nicely after the game. He said, roughly, "It's not enough to get respect, we've got to start winning games like this."

I'm looking forward to the Gold Cup and World Cup. We'll see if they're able to build on anything they may have learned from this latest effort. Personally, I'd be happy to see them make the round of 16 in Johannesburg, but who knows?

Lyle
06-30-2009, 01:01 PM
Next summer will likely depend on what group we get in. If we get another 'group of death' like in Germany, we'll likely not progress again. Once you get in the playoff round anything can happen I guess.

Luckily the World Cup will be full of some poor sides and the U.S. will have a decent shot of progressing, but then the minnows might pull an upset against the U.S.

At least our guys know they can beat in the best in the world and scare the bejesus out of Brazil.

The other factor is I think the European and South American teams seem to perform poorly when they don't play in either Europe or South America (completely anecdotal). So maybe some of those teams will under perform next summer.

Lyle
06-30-2009, 01:04 PM
Korea in 2002 was great. It could happen again, the problem is now we want the quaterfinals or else and it all depends on who we play. England hasn't got past the quaterfinals in long time and Spain has never even won the tournament. That's how hard the World Cup is. A good showing is all I ever want.