By Craig Fortran
Unless the US somehow beats Germany and gets to the Sweet 16, or whatever they call it, this whole World Cup thing really isn’t convincing anyone here that soccer is a major-league sport.
Some quick observations:
- So we beat Ghana. The richest country in the history of the world with over 300M people beat a barren country with about 25 people and a goat? This is the equivalent of beating Texarkana. And we won by one goal.
- The poverty in countries like Ghana makes them more susceptible to fixing of games. Ghana, in particular, is under investigation for fixing other games for gambling crime syndicates.
- We allegedly were beating Portugal, a slightly more historic country – heck, they owned Brazil for a while – and the 90 minutes were up. BUT the referees also have some top-secret extra time even the announcers don’t know about, and Portugal ties it in the 92nd minute or so. Then the game is just over. Even my local pee-wee AYSO league has overtime, but this one abruptly ended 2-2. So what’s the use of the clock?
- I guess the extra two minutes were because players flop around on the ground pretending to be hurt during regulation. What the heck is that?
- The mystery time at the end of the game seems really subjective, like pro wrestling, when the ref gets distracted by some craziness outside the ring, missing that Jake “The Snake” really has a steel pipe in his pocket, hitting Ricky Steamboat and the ref turns around to record the pin.
- FIFA seems really crooked in general. The 2022 World Cup is in oil-soaked Qatar. Really?
- According to reports, this World Cup appears to have cost Brazil a TRILLION dollars in infrastructure repairs and the building of stadiums, let alone the cost of the country cracking down on its own poverty/crime issues. Why not do this tournament in a country like the USA, where we already have hundreds of stadiums that can hold tons of people? It’s not hard to turn a football field into a soccer field. The highways are already in good shape. Crime isn’t so bad, relatively. Plenty of hotels.
- I guess it’s the same excuse why Popes rarely visit; we just aren’t Catholic enough; we just aren’t soccer enough.
- Yeah, some of that trillion dollars is going toward infrastructure for the 2016 Olympics, as well, also to be held in Brazil. And we know that the IOC isn’t crooked, right?
- Most Americans give up on soccer around third grade, when a phys ed instructor tells us we can’t use our hands. That said, I’m surprised there are no armless players in the World Cup. Baseball has had a couple.
- Is there a way to make this sport more high-scoring? Steroids? Helium in the ball? If a team is down 1-0, it’s like moving a mountain just to tie the game. The US made a mistake against Portugal in the first few minutes and had to fight the rest of the game.
- In sports like baseball, football and especially basketball, an early mistake is easily recoverable.
But even if America beats Germany and then goes on to win the whole tournament, it likely won’t matter much here. Sure, there will be a TV Movie of the Week about it, and some T-shirt sales (about 1/100th of Johnny Manziel jersey sales). The finale will get good ratings; maybe even beat “America’s Got Talent” for the week. It helps that Brazil is in about the same time zone as us.
By the following week, we will be back to wondering what’s going on in NFL training camp, and what will happen at the “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” in theaters.
It’s only soccer.