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Why do Americans hate soccer? Well, do you want a real answer to that question, or are you just looking for an excuse to do some dimestore pop psych? Because I think the real reason is probably as mundane as “inertia.” Americans don’t hate soccer, they just don’t have time for it. Your average American sports fan has spent most of his life gaining expert knowledge in one of NFL, MLB, NBA or (in some states) NHL. In his spare time, he follows maybe two others of these, but not to the same degree. And that’s really it. There just
One thing that I really, really hate about the World Cup is the American take on it. OK, to be fair, that’s only something I hate about the World Cup when I’m in America. The first two World Cups I paid attention to I was in foreign parts, and it was much more pleasant. But when I’m home in America I have a way of stumbling across ignorant opinions of soccer. Now, not knowing about soccer is not the US commentators’ fault. They would, presumably, know more about soccer if their readers cared more about it. What *IS* their fault
Articles like this op-ed are annoying because they make a convincing case for a positions I despise: that FIFA should adopt instant replay. Let me just get this out of the way: NO. NO. NO. Look, there’s Soccer, and there’s NFL, and the difference between them is that they faced a lot of the same decisions at various points in their histories and at every juncture FIFA made the right call and NFL made the boneheaded short bus wrong one. Tackling allowed? NFL – yes. Soccer – no. Is the rulebook 1000 pages long? NFL – yes. Soccer – no.
So there’s been a lot of talk about the blown announcing call on the “blown” offside call in the Mexico – South Africa opener. Alright, alright, I know I’m a bit late to the table on this one. That was last week already! What can I say, I’ve been busy. Anyway – I fully understand that it was a legit call by the book. I even understood that at the time, sort of. That is, when I saw the replay, I realized I needed to look up whether the offside line was determined by foot position or the full body.
I suppose this shouldn’t come as much of a surpirse. After refusing to pay for a World Cup feed – meaning that its people effectively can’t see their national soccer team make its first appearance (today, by the way) since 1966 – North Korea then doesn’t bat an eye pirating the feed anyway. KCTV aired all but 10 minutes of the South Africa – Mexico opener, and edited versions of France – Uruguay and Argentina – Nigeria. No love for the South, though – South Korea’s win over Greece wasn’t shown.
You can’t, I suppose, have a giant sporting event without a requisite amount of nonsense. The link goes to an article entitled “Anti-Racist Film a Big Success.” Apparently, an organization called FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) has gotten permission to play a short anti-racist PSA before and after each Euro2008 event. It’s called “Different Languages – One Goal: No to Racism” and runs 30seconds long. 30 seconds to change the world. Yeah, right guys. With an atom bomb, maybe, but a video? A particularly mundane video, at that. Apparently what it shows is – hold your breath, kids –
So today Guus Hiddink, who is Dutch, is leading the Russian Team against – who else? – the Dutch in Euro 2008. Here‘s some related fantasizing about rewriting the rules so that national coaches have to be citizens of the countries they coach. For my part, I’ll say it does seem sort of contradictory to enforce this requirement on players but not coaches. Of course we could be consistent by loosening the requirements for players, which are arguably being circumvented anyway. But that’s obviously out of the question: the concept of a national team is meaningless is the players aren’t