Shock and horrors abound in the World Cup as the 5th ranked team in all the world has been eliminated from World Cup play. If you don’t know who the 5th ranked soccer team in the world is, you would think this would have been a monstrous upset. Well, maybe if you are an alien from another planet or just a very naïve sports fan. Why do I say this? It seems that the 5th ranked team in the world of soccer is the USA. Sounds funny, right? We’re #5! We’re #5!
Today we lost to Ghana, 2-1. I never heard of them either, actually I have, but you would figure that the good ol’ US of A could defeat a team that no one could find on a map. The US also got pasted by the Czech Republic, 3-nil and tied Italy, 1-1. The US only managed to score one goal in the World Cup. I know it seems by the scores of their games that they scored two goals, but the US is so bad that Italy actually knocked the ball into their own goal to give us our score of 1 in their game.
Soccer heads have been trying for years to get regular dudes and dudettes on the soccer bandwagon. This was supposed to be the year that soccer broke through, although I had heard that many times. The US was 5th ranked and ready to win it all. Wrong! Wrong! The US ended up in a group nicknamed “The Group of Death.” I am not a soccer theologian, but I don’t think that is good news. The Czech Republic was supposed to be the better team in the group according to the rankings and they proved it by beating the US heartily in the first game. Unfortunately the Czechs seemed to lose to everyone else in the group proving that they suck, just not as bad as the sucksters they beat 3-0. I didn’t watch the game against the Czechs, but the commentators said the US played soft and I think there is a reason for that.
US soccer athletes are soft compared to the Europeans. In America you have basketball, football, and baseball, as well as other sports that take all the prime athletes from soccer. In Europe you have soccer and…well, nothing really. As Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio has been saying, the US athletes are 5’8 and 150 pounds. I just read in SI that DeSagana Diop of the Dallas Mavericks said that if he were not in the NBA that he would be a midfielder in soccer. Diop is 7’2 and 280 pounds. Pretty big difference.
US players do not have the size and athleticism of the Europeans and that is why we can never beat them consistently. I do think that the US is gaining in the skills department with the spread of youth soccer programs, but as long as the tallest kids go to basketball and the strongest kids go to football, soccer will never improve enough to be better than a fringe sport in the US.