Thursday, June 22, 2006

The World Cup is over for the fifth ranked team in the world. Must have been a huge upset...not!!!

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.


Travis said...

If you watched the US after the first game, you can't help but have a great deal of pride in their effort. Our best athletes don't play soccer, but we've still got some pretty good athletes.

Guys like Onyewu, Convey, Lewis, Reyna and McBride are world class players. But some new blood has to step up for the US. Guys like Landon Donovan and even Reyna and McBride are almost part of the old guard of US soccer. Guys like Onyewu and Eddie Johnson are the future. We get more guys like that, and we'll break through sooner or later.

And I don't care if Joe Public likes soccer or not. I just don't understand those who are passionately against it. Why? If you don't like it, don't watch. I love it. The more I see, the more I like. If you don't flip back over to the dull-by-comparison NBA and NHL Finals.

Piccu said...

Landon Donovan is supposed to be our best player and I watched him get a free kick and he just kicked it right out of bounds. That was our last good shot at a goal to tie the game. Donovan hasn't scored a goal in something like 18 international games. The whole team USA, according to Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio, only had 4 shots on goal in their three games.

I am not a soccer head, but I don't hate it either. There are many other things I would rather watch, but I can appreciate the athleticism. The US seems to have a huge need for guys who can score goals. We may have good athletes, but none of them happen to be able to get a shot on goal, much less score one.

On Around the Horn yesterday, Kevin Blackistone made a pretty good point. Our players have to go overseas and play against the best the world has to offer. MLS soccer is a joke compared to the leagues in Europe. Unfortunatly there doesn't seem to be a high demand for US borm players.