IF YOU FOLLOW international soccer, you might be familiar with the peculiar English compulsion to vastly overrate their national team. Before each major tournament, high expectations swarm the yellow and the-not-so-yellow press. The punditocracy asserts that the current generation, whatever it may be, is overdue for success. The fans book trips in the hope of a drinking holiday in some exotic place enhanced with national arousal.
Now that the first round has ended, let’s talk about a topic that’s dear to my heart. Of course, by the term “let’s” I mean “let me,” as in let me unload this off my chest. You, my dear delightful readers, can add your input, but first, allow me. Does it seem to you that with every tournament, the number of footballers who are unlikeable—or as my grandmother would say “slightly disagreeable”—seems to increase? Oh, why am I putting this in the form of a question? I’m venting here. I dislike quite a few players in this tournament.
At one point in the Italy-Slovakia game today, Peter Drury, ITV's commentator in the UK, said of Kamil Kopunek, who'd just scored Slovakia's third goal, "he need never kick a football again; he will bore his grandchildren forever!" It was a funny comment, but immediately I wondered if, in fact, Drury was not only referring to the goalscorer who had finally put paid to Italy's attempts to defend their crown, but also to that heinous, 32-year old midfield attack dog, Italy's excerable Genaro Gattuso. What a joy it will be to never see him in the World Cup ever again -- yes, please, go away and b
Salon: the thrill of World Cup victory Is altitude hurting Wayne Rooney? Martin Samuel: Germany should fear John Terry Rafael Honigstein: Germany showed both strength and weakness against Ghana Jonathan Wilson expands on his previous analysis of Ghana The US should thank the MLS for its success New Zealand's impossible dream Germany's expert picker is an octopus
Mexico and Uruagay both aim to win The French media tries to make sense of their team's collapse Does the World Cup need width? Jonathan Wilson: wide play will be key for U.S. against Algeria Legos make England-Algeria slightly more entertaining. Slightly. How players should deal with the vuvuzelas John Terry made to look like "a guilty schoolboy" And finally, yesterday was the 40th anniversary of what many consider the greatest goal in World Cup history:
Has soccer arrived in America? ABC/ESPN and Univision certainly think so -- they paid over $400 million combined to air the World Cup on their stations. The mainstream media think so as well -- the World Cup has been featured on the covers of Time, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated and newspapers around the nation. But the surest sign that soccer has hit the big time in the States? Matt Drudge thinks so. Last night the Drudge Report website led with the speculation that World Cup organizers might ban the vuvuzela horns. Earlier in the day he led with a picture of poor Robert Green looking haple