World Cup

Like any true postmodern patriot, I not only want my country to do good, I want it to look good. I may be Taoist in much of my own self-conception, but not when it comes to soccer. Winning isn’t enough; I want the USA to be acclaimed. And yet, as we witnessed yesterday, one man can make a massive, damaging difference when it comes to our gaining acceptance into the highest ranks. That man is John Harkes. Now, to be fair, John Harkes is not the only sports announcer to resort to clichés, repeat those clichés, clumsily try to invent new clichés, etc.

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Why has England been so bad? England is like a well-known child actor who has suffered a disappointing later career, a series of flops leavened by one or two near-misses, which almost make it worse. People who only remember him as the chirpy sitcom star are surprised by his moroseness, his meanness, the fact that he is working as a mattress salesman, and that he looks like an aged child. The England psyche is as fragile and transparent as glass.

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Of all the advantages that England seemed to enjoy at the outset of their lifeless 0-0 draw with Algeria, perhaps none looked so dramatic on television as their vast handsomeness advantage. On the sideline there was David Beckham, of course, the only man alive who can make a mohawk look upstanding, and the coach Fabio Capello, who looked terrific and commanding--gorgeous light grey suit, charcoal shirt, black tie, and spectacles so impeccably designed they seem likely to inspire a line of kitchenware.

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I love Mexico. Viva Mexico. Arriba, arriba. Tequila shots for all. Olé and all that. Everyone should celebrate Mexico’s defeat of France. The well-worn cliché—the best team won, not the team with the best players—seems to be most felicitous in this case. Allow me to analyze the game: The French teams sucks. I’m not sure any Mexican player would start for France, but the starting eleven could. Domenech is a horrible coach. I define horrible as someone who is both a bad coach and arrogant. He should become a Lebanese politician. No Makelele and St.

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I fell in love with soccer watching the English Premier League. Up early every Saturday and Sunday to watch the matches on cable, admiring Lampard's steadiness, Gerrard's will to win, Rooney's excellence, Ashley Cole's daring runs. I admire the pinball they play in La Liga, but I'm passionate about the EPL. Give me the blood, sweat, and tears--I will choose craft over artistry every time. And so even as I root for the Americans in this Cup, I have a soft spot for the Three Lions. And today my heart aches a little. In its own way England's performance yesterday was as shocking as the U.S.

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A Few Verbals

“The Football Association has made a complaint to World Cup organisers Fifa after a fan breached security and entered the England dressing room. ... The intruder was escorted out shortly after a ‘few verbals.’”--bbc.co.uk Can I have everyone’s attention, please? Thank you very much. Mr. Capello, if you could just give me a couple of minutes, I’d appreciate it. OK.  Pleased to meet you all--my name is Alan Bartholomew. I don’t suppose any of you have ever  heard of me. I own a petrol station in Barnstaple, which for this last week I’ve left it in the capable hands of Mrs.

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In November 2008, on a Sunday afternoon in Buenos Aires, I happened upon one of those mini-riots peculiar to the moments immediately before or immediately after any first division soccer match. I was walking in a neighborhood by one of the larger train stations, when a train arrived from the vast outer suburbs of the capital, releasing a horde of young fans dressed in red—partisans of Independiente, if memory serves.

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- In the third row of the upper deck at Ellis Park Stadium -- site of the post-apartheid, racially unifying World Cup rugby game in Invictus (and in life); yesterday I saw the jersey Nelson Mandela wore that day on display at the fabulous Apartheid Museum here -- we were already in a state of high freak-out when it looked and sounded as if the U.S. had scored the go-ahead goal against Slovenia. That delicious, sudden eruption that happens best at sporting events happened. A deafening roar (and not of you-know-whats). A tasty shower of beer.

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It’s usually the case that any time a headline asks a question the answer is No. This post is no exception to that rule. The Americans were not robbed today and nor were they the victims of any anti-American bias. Sorry, Jesse, but that’s the sort of fanciful, solipsistic whingeing one normally associates with Notre Dame fans.  A friend has just told me that someone on ESPN has just said “Jo-burg has an international reputation for crime. There was a crime committed tonight in Ellis Park.” Really? Get a grip.

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How the US can advance What the US-Slovenia ref saw Jonathan Wilson: a tale of two halves French newspapers hate Domenech A defense of vuvuzelas The latest episode of Special1 TV Why is the US sticking with its 2018 bid?

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