Monday, July 7, 2014

Four Score & Three Games More

It was three weeks ago today that the United States Men's National Team played its first group game in the 2014 World Cup.  Although Belgium eliminated the United States in the Round of 16 last week, the World Cup has gone on without us.  And in spite of our American perspective, which is that the rest of the world is happy to have us, FIFA has its Fantastic Four...thank you very much. 

This week two traditional European powers shall play two traditional South American powers for the right to battle for the World Cup.  Tuesday afternoon the host nation, Brazil - without its Captain and likely without one of its best players (the former due to stupidity and the latter to injury) will slip into the unlikely role of underdog when it challenges Germany.  Wednesday, Lionel Messi and Argentina shall challenge the Flying Dutchmen of the Netherlands in the other semi-final.  Wow.  From the perspective of a soccer fan, this is about as good as it gets.  And "this" is pretty damn good indeed. 

Whether the USMNT's showing in this World Cup will lead to a permanent uptick in soccer's popularity in this country remains to be seen.  I doubt that it shall.  Candidly, I care not.  Soccer is a sport that I loved playing a lifetime ago and have loved watching my entire life.  But I have no money invested in professional soccer here.  Thus, whether the MLS ever puts a consistently excellent enough product on the field to raise soccer's profile here neither concerns me nor interests me.  Soccer is not a game that needs to win over America to ensure its continuing relevancy.  Instead, America needs to raise its game in order to become relevant in soccer.  

If you can, tune in on Wednesday and again on Thursday.  You can see just how far we the people of these United States have to go to get to where the best in the world are.  



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