I began this World Cup cheering for Team USA, followed by cheering for Team Mexico, followed by cheering for Team Brazil. I ended up cheering for my fifth favorite team – Italy (OK, Team Ireland is my second favorite team but they were not in the World Cup). On the Fourth of July, Team Italy came through for me and now we congratulate France even if someone who doest no understand soccer is pathetic enough to do some France bashing as his colleague does not understand the difference between a wonderful sport versus stupid partisan banter.
But this is really about a very nice post from Andrew Samwick:
The first time I was aware of the World Cup was in 1994. I happened to be making my first trip to the UK … It was a fantastic trip, and I recall that year that the US and Ireland were in the tournament and doing well, but the English were not. You would hardly know this from fans in the pubs. They loved the game, and I drank for free, just for the novelty of being an American there while the team was doing well.
I was in an Irish pub for the game between Ireland and Italy – and it was odd that the bartenders decided to go on strike but the beer still flowed as the Irish beat the Italians 1-0. Andrew continues:
The single reason why I don’t care is that I see too many players faking like they are hurt to draw a yellow or red card for the opposing team (or to secure a penalty kick at close range). Not everyone who winds up on the grass is faking it, but too many of them are, and obviously so. Taking a dive may not be unique to soccer, but the extent to which it is manufactured and the advantage it confers when successful do seem to be larger in the World Cup than in other sports.
Amen and a great example of this was some fellow on the UK team with the last name being Terry who was particularly pathetic during the game with Portugal. Nothing against the English, but I was really happy that Portugal won. Kevin Drum has a nice post covering this game.
Also – nothing against the French but I’m cheering for the Italians on Sunday. Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx their chances.