Conspiracy

The World Cup Is Over

|

Spain 1, Netherlands 0. Now does someone want to explain to me why this year, all of a sudden, the average U.S. citizen started caring about soccer? Some hypotheses to get you started:

1) The children raised by soccer moms now constitute a majority.

2) A cabal of immigrants and prep-school graduates has taken over the media.

3) Two words: foreign president.

In other futball-related news, P.J. O'Rourke has some suggestions for improving the game. And with a view from abroad, here's John Cleese:

Advertisement

NEXT: Attn, DC Reasonoids: Come Hear Brink Lindsey, Jonah Goldberg & Matt Kibbe Debate "Where Do Libertarians Belong?" Monday, July 12, 6:30 PM at Reason's HQ

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Football” is only used in the UK and Ireland. The US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all use the term “soccer” for what the British and Irish call “football.”

    1. Strictly speaking, it’s the UK only, as Ireland has at least one other game it calls football. On the other hand, it’s really interchangeably football and soccer in Ireland, Oz, NZ, Japan, Korea, India, South Africa and quite a few other anglophone countries (yeah, I know Japan and Korea aren’t anglophone, but they call it football and soccer just as often as whatever it is in their languages, maybe more so).

      And of course the translations into local languages are almost exclusively perfectly direct translations of the parts (voetball, fu?ball, foot (French), futbol, futebol, etc.)

      Then there’s Italy, with “calcio”.

      Anyway, “soccer” was a word invented by the English as well, and I suspect John Cleese knows this.

      1. Without the term soccer, the British cant distinguish between association football and rugby football.

        1. Precisely.

        2. i’ve heard that the “assoc” part of association football is where soccer comes from (like how “brekkers” comes from breakfast). might be an urban legend but … you know. this is the internet. i can spread false information without any repercussions.

          1. That’s how the story goes, and it’s pretty well verified.

      2. In my experience, ???? (soccer) is far more common in Japanese for the game than anything else.

        It’s also exactly the same way that my last name is spelt and pronounced in Japanese too, since they, like most languages, don’t have that tricky “th-” sound.

        So in Japanese, I am known as Mr. Soccer.

        1. Total bullshit I just tried putting arabic in here it wouldn’t let me but you get away with that?

          1. Fatwa!

      3. Anyway, “soccer” was a word invented by the English as well, and I suspect John Cleese knows this.

        It’s rather like Americans and Canadians getting upset with our sort of football being called “gridiron” in other English-speaking countries.

        1. We get upset about that?

      4. When I lived in Korea the word for soccer was “??” (Chook-Ku). “Chook” comes from a Chinese word meaning foot and “Gu” comes from a Chinese word meaning “foot.” So it is “football” literally in Korean. However, when Koreans translated ?? into English they always say “Soccer.” Not saying they will never say football, it is just that I always heard soccer in Korea.

        1. sorry ? (Gu) means “ball.”

          1. Yes, or else it would be foot-foot

            1. So is that where “My Pal Foot Foot” comes from?

      5. It was never called “football” in Japan. The closest it came to being called football was a push to call it “sok-kyu” which sounds like soccer, but litterally means “foot ball”.

  2. “Violent ground acquisition games such as football are in fact a crypto-fascist metaphor for nuclear war.”

    As a former soccer player (for a nationally winning team), I do love me some “futball”. It was the game I played since before I can remember, mostly because small New England towns don’t have enough people to field a real football team, and frankly, baseball is horrible when all the pitchers are like Charlie Sheen without his glasses in Major League.

    Also, SPAIN. I remember Casillas being happy when Spain won the Euro Cup two years ago, but this time he actually cried.

    1. So you’re a soccer fan, but bitched me out on the Lebron thread for being tribalist? Nice!

      1. I enjoy sports without caring much who wins. Is that tribalist? In any case, I was just being a dick. I do that. Don’t take it personally.

        1. I figured as much the more strident you got, so meh…

          No biggie. Anyway, what TAO said on the Lebron thread: tribalism is better through harmless proxies than more destructive means.

          And if you came away from this World Cup disgusted by the horrible tribalism, methinks you missed the point and a whole lot of people would disagree vehemently with you that it was a bad manifestation of it.

          1. I was pleased that they felt no need to segregate opposing fans. It was much like here, where random visiting fans can be interspersed in home seating sections without too much worry.

            In Europe, they need walls and fences.

            1. To be fair, that’s only really true of Italy and Eastern Europe for the most part, and among the major derbies in Spain.

              They keep supporters segregated in other places, but walls and fences have been rightly denounced in most places as making things a lot more deadly.

              Hell, in Columbus, we are always having to keep the away supporters as far away as possible from the Nordecke (they sit organized opposing groups in the south end), to the point of them having extra security and police for their ingress and egress. If it’s Toronto or other large, belligerent assholish groups, they’re held in the stadium until most of it is emptied.

              Fan segregation is alive and well here, but it’s usually only used for large groups of organized supporters’ groups.

              1. I was thinking more in terms of college football, which has much more rabid supporters who seem to intermix just fine. Except for an opposing fan walking thru a postgame WVU tailgate.

  3. Handegg.

    Anyway, it was a dull final, as most have been in the last 60 years or so. However, there were probably more games this time around that were remarkable for a bigger variety of reasons than in my living memory. It was a fantastic tournament.

    The 3rd place game was tremendous.

    1. Do you agree that Iniesta was actually off sides for the winning goal?

      1. On the initial pass that was just barely cut out, both my wife and I had serious suspicions. Of course they never replayed THAT part and put up the fancy line, and I haven’t gone back yet to check for sure.

        As much as I wanted Holland to win, it was pretty hard to watch them thug it up so much. I can’t say I’m too displeased with the result. Spain deserved it today, but man is Robben going to have nightmares for weeks…

        1. Why did you want Holland to win?

          Robben looks like Jean-Luc Picard (that out to bring out ProL).

          Look, Casillas is probably the best goalie out there today. It’s going to be hard to put one past him regardless.

          1. I’ve always liked Holland.

            Robben is a diving twat with no right foot. Casillas would have been dead in the water had Robben actually developed a right foot somewhere along the way.

            1. As a left footer (but a right hander), you have a better foot; there’s not a lot you can do about that. That’s just the way it is. And Casillas blocked that shot fair and square. Maybe Robben just needs to be a better player.

              1. Robben does. He needs to be at least somewhat ambidextrous. All the best footballers can use either foot comfortably. Robben is SO left-sided, it’s embarrassing. He’s like Emmanuel Ekpo of the Crew, except on the other side.

              2. My biggest disappointment in this World Cup (and major worldwide soccer in general) is the horrible finishing. Spain was awful, which is why they only had 8 goals.

                When I played in HS, I sucked. But my goals/opportunities ratio was high. I felt if the ball was at my feet in the box, I should score every time (I didnt, but that was the way I felt). My problem was I generally couldnt make that happen myself, so I needed quality teammates. In fact my g/o ratio may have exceeded one because I scored on many things that werent opportunities. A significant percentage of my goals were garbage, balls off the posts, goalies dropping a shot, random loose crap in front of the box. Not to mention a 35 yard prayer I launched into row Z — not sure if it hit a bird or a weird air pocket or what, but I had turned around, my coach was yelling at me from the sideline, and the goalie had stopped watching the ball, when it suddenly dived into the top corner (goalie saw it late and managed to pin it against the underside of the crossbar, but if fell in when he came down). You cant score if you dont shoot.

                Ive been yelling this whole tournament SHOOT THE FUCKING BALL. It why I hate “the beautiful game”. If you aint Brazil you dont need to make 3 passes inside of 18 yards.

                1. Oh, meant to mention before I drifted off on some side story, I think I scored more left foot than right. You gotta score with whatever foot the ball is on.

                  I had no power with my left, but I could pass to the back of the net with either foot.

                2. Random shooting is the mark of a terrible strategy. You shoot when you can score. Your coach must have been an inexperienced moron. My coach had played professionally in Europe. He understood that the team that can run forever wins. Which is why we started practice with a 6 mile run through the woods.

                  1. My coach didnt favor my shooting strategy, thats why I didnt play that much. But, yeah, my coach was awful.

                    But, ummm, Im pretty sure my +/- was better than some that played more than me.

                    And I didnt shoot randomly, I shot when I had an opening. The long shot I mentioned (and I scored on others like that) was in the situation when you suddenly discover you making a 1 on infinity run with no support coming soon. When you can reasonably hit a corner from 30 yards out and you cant outdribble any reasonable defender and support isnt there, might as well shoot. Sometimes strange things happen. Sure, doesnt work against good goalies, but then again, it does, when the shooter has a powerful enough leg (I didnt). There were some long goals in the WC because guys were willing to put the ball on the goal face.

                    1. I am defense, so I don’t really know your world. I can however say that I would have injured you at some point, because that’s what I do.

                    2. I would have injured you at some point, because that’s what I do.

                      More than likely, plenty of defenders tried, I was resilient as a teen.

                      Im pretty sure I pissed off my fair share of defenders, I know I did goalies. For some reason they really, really, really dont like the guy who taps in the 1 footer after they make a brilliant save.

                      Also, there was not a single time I was ever flagged for offside where it was a good call.

                3. The Spanish are too playful and not egoist enough for a lot of goals (just watch the game against Germany again).

                  Then, if you watched the German games from the Round of 16 onwards, you saw a lot of goals. I think these were easily the best games in the whole tournament ending with the 3:2 win against Paraguay.

          2. Why have you summoned me?

      2. He was onside.

        1. O Rly? Didn’t look that way in the replay. What’s your evidence?

          1. The replay, in which he was clearly onside.

            1. rob, as much as I like you, you are clearly determined to fight me on this. He was obviously off sides, and you should probably put your glasses on and start accepting your vision impairment.

              1. See below, depends which pass we are discussing. He was onside when the one he actually received was made.

                1. So you’re admitting he was off sides at some point?

                  1. Sure, plenty of players are offside at some point. But he was onside by the time he was “in the play”.

                    1. Great memory: we were playing a game and the ref was completely biased against us. We caught a free kick, and our striker drilled it right into the ref’s head. Hilarious.

                    2. I loathe Iniesta, but he was onside.

            2. I take it back. Got a chance to see the replay on World Cup Primetime and used the DVR to freeze-frame it. Iniesta was level on the initial pass and was well onside on the ball that made it through to him.

              Evidently, the Dutch were extremely pissed about a potential foul as well as the typical “hand up for offside” bitching.

              1. The Dutch were pissed because the play preceding it (free kick Sneijder) they should have been awarded a corner. Instead, Webb gave a goal kick, which started the goal-scoring play.

                At least, that’s what they claimed afterwards.

                1. They were pissed about that, too, and they very much should have been, but I think they had multiple claims. Too bad they thugged out all game.

          2. To be clear, Iniesta was offside on the initial attempt to get the ball to him. On the second try, one of the center backs (can’t remember who) was holding him on by a full 2 yards.

            But it should have been called. The linesman didn’t even twitch.

            1. Iniesta wasnt in the play on the initial attempt. They have seemed to have a very rigid definition of that this tournament.

              1. The ball was clearly intended for him, but for the desperate intervention of the Dutch defense, would have received the ball ready to score. That’s called “being involved” and thus offside.

                1. They havent called it that way the whole tournament, why should they start today?

                  But, yes, literal reading of the rules, probably so.

                2. No that is not “being involved.” Read the laws — you must either play the ball or your presence must interfere with a defender’s ability to play the ball (e.g. screening the keeper, impeding a defender’s attempt to play the ball). Absent either of those, there is no offside. Being the intended recipient of a blocked pass is never called offsides for that alone.

                  1. Iniesta was in passive offside during the first pass attempt, this is usually not called. In free kicks passive offisde often is a strategy, where you let an attacker run AWAY from the goal to open the defensive. He can’t score, but he can confuse the defense.

                    So, Iniesta was in passive offside during the pass attempt, but since he never had a CHANCE to get the ball, it wasn’t called.

                  2. Yes, it IS called sometimes. I’ve seen it many times. But as I said further down (or up?), he was actually level.

                    1. Just watched the replay and he appears to be onside for both passes.

                      Here’s the relevant screencap for the first pass:

                      Screencap

                    2. It is absolutely not called in that situation. Again, the laws are clear on that. You’re confusing the situations it is called in. The intended recipient that is so far out of the play that he does not interfere with a defender’s ability to play the ball, nor play the ball himself, nor gain an advantage in getting the rebound, is never offsides. Any linesman that called such an offsides would not be following the clear FIFA guidelines published along with the laws of the game. The only time the guidelines allow for a call not described above (i.e. play the ball, interfere, gain an advantage for a rebound) is if the player in an offisides position goes to chase down a ball that nobody else is near and is clearly intent on playing it – then the linesman can go ahead and call the offsides even though none of the conditions technically apply yet. None of these things were present at any time during the play in question.

                      If you have evidence to the contrary I’d love to see it. If it is “commonly” called in that situation (and that’s nonsense) someone should be able to find an example.

    2. The 3rd place game is what happens when great players play to win instead of playing to not lose. It wasnt NBA all-star type “no defense”, it was teams playing without coaches worried about getting fired over the result.

  4. Some of us have cared since the US hosted the WC in ’94. Also,I was working in Costa Rica in ’02, when (IIRC) the Ticos were in it. Soo… Not really sure I’ve seen a difference, but I live in a soccercentric bubble outside of mainstream America.

    Finally, they need to loosen up on the offsides. Tie goes to the offense, and should be called only if daylight can be seen between the defender and the attarcker. Almost as bad as all the other horrible officiating were the magic offsides anytime the defender happened to be leaning the wrong way and got beat on a good pass.

  5. Now does someone want to explain to me why this year, all of a sudden, the average U.S. citizen started caring about soccer?

    We do?

    1. I don’t either. Get rid of the offside rule, and let players use their hands, and you might start to have a decent game.

      1. Getting rid of the offside rule is a sure way to completely kill any offense whatsoever.

        1. It doesnt in indoor. 🙂

          1. What about icing?

            1. There is no icing in indoor soccer, because there is no field behind the net.

              1. Besides which it interferes with the infield fly rule.

              2. What are you talking about? We always had icing (crossing two field lines). And I was a goalie, so I was always conscious of where the ball was.

                1. That isnt icing.

                  We had 3 line passes (crossing all 3 in the air). Icing is when you pass 1? 2? lines and then the line even with the goal without playing the puck. Since soccer doesnt have a line even with the goal, there cant be icing.

                  I guess you could call something else icing, but it isnt, its a 2 line pass, or a 3 line pass.

                2. Doesn’t make much sense to have the goalie run 6 miles through the woods, does it?

                  1. If you play more than goalie, it does.

          2. Indoor is a ping-pong fest. I love to play it because it doesn’t require much running of my fat O-30 body, but it ain’t the same game.

            1. I love it because Im better at it. 🙂

              It accentuates my positive skills (positioning, scrapiness, passing to back of net) while minimizing my negatives – dribbling, power, defense.

              1. I’m much better at indoor these days, but it’s like human pinball.

                Hell, I’m a very useful striker at 250 lbs. in my league in indoor. Outdoor is a wee bit tougher.

          3. I played indoor for a few years, loved it (when I wasn’t covered in injuries anyway).

            Have you seen televised indoor soccer though? I gotta say, it’s not as good as regular soccer.

            1. Back in the bad old days between when the NASL was breathing its last breaths and MLS started up, indoor was actually really damn fun to watch live and on TV. This was because the best players in the US and some cast-offs from elsewhere (but still skillful) played. Once MLS started up, it turned into an awful, shitty mess of “ping the ball off the end boards and have everyone try to hit a lucky volley” repeated ad infinitum. Except that many times, the players didn’t have the skill to put the ball off the boards on the fly and skied them harmlessly out of bounds as often as not. Being made up of part-timers who couldn’t make up the numbers on a shitty A-League/USL/PDL team makes the quality suffer. There are only so many former college players who are any good.

              Terrible.

    2. Really, we do? I couldn’t care less. I did notice that my college-student son caught World Cup Fever (even pulling an all-nighter last night, watching the final game before going to bed today, instead of taking the risk that he might sleep through it). I think this may have happened because he lost the Rowdy Roddy Piper sunglasses I gave him awhile back, and is now more susceptible to the subliminal messages in media. (SOCCER IS COOL! WATCH THE WORLD CUP!)

      Soccer seems like such a waste of two good feet, when there’s all that ass-kicking to do, once you run out of bubble gum.

      1. I was more concerned about the British Grand Prix today, than I was the Cup. I still watched and I was interested in it enough, but the last 2 Spain games were enough to put me off the game. B-o-o-o-ring.

        But, if you tried to get me out of the house between 12 and 2 today, you’d better be on fire or be prepared to be.

    3. More people watched because they would “like” to care about it but if they were like me they turned it off once they started to doze off. I did catch ten minutes here and there (at the 40 minute and 70 minute marks) of the Germany/Urugay game and the parts I saw were very exciting. Lots of shots and good saves by goalies.

  6. All I know for sure is that my #2 country beat Spain.

    And really, isnt beating the champs all that matters?

  7. Now does someone want to explain to me why this year, all of a sudden, the average U.S. citizen started caring about soccer?

    I’m a big soccer honk, but this simply isn’t true. If it were, they would keep caring. The most that can be said — and this is being generous — is that a surprising number of Americans started following the World Cup casually.

    For what it’s worth, I was just at a BW3 in Kentucky to watch the final. There were fewer people there than on an average college football Saturday.

  8. 1) The children raised by soccer moms now constitute a majority.

    It must be very disconcerting for them to find that every player in the World Cup isn’t the “most valuable” and all the teams don’t get a first place trophy

    1. What about 9th & 10th place ribbons?

  9. Now does someone want to explain to me why this year, all of a sudden, the average U.S. citizen started caring about soccer?

    Because I live in a state where college football is the state religion, the University of Alabama is the state church, Nick Saban is the reigning pope, and “Bear Bryant” is St. Peter.

    To cope, I started supporting a version of football where the players don’t dress like the clumsy children of overprotective parents.

  10. Epi, Timon,

    Any thoughts on the idiots (making my position clear) who are calling Suarez a cheater for handballing?

    I, on another site, said anyone who hasnt ever done that isnt a real team player. I actually caught the ball
    the one time I did it (PK was missed).

    1. One of the threads that were partially jacked by me to do a moderate PBP on the semifinals had my thoughts on it. I argued with some douche about Suarez.

      Absolutely not cheating. Maradona, Henry, and the diving twat for Ghana who won the free kick that started all the moaning were cheaters, since they intentionally intended to dupe the referee. Suarez made no effort to do anything but keep the ball out by any means and even put his hand up to make sure he was the one sent off.

      No attempt at deception = not cheating.

      1. My exact reasoning.

        Someone said it was against the rules, hence cheating. I responded that kicking the ball out of bounds is against the rules too.

  11. Let me think. My nieces all played one of the games, but not one of the others. Brits, like my nieces, are basically feminine, so they favor a chick sport.

    Remember when the Brit soldiers surrendered to the Iranians? I always assumed that it was because the “men” had never played real football and so didn’t have a single nad amongst them. Perhaps it is the game itself that pussifies you?

    No man, no Man, who has ever strapped on a helmet and busted heads in Football would ever compare it to the wimpish game played by the eurowienies.

    1. I see you’ve never played soccer my way. I’ve sent people to the hospital, and literally knocked people out on the field.

      1. That is just because you are a thug and have no skills. It is a contact sport not a collision sport.

        That said, Marshall knows nothing of the British sporting culture or he would have realized rugby is just as difficult as any sport going.

        What is the old saying “Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eaton”.

        1. Agreed; I am a thug. But I also disagree; my soccer skills are quite refined. I am fast as hell (well, I was fast until suffering extreme injury in a car accident, but I’m still faster than you), and I know my ball skills (make joke here), but if you get past the midfielders, I will make you pay.

          There’s a reason no one ever scored from my side, ever.

          1. Because you suck and let someone behind you is no excuse to whack them. Seriously, that is just unsporting. The only people I know who cause serious injury on a soccer pitch are those who have no skills and can’t help themselves or people who are just assholes.

            1. John, there are refs on the field. I can’t be mugging people out there. Everything I did was subject to referee oversight, and if they let it slide, well, then they let it slide.

              Come on: you have never played a sport where you didn’t have enforcers? You’ve never said “let’s take out their quarterback”? It’s part of the game.

            2. In other words, Nigel De Jong.

              1. Please explain to me what that even means.

              2. De Jong = asshole, no skill, serious injury-causer.

                It was a response to John, not you.

        2. Marshall knows nothing of the British sporting culture or he would have realized rugby is just as difficult as any sport going.

          Tell me you have put on helmet and pads? True, rugby is a mans sport. Was rugby the biggest sport in England? Where we talking about rugby?

          When do to people lower their heads in rugby and hit at full speed? Never. Imagine Earl Campbell, or Mike Singletary, or Adrian Peterson on a rugby field. There is a reason you have never heard of a rugby player making it in the NFL where there is a ton more money, I wonder why?

          1. i have played both. The difference is that with pads it is fun to hit someone. Without pads it sucks. You can’t play rugby the same way you do football. You will kill yourself. Different games. Each is very difficult in its own way.

          2. There are no Samoans playing in the NFL?

      2. Since you know I hate to jump to conclusions about your personal life, I have to ask: were you trying to injure people in the course of a game, or was it just an unforeseen side effect of playing the game? Because you seem pretty proud of causing injury.

        1. I’ll admit that I was pretty proud of causing injury. It’s not a particularly violent game, but I was pretty violent about it. You could accuse me of not being very libertarian in that aspect, but the game is played voluntarily, and I did work within its rules. If I was particularly violent, I would get carded for it. Ironically, refs tended to give me the benefit of the doubt.

          1. Did you never play the real football in pads, then? Hurting people is what it is all about.

            1. All the pads do is give people the false sense of security to go do incredibly stupid shit. In high school, an exchange student nearly died after a collision with a goalkeeper.

              Massive internal injuries and several broken ribs.

              1. Goalkeeper? Huh? Why would he be wearing pads in a soccer game?

                1. Not sure you understand. Or are you being intentionally obtuse?

        2. I knew plenty of defenders like that. Most of them were assholes*. They just played the hard game. Which is the way the game should be played.

          *As is Epi, NTTIAWWT

    2. That’s just ridiculous, well, then the brits really most laugh about you Americans. Not only do you play a softened down version of Rugby, but you ARE also allowed to PASS forward, wimps.

      You see, one can make up these kind of lines for almost any sport. I mean, Rugby seems to be for “Real men” because they do the same as in American Football, just that they don’t need the protection, they can stomach it without pushy helmets and thick protective shells…

  12. I see that the big winner in the Japanese Upper House elections was the relatively new ????? (Your Party, or Everyone’s Party), the closest thing to a libertarian party that Japan has had.

    Turns out that when the Democratic Party of Japan won in 2009 promising both tax cuts and massively increased social spending, they couldn’t do it. Voters didn’t like the DPJ admitting that they’d have to raise taxes to pay for their social spending.

  13. BTW, best soccer rule change of the last 20 years. Eliminating goalie hands on the pass back to the keeper.

    1. Absolutely. When it got phased in during my high school days, I hated it, because it was a great safety valve for defenders.

      But as a spectator, no single rule change has increased the pace of play more than the backpass rule.

  14. The World Cup means one thing to me: A horrible droning noise emanating from my living room as my girlfriend barely watches the game while reading stuff. I tried a bit to care about one or two of the games (don’t even ask me who was playing) but fell asleep five minutes into all of them. I guess if you grew up playing soccer it might be interesting, but FFS, it’s as boring as watching golf to me.

    1. They got rid of that horrible noise pretty good for the last game.

  15. John Clease can suck it.

  16. The American interest in soccer clearly signals the decline of the American empire. It’s a recognition that America will never again be first in anything. This is not to say that Europeans ahould be rejoycing. The future belongs to China and state capitalism. Eventually Mah Jong will replace soccer as the world’s most popular sport, and Jewish women will dominate it, giving rise to many rightwing conspiracy theories.

    1. “The future belongs to China and state capitalism.”

      Fascism, you mean. (He says, bracing for the seismic shock from millions of “The Greatest Generation,” rolling in their graves.)

    2. Zounds, Max, that was actually…funny.

    3. Actually, it seems that the Chinese start to adopt soccer, instead of putting their own sports out in the open 😉

  17. I’ve always enjoyed World Cups, since I played soccer ever since I was a kid. I played football in high school, too, and I must say that I’ve dished out a lot more satisfying violence in soccer than in football. It’s fairly hard to hurt someone in football without being dirty, but I’ve effortlessly put a lot of whiny forwards out of the game in soccer. Playing defense is awesome.

    By the way, it’s astonishing how many stupid fucks run their mouth to me in my rec league, especially since I outweigh most of them by 70 pounds or more. Very few things are more fun than finding some guy who takes the game way too seriously, and making him pay for it.

    1. Why does that not surprise me?

      1. What, you’re too disappointed to scold me? Come on, Grandma.

        1. There’s no scolding I can give that will be worse than living with your own conscience.

          1. His conscience?!? Over soccer?!? This is too rich.

          2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA

          3. Warty has a conscience? When did this happen?

    2. Reasons why I don’t play soccer. I like you played football in high school but discovered soccer in college. I really enjoy playing it. And it is great exercise. But every time I join a league it is full of the pricks you speak of. The same thing seems to happen with golf. I like golf. And I enjoy playing alone. But I can’t stand your typical serious golfer with his swearing, club throwing and desire to bet on every fucking shot.

    3. Dude, you’re my doppelganger. I play defense in my rec league too, and I love destroying the divas.

      I’m also a prolific trash talker.

      1. Talking trash is a waste of time for me. I just hit.

        1. Hmmm, if you’re 220, I can see that. I’m 165, so while I’m very capable of shutting down people, I can’t lay them out.

          For me, trash talking is sometimes just as fun as the game itself. Especially when we play the Mexican teams and I get to bust out my Spanish lines. Takes them out of the game entirely. Especially when I talk about their girlfriends. :]

    4. You outweigh somebody by 70 pounds? Color me surprised, fatass.

      1. I do Olympic lifts for fun. Of course I weigh 220, you fucking beanpole.

        1. If by “beanpole”, you mean “slim and attractive”, you’re correct, fatass. How is the not eating carbs working for your fat ass?

          1. Splendidly. I think I’ll go over to the mirror and admire my abs again.

            So when was the last time you saw your cock, you flabby sodomite? You disgust me.

            1. There’s a reason why you’re my favorite asshole, asshole, but it isn’t because you like to look at your dick, you dick. And frankly, I’m as much of a carnivore as you, but I don’t try to justify it with science. I just prefer protein.

              1. I just prefer protein.

                Ewwww.

                1. Oh please. That’s the best you can do?

              2. You’re as much of a carnivore as me, but only for expensive yuppie-ass meat. How many pounds of jamon iberico are in your fridge right now?

                1. That’s an unfair question. If I had jamon iberico, I’d have eaten it by now.

        2. Ooooh, looks like I outweigh you by almost 70 lbs too…

          1. The indenting makes this hard to tell who you’re responding to. Did you just admit to being 300 pounds, fatty?

            1. Seeing as how I can add and know the meaning of “almost”, no, I didn’t.

  18. Finally the stain of the Eighty Years War has been wiped away!

  19. 1. 20 years or so of soccer camp.
    2. Increased internationalization of the workforce and the populace.
    3. The players are physically attractive. American football players are small tanks with no necks, and you can’t see them anyways under the helmets. Basketball players are 7 ft tall freaks. Soccer players are lithe and agile, very buff normal-shaped people.
    4. Action keeps moving. In American football anything and everything is an excuse to stop the game, let everyone huddle, and break for a commercial interruption. There is no flow.

    1. 1 and 2 are valid points, but 3 and 4 are dubious to my mind, since they’ve been true well, as long as the various sports have existed (and ice hockey has #4 going for it too, but also isn’t as popular).

      Oh, and if you don’t think there’s constant action during a football or baseball game, you’re not familiar with the sports. Between plays in baseball, fielders are constantly repositioning themselves and covering bases for pickoff attempts, the catcher and pitcher are negotiating over the next pitch, etc. In football, you have substitutions being made, players on both sides of the ball moving into new formations, plays being called, etc, in between plays. To someone who understands the game, this action is just as gripping as the gameplay.

      And to someone who doesn’t understand soccer, as most Americans still don’t, all that non-stop action just amounts to a bunch of guys running around on a field not scoring.

      1. And Hockey is continuous action as well. Yet, it has never been more than the fouth most popular spectator sport in this country.

        1. I don’t understand how anyone can love basketball more than hockey.

      2. Oh, and if you don’t think there’s constant action during a football or baseball game, you’re not familiar with the sports. Between plays in baseball, fielders are constantly repositioning themselves and covering bases for pickoff attempts, the catcher and pitcher are negotiating over the next pitch, etc. In football, you have substitutions being made, players on both sides of the ball moving into new formations, plays being called, etc, in between plays. To someone who understands the game, this action is just as gripping as the gameplay.

        I understand and grew up with football and baseball. Those things are most certainly not gripping. Mildly interesting, maybe. Not gripping.

        1. Spain passing around midfield wasnt either. There were a few gripping plays today – there are more in any typical football game.

          1. It was a final. Finals are not wonderful displays of football, typically. Semifinals, 3rd place games, some of the dramatic 1st round games…much better. Finals almost always suck.

    2. Soccer has inturptions whenever there is a foul. The incessent flopping and the offsides rule prevent soccer from being as exciting as it could be.

      1. Take away offside, and you will make the game a series of longballs and the midfield will cease to exist.

        It will be ugly as sin.

        1. Uruguay games were exciting. Im not sure they could define what a midfield is.

          1. There was still a midfield. Take away offside and it will devolve to lobbing balls toward the goalhangers, which will consist of 1/2 of the team, while the other half defends against the opposition’s goalhangers.

            It will be awful.

            1. It’d be like Australian Rules, or maybe Gaelic.

              1. Aussie Rules is played 18 a side on a fucking cricket oval, and the method for scoring takes a fair amount less precision and actually encourages longer-range efforts. Totally different dynamic.

                Not familiar enough with Gaelic.

        2. No it wouldn’t. The long ball would only work if you got behind someone. There is no rule against getting behind the defensive backfield in football, yet there is much more to the game than throwing the bomb. And there would be in soccer.

          Getting rid of the offside rule would open the game up. And gasp someone might score more than one goal in a world cup final someday.

          And there is nothing inhernetly more or less interesting about any sport. The claim that soccer is somehow uniquely gripping, whereas baseball or football is not, is one of the more annoying habits of American soccer fans. Any sport is gripping only insofar as the emotional investment you have in it. If you grow up watching football and rooting for one team, the game will be gripping. If you don’t and have no rooting interest, the game will be boring. The same is true of soccer. I find the EPL boring because I don’t know the teams and have no alligences. Maybe if I took the time to watch it for a few years, I would get some and it would be interesting. But my level of interest or any sports fan’s level of interest is directly proportional to the level of emotional investment. There is no one sport that is anymore or less gripping than any other. It is what you make of it.

          1. No it wouldn’t. The long ball would only work if you got behind someone. There is no rule against getting behind the defensive backfield in football, yet there is much more to the game than throwing the bomb. And there would be in soccer.

            Comparing a game with a set line of scrimmage that begins every discrete action to soccer is just fucking retarded. In soccer, getting rid of offside would be a disaster at the highest levels of the game. It works reasonably well to not have it in small-sided games on shorter fields because the dynamics are different.

            Getting rid of the offside rule would open the game up. And gasp someone might score more than one goal in a world cup final someday.

            No it wouldn’t. There have been multi-goal finals in ’06, ’02, ’98, ’86, ’82, ’78, ’74, ’70, ’66, and every tournament back to the very first, all under the two-player offside rule.

            Finals are so tight these days partly because the stakes are higher than ever and mostly because of the evolution of tactics coupled with more evenly-matched and excessively athletic players.

            1. This is only the 2nd ever one-goal final, 3rd ever one or zero goal.

              1. I don’t agree with your comment on offsides. I think it’s the stupidest rule in all of sports. I think your vision of what would happen is wrong and it would open up the game and increase scoring. But until it’s tried it’s merely speculation.

                As it was I this year’s Cup tourney made me glad it won’t happen for another 4 years. It would be nice if they could lengthen it.

                1. Removing offside has been tried experimentally. The results were such that they wanted nothing to do with getting rid of it across the various levels of the game.

                2. Well, there are several problems with your idea. Perhaps offside should be substituted with something like 2 or 3 line passes, but as it is, off-side only needs video surveilance to work. And here we got the big problem: Technical gadgets are NOT allowed, because the old farts don’t wanna change.

          2. I agree with your post up to a point, baseball is objectively boring.

            1. John’s post.

          3. And there is nothing inhernetly more or less interesting about any sport. The claim that soccer is somehow uniquely gripping, whereas baseball or football is not, is one of the more annoying habits of American soccer fans. Any sport is gripping only insofar as the emotional investment you have in it. If you grow up watching football and rooting for one team, the game will be gripping.

            I wasn’t making that argument. I’ve had rooting interests all through growing up. Huddles and men in motion are not gripping. Watching the pitcher shake off the catcher’s sign for the 10th time – not gripping.

            1. That depends on the game situation. Yeah, with one out and nobody on base in the 3rd inning, the interlude between pitches isn’t terribly gripping. That’s different when it’s 3 and 2 with 2 out in the bottom of the ninth and the tying run on 3rd base.

  20. Soccer has now reached the level of a decent olympic sport. People are willing to care about it once every four years. It is not and won’t be for the forseable future a national passion. And that is fine. It makes a nice break every four years in the dead period between the NBA and the NFL.

    One funny thing about American soccer. Many of its biggest fans in America are the very same people who bemoan the violence and nationalism of other sports in America. The fact that the World Cup is the most nationalistic sporting event in the world never seems to occur to them. Or perhaps it does and they are only bothered by American nationalism.

    1. I think I might be the only person who loves both soccer and football 🙂

      1. I don’t love it, but I like it. I really enjoy watchign the World Cup and the European Championship every couple of years. I would be an EPL fan if it didn’t interfere with my college football habit.

        1. My son plays in the local league and really enjoyed going to a DC United game with his team. I’ll probably try to catch a few at RFK this season.

          Cheaper than foorball tix.

          1. You mean your extremely masculine daughter, right?

            1. Your rabid fascination with her 5 o’clock shadow and unnaturally large clitoris is disturbing on several levels.

              You’re no different than anyone else; you gotta pay to play out your twisted ladyboy fetish. Keeping it private costs extra.

              1. calling sugarfree… Has the supreme court banned children performing sex acts in written literature yet?

        2. EPL is over in the morning before college game day even starts.

  21. And the whole “everyone plays soccer as a child therefore it will eventually be bigger than football” theory is complete crap. If there were a connection between the number of people who play a sport and the number of people who will pay to watch it, softball would be bigger than Hockey and baseball combined. Look it up, softball is played by millions. Yet, that doesn’t mean people want to watch it played professionally.

    1. Or bowling.

    2. the main reasons kids play soccer here is because a bunch of namby-pamby moms don’t want their kids to get tackled in real football, or they’re kids are too scared to actually learn to play a game, and instead prefer a game where they can all just run around with the crowd, occasionally kicking a ball, acting like their really contributing and getting to play. Soccer is great for the everyone plays and gets a trophy crowd.

      1. That’s perhaps the most outdated and incorrect argument that’s been made so far. It’s simply no longer true, if it ever really was on a large scale.

        1. sounds like a soccer whiner to me

  22. Why does everyone forget that in this country, soccer is a Women’s sport?

    1. That’s a pretty popular meme, but it’s never been true, not even during the ’99 WWC. It’s a meme that won’t die, unfortunately.

    2. Everyone forgets it because only idiots believe it.

      1. Hey man they called edison an idiot too. If I could only get my hands on a handful of millions of easy money, I’d set myself up a pretty sweet women’s league and eminent domain myself up some fancy schmancy soccer stadiums on the public dime. And people would watch. We can pad some of the bras to get men to watch the bouncy tits across the screen.

        1. I know this was almost entirely tongue-in-cheek, but whatever:

          There was a league founded back in 2000. It was called Women’s United Soccer Association. It was gone after the third season.

          They just last year got around to reforming a league (Women’s Professional Soccer – pronounced “whoops!”) last spring. To say it’s struggling would be an understatement.

  23. Bread and circus would probably explain a lot.

  24. Hmmm…isnt Spain tectonically really more african than european? Didnt the Iberian peninsula break off from africa and slam into eurasia creating the Pyrenees?

    So does that mean an African team won the first african world cup?

    1. Not sure about the Pyrenees, but the Alps are as much Africa as Europe. The Matterhorn has a big old chunk of Africa at its summit. So, Italy, Malta, Greece, Slovenia, etc. are all African, while Switzerland, Austria, Serbia, etc. are partly African.

  25. I like the World Cup, and otherwise watch exactly zero minutes of soccer. It’s not only that these teams are playing to win the single most important international sport trophy, but also that it happens only twice a decade. Even if the level of play is not as high as one might hope for from the best squadrons in the world, the tension and suspense are is sufficient to keep my interest.

    Following the Cup is also a great way to share sports with immigrants and others who may not give a hoot about USA sports.

    And it’s only every four years, so why the hell not?

    1. Following the Cup is also a great way to share sports with immigrants and others who may not give a hoot about USA sports.

      I actually watched some of the World Cup with the middle eastern guys at work, and was surprised at how engaging the sport is. After explaining hockey to them it was good to have them as the experts.

      Not that I am an expert at hockey…just ask andy sutton.

      ham-fisted^ oh well.

  26. Wow, love the “tough guy /beer league” sub-thread going on here. I am kinda sceered bein’ around all the certified badasses and all, but the vicarious thrill keeps me here.

    1. So, wait, do you agree that violence is awesome?

      1. violence is awesome?

        Nope. I’m a pacifist, and if you want to hurt people, then join a boxing gym. Spar with some guys knowledgeable in the sweet science.

        To me, tough ain’t what you can dish, it’s what you can take.

        Not to be a tulpa, or anything.

        1. Oh, I never want to hurt people. Sometimes they think they can get aggressive with me, and in so doing, they hurt themselves.

          And if it makes you feel any better, I get my ass fed to me regularly at my jiu-jitsu gym. I’m not tough.

          1. Warty, there was just a tinge of internettoughguyism creeping into the thread, and I hate that shit, as it is vile.

            It is so stupid, considering the medium, to write of your physical conquests. You could be 78 year old shut in, weighing 114 pounds, and a threat to no one…

            1. You could be 78 year old shut in, weighing 114 pounds, and a threat to no one…

              Stop, you’re getting him aroused.

              1. Jeez Tulpa, if we played soccer together, then I would hurt you physically, and it would hurt…because I am a hard core soccerer.

                1. Oh really? If that ever happens, I’d sit on you.

          2. “Oh, I never want to hurt people.”

            Move to DC and deal with the traffic there, that’ll change.

  27. this thread is so gay. NTTIAWWT

    1. Now that you showed up it is.

  28. I would just like to state for the record that I do not now, nor have I ever cared about soccer in any way, shape, or form. I watched NASCAR all weekend long: Nationwide race Friday night (Damn! That brat Rowdy Busch won again!), Cup race Saturday night (Good for you, Reuty!) and some of the truck race today until it was time for the hubby & I to take a “nap.”

    Soccer is lame. NASCAR rewlz! That is all. Good day, Sir.

    1. Are you inbred like the other people that I have met from Ohio?

      1. ad hominem #1

    2. You give Ohio a worse name than it already had.

      1. ad hominem #2. Seriously? Are those your best rebuttals? You can’t cite facts and/or figures like these?

        1. I’m from Ohio. NeckCAR is scary in many ways, mostly West Virginia-type scary.

        2. Judging from the URL (which is blocked) it seems that you’re citing that NeckCAR sells lots of advertising and that people are product-loyal.

          So?

          1. NASCAR > Soccer.

            Golf > NASCAR.

            Tennis > Golf.

            Rusty Nail to the Scrotum > Tennis.

            That’s the good ol’ American boy hierarchy ri’ chere.

    3. NASCAR. Racing for guys who get lost turning right.

    4. People only watch car racing for the crashes.

  29. Somebody oughta explain to P.J. O’ that high scoring doesn’t necessarily make for excitement, viz. cricket.

    1. Or basketball. YMMV.

  30. Fatwa! This eurotrash blowhard must be dealt with! 72 virgins when you reach heaven and all the ice cream you can eat when you reach the other side!
    I used google translate to put this in Aribic but you a buncha racist bitches!

  31. I knew Spain would kick them to the back of the bus this year!

    Lou
    http://www.privacy-tools.es.tc

  32. “Now does someone want to explain to me why this year, all of a sudden, the average U.S. citizen started caring about soccer?”

    They didn’t. The media just started acting like people should to the point that people started to wonder if they were missing something.

    Then the public looked, yawned, and the media clamored on.

    Nudge, nudge, nudge.

  33. That’s complete bullshit, John Cleese! I’d rather watch beer commercials than the incredibly boring stuff that happens in between the few seconds of exciting play in every soccer match.

    Take the FIFA final for example: Nothing exciting happened for TWO HOURS until Spain scored a goal in overtime (except maybe the part where De Jong kung fu kicked some guy square in the chest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u18P7jdLxPQ). TWO HOURS of kicking the ball back and forth and watching grown men fake injuries because they brushed up against an opposing player. Sure some soccer games can have creativity and excitement, but when the biggest match of the year (the whole tournament, actually) lacks such things, isn’t that a problem?

    So fuck you John Cleese. At least American football always has action.

    1. Finals suck very often. If that was the first match of the cup you saw, you’re doing it wrong.

      1. No I saw most of the matches. Waste of time really.

        1. Right. Had you found more than a couple as a complete waste of time, why would you have continued watching?

          1. I thought I was just watching the wrong teams.

  34. Some hypotheses to get you started:

    1) The children raised by soccer moms now constitute a majority.

    2) A cabal of immigrants and prep-school graduates has taken over the media.

    3) Two words: foreign president.

    As someone who did not watch one bit if the world cup i can assure you that it was rammed down my throat every time i looked on the internet, listened to the radio and watched TV.

    American interst in the world Cup was manufactured.

    Not a bad thing….but to think Americans suddenly had a grass roots uprising in the interest in the game is not even remotely correct. It was a well planed and executed advertisement coup.

    1. Come on. It wasn’t even remotely entirely manufactured. The market is there and has been there for a long time. The market has very much grown, largely from the grassroots and also from immigration. But do not discount the grassroots growth.

      Also, EA Sports’ FIFA series has had a surprisingly large effect over the years.

    2. Not a bad thing….but to think Americans suddenly had a grass roots uprising in the interest in the game is not even remotely correct. It was a well planed and executed advertisement coup.

      The media try to manufacture mass interest in soccer every year. This year, to judge from the random strangers who thought they could start talking to me about “the game” on days when the Orioles weren’t playing, there was genuine grassroots interest. And while most of my post was tongue-in-cheek, I really am curious about how that interest emerged.

      (I say this as someone who thinks basketball is obviously far more watchable than either form of football: The players keep moving and they score.)

      1. I really don’t think it’s manufactured. ESPN picked up the last 4 World Cups for a reason, and they paid a shit-ton of money to get the US English-language rights.

        Despite “The Decision”, ESPN/ABC/Disney is pretty smart.

        1. Let’s see how the ratings turn out. ESPN has more money than they know what to do with, so it could be they were just taking a gamble.

          1. I pretty distinctly recall that they were happy back in 2002 (ecstatic, really), and ratings have done nothing but go up, so I’d say they’re pretty happy. Question is, will anyone else try to outbid them?

          2. FWIW:
            http://www.digitalsportsdaily……-2006.html

            There’s a WSJ article spins the numbers differently, but may hit a pay-wall:
            http://online.wsj.com/article/…..08230.html

      2. “The media try to manufacture mass interest in soccer every year.”

        True, but the World Cup marketing is much more like the marketing for the Olympics. Do you watch pole vault competitions outside of the Olympics?

  35. I find soccer talk to be even more boring than football or basketball talk.

    Give me a good bass fishing show, now that’s interesting…

    1. Better yet, a good shooting show! Sans the Survivor-style melodrama that completely spoils the History Channel’s new Top Shots. Best bet: Outdoor Channel’s Wednesday Night at the Range programming block. Nice mix of self/home defense instruction and high-level friendly competition in the shooting sports. Oh, yeah – and gun reviews! Who could ask for more?

    2. Bass Masters + World of the Psychic = all the quality programming you’ll ever need.

  36. I would just like to point out that NZ was the only undefeated team in the tournament.

  37. Not wanting to wade through all 200+ arguments to find the one or two on-topic remarks, and risking repeating what already may have been stated, I watched it because it isn’t football, or more precisely, it isn’t the NFL. Why? Because when they start playing, they keep playing. No commercials! No contrived interruptions (except the comical player flops, which count as entertainment). In short, the NFL has become a cynical product-selling sport, the athletic version of an infomercial. For every 3+ hour “game” there is less than 15 minutes of action. All the other “action” involves trucks, snack foods, frat-boy humor and beer. It stinks. So I watched the World Cup as a diversion, as a window into the souls of all the lesser nations. We’ll be there soon. We should probably learn their sport.

    1. Like Tulpa said, there’s three hours of action on the grade-school playground. That doesn’t make me want to watch that, either.

      In short, the NFL has become a cynical product-selling sport, the athletic version of an infomercial. For every 3+ hour “game” there is less than 15 minutes of action. All the other “action” involves trucks, snack foods, frat-boy humor and beer.

      “Hey everyone, look at how sophisticated and yet sports-oriented I am! “Frat boy humor and beer”…perish the thought, Jeeves! Don’t you see how far down my nose I’m looking?”

      1. Like Tulpa said, there’s three hours of action on the grade-school playground. That doesn’t make me want to watch that, either.

        That’s good, because most soccer matches clock in at 2 hours reliably (including halftime) and pretty much never exceed 3.

        1. OK, so you would watch a playground for 2 hours of constant action. Thanks for clarifying.

          1. :raspberry:

      2. No worries, Animotion. There’s plenty of apple pie and Chevrolets for your crowd.

      3. Whoa, this is like the moment where Zefram Cochrane found out what he said 10 years in the future. I had totally forgotten that thread…

  38. Wow, nothing like the World Cup to generate a huge comment section populated by “those who hate soccer and feel the need to express it”.

    If you don’t like it, STFU and don’t watch.

    Does it make you feel better as a human to openly express hatred at an event you simply don’t understand? Really, if you haven’t played at a higher level than U12 then you are simply clueless about the physical demands of the game.

    Sadly the floppers and prima donnas do make the sport look bad, but I’d say all sports have their own set of flaws. I love the NFL, NHL, MLB and appreciate the NBA and NASCAR. If you enjoy a sport than just enjoy it for what it is and how it make you feel.

    If you have a need to make others feel shitty about a sport they enjoy, then you might want to spend some alone time and figure out what motivates you to piss other people off intentionally.

    1. piss off, nancy boy

    2. Most people don’t “hate soccer,” they hate [I]watching[/I] soccer. It is simply incredibly boring to watch.

      1. There are a non-insignificant number of people who love to loudly proclaim how much they aren’t paying attention.

        1. Saying that something is boring and ignoring something are two completely diferent things.

    3. If they put that much effort into it and the only score they manage to make is 1-0, the game must be hopelessly inefficient. Real sports like basketball can get 80 or 100 points on each side. Maybe they need to shrink the field and make the goal box or whatever it’s called bigger, so they can start having games that end 20 to 19. 1 to 0 is just frustrating, it’s like waiting for the space shuttle to take off in a thunderstorm.

      1. Not that this is a novel argument or anything, but your comment shows a major lack of understanding of the game.

        Comparing it to basketball from a scoring perspective is patently ridiculous.

        1. Gee, I’m sorry if applying American standards of productivity to your precious Euro-statist game seems ridiculous to you. I suppose you thought it was ridiculous when American ingenuity replaced child labor in mines with automated equipment too. Seeing children dying of black lung was so quaint, it was our heritage, we don’t need your big cars and McDonald’s as long as we have the poor to labor in misery! Nevertheless the fact remains that if it takes you two hours plus overtime to score a single point there’s something wrong with either your players or your game. I say it’s time to free the players from these statist notions and let them start racking up the points. Then maybe crowds will get excited at soccer games.

          1. Good God, you sound actually HURT by my comment.

            You don’t need to come with the angry “Euro-whatever” pissiness.

            The rest of it was a muddled bunch of tripe.

            Listen, if ever there were a “statist” sport, it would be American Football, where everything is dictated from a central authority, there is massive bureaucracy, and where the business model consists of a huge profit-sharing scheme and hamstringing the best teams simply for being successful and where parity is absolutely fucking cherished.

            1. That rant against “gridiron” is pretty cute, especially the parity part. Revenue sharing makes sense in the NFL, since the games are broadcast nationally or at least in many different regions (unlike baseball where each team has arrangements with a local network for the vast majority of games), so it would be far too complicated to ferret out which team deserves a certain amount of the TV revenue. And to say the best teams are “hamstrung” is ridiculous. The only significant difference between the treatment of a first place team and a last place team is the draft pick placement; their schedules are the same for 12 out of 14 games where they’re not playing against each other.

              And beyond that — it’s like you think parity is a bad thing. Even libertarians believe in equality of opportunity.

              1. If you wanted to compare just the rules, I’d say that american football in general is much more statist than soccer (even the field sizes in soccer can vary, in a set range, from stadium to stadium)

          2. Apparently, you’ve never actually watched a soccer match. People get plenty excited at them, in fact a significant number are cheering, dancing, singing, chanting, versus something like the NFL, which I also enjoy watching, where most people are sitting on their asses for four hours and can barely muster a “De-Fense”. For an example in the US, If you want to see it 36,000 people excited, watch a Seattle Sounders match.

  39. goddamn, I’d rather watch my wife’s fucking soap operas than soccer. At least there are some good looking women on there, even if they are psycho bitches from the hell coast.

    1. Good for you. You can whack off to Susan Lucci all you like.

      1. and you can whack off to Rinaldo

  40. What is your basis for a claim that American’s actually cared about this world cup? Do you have ratings to prove it? Were the ratings for any games other than those the US was in at all different than in the past? Were they at all comparable to even a mid-week baseball game on ESPN?

    1. They were up something like 30% over 2006, which was the highest ratings ever. For mid-day times both of the last two cups, that’s pretty damn good. The US v Algeria game had higher ratings than any of the NBA Finals games except Game 7. At mid-morning to early afternoon.

      Then there were the previously high-mark ratings for the ’02 cup, which were all in the overnight to early morning hours.

      1. Actually, it’s up 36% overall through the semifinals.

      2. Err…US v England was the one that beat the NBA Finals.

        Between ESPN and Univision, it had nearly 20 million viewers. ESPN3.com had a ton, too.

  41. Now does someone want to explain to me why this year, all of a sudden, the average U.S. citizen started caring about soccer?

    Wall to wall game coverage and an excellent presentation by ESPN & South Africa?

  42. just to follow up – the final match yesterday was watched by a total of 18 mio in the UK, a supposedly soccer crazed country. By comparision, a Wed night game 6 final of the recent NHL (hockey!) playoffs pulled 8.3 mio on NBC.

    Will be interesting too see what ABC pulled yesterday but I really doubt it will be over 10 mio and probably more like 5. America only cares about soccer when we are playing.

    1. That’s 29% of the entire population. What would “crazed” be?

  43. What the hell does “mio” mean, besides “me” in Italian?

    1. “mine”?

  44. The World Cup is like the Olympics. Nobody watches swimming, but then every four years we suddenly care. When was the last time you watched a non-Olympic bobsled competition? 4×400 relay?

    You don’t have to like soccer to get into the competition every four years. I’ll watch the “pinnacle event” in just about every sport, so don’t give me this crap about how soccer is so goddam boring, but watching cars go around in a circle for 4 hours is totally exhilarating.

    1. The difference is, the Olympics seems perfectly tuned to how much swimming we’ll watch each decade. The World Cup is still happening at least twice as much as we need it to.

      1. Wait until America is mediocre at swimming and we’ll see how perfectly tuned the Olympics are then.

        1. If that happens, then they can move the Olympics to once every 8 or 12 years, to keep us happy with it.

  45. “watching grown men fake injuries because they brushed up against an opposing player.”

    I’ve been pondering how FIFA could deal with the diving problem (which seems to be getting worse).

    My idea (and I’d love to hear from the experts on the likely viability/effectiveness), would be that if a player goes down claiming injury, then that player must leave the field so that play can resume.

    He can then only rejoin the game at the next stoppage where his team has possession (until which time his team plays a man short).

    I’d imagine this would reduce the incentive to dive and feign injury, since it would mean giving the other team a (temporary) numerical advantage. It would have no impact on legitimate injuries, since that player would be coming off the field regardless, and would likely be substituted out of the game.

    The risk I see would be creating a greater incentive for players to injure opponents for the added benefit of making the targeted opponent leave the field.

    1. I’d say an automatic 2:00 timeout, at least, for a player needing to be removed from the field.

    2. Removing him from the field of play until his team has a throw in or goal kick is a good idea. The other team couldn’t just go on a hack fest because then they would rack up cards.

    3. The diving is not so much of an issue as feigning injury to waste time. I suggest that any stoppage of time due to injury (irrespectively of whether a foul was called, or to which side) needs to be requested by the team?s captain to the ref, and playing time added whatever time was wasted plus say 1 min. Remove the incentive to feign injury, and if a genuine injury not upset by the extra minute.

  46. Meanwhile, in a sport that doesn’t reward people for acting like little girls, the Tour de France is shaping up nicely. Lance Armstrong lost his chance to win, but crossed the finish line yesterday even though he was pretty much dripping blood most of the race.

    1. That race could use some vuvuzelas.

    2. Soccer players never bleed.

      Of course, I’ll also watch the Tour de Roids.

      1. Sugar Free’d the link.

      2. It’s just a picture of a soccer player bandaged up during a game. What does “Sugar Free’d” mean, and what did Sugar Free do to get an error named after him?

        1. I don’t know why, but screwing up a link has a unique verb named after a favorite commenter here.

        2. That’s not even that great of a picture. McBride from 2006, or the Mexico qualifier at home in 2005 (?) would do nicely.

          1. I just remember watching Pique with his face all bloody, but I couldn’t find an image of it quickly. Maybe I should have linked to De Jong’s kung fu kick to Xavi Alonso’s chest.

        3. I like this injury pic a little better. Maybe because I’m a prick.

  47. Soccer/Football/Futbol is an internationally dominant sport for its modest equipment (a ball) and venue (a preferably flat parcel of land) requirements. Nearly every other sport requires much more in terms of equipment and venue design even in primitive playing conditions. But it’s not the case that the sport is absolutely an obsession everywhere except the United States. Other sports dominate the cultures of two former English colonies Australia (rugby) and Canada (hockey), and most of southern and southeast Asia have chosen other sports (cricket in India, baseball in Japan). Even then, the sport does receive considerable attention even in areas outside its dominant zone.

      1. “http://blog.seattlepi.com/davidhorsey/archives/214219.asp”

  48. When is Rollerball going to get started?

  49. Not being a fan of any particular sport, I can watch pretty much anything and enjoy it, including those lumberjack things that come on late at night on ESPN47.

    I’d also like to see some quality broadcasts on badminton, croquet and championship bocce ball.

    1. I caught a putting competition on ESPN once. It was awesome, I wish I had it on Blu-Ray.

  50. Technological advances on the internet have allowed broadcasters to overcome the once cost prohibitive fact that in order to be successful in America, a sport needs several pauses in action in order to provide time for commercial breaks. Couple that with the increased social connects via facebook and social networks and you have a recipe for success.

    This supports a theory that the reason soccer is not popular in the United States is because of an unintended consequence of the infamous broadcasting rule that television should be free to all (yes, I’m saying it’s the FCC’s fault soccer is not popular). Other countries across the world require subscription fees or have government run television. The UK has a rule that private broadcasters can only have 7 minutes of commercials per hour. The BBC is commercial free. This means that cost prohibitive need for commercials is a uniquely American phenomenon and explains why baseball and football are so popular in the U.S., but not soccer.

    If kids don’t see soccer on TV then there is no social benefit to playing soccer in high school, and so interest wanes once girls start becoming more important and the allure of football and baseball becomes apparent.

  51. Technological advances on the internet have allowed broadcasters to overcome the once cost prohibitive fact that in order to be successful in America, a sport needs several pauses in action in order to provide time for commercial breaks. Couple that with the increased social connects via facebook and social networks and you have a recipe for success

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.