SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
A year ago I laid out the reasons why I can’t stand the American soccer team. I felt the same way after its first World Cup game, though what I really hate is the media coverage about the team.
In the aftermath of the 1-1 draw with England, the press declared the outcome “historic” and said it was an “upset draw” against a “mighty” English team.
First off, England totally outplayed the U.S., which mustered almost no attack and managed a draw only because the English goalie made one of the biggest blunders in recent World Cup history. Only the performance of American goalie Tim Howard, the sole American who played a great game, kept it from being a rout.
Second, the U.S. beat England 1-0 at the 1950 World Cup. That was historic. Tying England sixty years later on a fluke goal is not.
Third, England is currently ranked 8th by FIFA and the U.S. is ranked 14th. There are only about 100 points between the U.S. and sixth-ranked Germany (and over 500 points between Germany and top-ranked Brazil). England is a strong team but it has only won the World Cup once, back in 1966. This was no David vs. Goliath match or the “Miracle on Ice,” though you would have thought so based on the coverage.
Fourth, there is no such thing as an “upset draw.” Next thing you know the U.S. will lose a game by three goals and the media will say it’s an “upset loss” because it might have lost by six.
Fifth, it was obnoxious to watch the American team after the game wave to its fans in the stands and generally carry on like they’d won a glorious triumph. The German team had a more dignified commemoration after it beat Australia 4-0.
The U.S. is in a pathetically weak group and even this group of underachievers should manage to advance to the next stage (with triumphs, as the press would have it, over “mighty” Slovenia and Algeria). With the single-elimination format beginning in round two, the team might, god forbid, advance further.
Whatever they do, I’ll root against them every step of the way.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:
A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”
A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”