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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
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”