[Washington Babylon ]World Cup Reaction | Harper's Magazine

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[Washington Babylon]

World Cup Reaction

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I received a number of nasty emails about my item yesterday on why I hate the U.S. soccer team. Keep them coming.

Look, I admit my aversion to the U.S. soccer team, initially explained here, is partly irrational and partly based on the media’s Nuremberg Rally-style coverage of the American team. But please don’t tell me I shouldn’t write anything about the topic because I don’t know anything about soccer. I’ve been following international soccer for a long time and have watched most games of every World Cup since 1986. (In fact, I’m watching Portugal-Ivory Coast as I type.)

Also, we’re not analyzing the human genome here; you know good soccer when you see it and the U.S. rarely plays good soccer.

I lived in Brazil for five years and I root for its team. That’s good soccer. (Though when my team plays badly, as in Brazil’s horrific choke against France in the last Cup — I can see it, unlike many of the star-struck U.S. supporters writing me now to talk up the team’s lame performance against England.)

I’m not expecting Brazil to win — I’m an eternal pessimist about everything; also, Brazil has to get through the “Group of Death” to get to the second round, where the brutal single-elimination format makes predicting the winner pure guesswork — so you don’t need to send gloating emails if and when it is eliminated.

Just as long as the United States doesn’t win — or even worse, Argentina — I’ll be happy.

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