My soccer affliction is progressing nicely.
Posted by Euroranger on June 25, 2010
Have you been watching the World Cup of late? Yeah, surprisingly enough, I have too. Normally, I’m as apathetic and lethargic about soccer as…well…pretty much every other typical American heterosexual male. I mean, we have so many sports to choose from. Watching a sport wherein the final score could be 0-0 and everyone packs up and goes home (and some go home happy at that) is simply antithetical to American sporting sensibilities. In America, we don’t allow ties in baseball, basketball, or college football. A tie is a possibility in pro football but no team that has ever tied a game has been allowed to get within sniffing distance of the Super Bowl thereafter for that season because God, while not busy hating me, seems to hate ties in sports even more. Indecision in American sporting contests is, apparently, akin to heresy. Hell, we even forced the wimpy Canadians to do sudden death shootouts in hockey (albeit without actual guns) because, by God, Americans (even if their teams are 98% comprised of Canadians and Europeans who are genetically flawed to the point of being okay with a tie) want a winner. If anyone ever wonders aloud why America isn’t crazy about soccer like the rest of the world is, feel free to enlighten them. America likes decisions and Americans like winners even more. Americans hate ties so much we have a famous saying: “a tie is like kissing your sister”. And while some of you, being as you’re either from Alabama or are into incest or mostly likely both, are okay with this that is simply an indication that you’re not truly an American deep down. Most likely you’re Al Qaeda and you probably have a burning desire to murder us all in our sleep. You filthy, tie-loving terrorist you.
That said, I’ve discovered that I am a fan of soccer every 4 years. It’s the same interval that I find I’m a fan of speed walking, synchronized swimming and ping pong (minus Forrest Gump, of course). Anytime Americans compete internationally I’m like every single American who cares about the obscure sport in question (yep, both of them): I want the U.S. to do well and win if possible. So it is with international soccer and particularly at World Cup time.
Now, if you’re not American but you are a fan of soccer, this has the large probability of getting your surely feminine knickers in a knot. Fair weather fans we Americans are of your cherished sport. By and large, we’re ignorant of the rules, find it boring to the point of catatonia and are pretty glad it’s relevant as a viewing activity in our country only every 4 years. We put ourselves through national elections and proctological exams just as often as we collectively give a flying rat turd about soccer. That should tell you where it ranks the other 204 weeks in between World Cups for us. What? You say you get a procotogical exam every year? Yeah, listen, I already knew you were a soccer fan. That’s just being redundant.
Anyway, this brings me to point out how it is that we, as Americans, are treated throughout the world when it comes to discussions about soccer. We DON’T care about it and the rest of the world has a collective fit about that. Somehow, by not caring about a sport wherein men run about in silk shorts and fall to the turf like gut shot drag queens every time an opposing player comes within purse swinging distance, we’re labeled as not masculine enough for soccer. Apparently the prominent signs of one’s outward gender identity is radically different outside the boundaries of the United States of Don’t-Give-A-Shit-About-Soccer America. Fancy that! What really makes the rest of the world get all verklempft though is that every four years, as I mentioned previously, we DO momentarily give a shit about soccer…enough so that we want to see the United States compete and kick the living shit out of every other team we face as well as a couple of those we don’t. This REALLY pisses off the rest of the planet. First it’s that we don’t play real football, (our football is more properly called “armoured wankball” apparently). Then we only ever watch the World Cup so we’re fair weather fans. Then we see every other team diving and fainting and crying like little girls over the slightest contact with their fans right behind them. This is all bad enough. This time round, however, we (as in the United States Men’s Soccer Team) have been getting buttfucked at every turn by the FIFA (short for “Forever I Fuck America”) referees such that fully 1/3 of all the goals we’ve scored have been disallowed by ridiculous calls. Haven’t been watching the games and wonder “wow Euro, how bad has the officiating been”? Ever watch WWF wrestling? The officiating there is probably slightly better than at the World Cup…at least as far as matches involving the United States goes. Seriously, it’s so bad I’m surprised Algeria didn’t throw a folding metal chair out onto the pitch last game. Anyway, we have legitimate gripes about it and we’re labeled (by some…not all) as a bunch of spoiled crybabies.
You’d think this would be all off-putting to the typical American as we do our collective quadrennial penance and watch this amazingly androgynous “sport”. You’d think we’d be all ready to pack it in and go home. Well, guess what: we’re not. We drew powerhouse England in our first match and managed a tie on an American goal that even Stephen Hawking could have saved but the England goalkeep (not English…no, I don’t know why) couldn’t. We then got pushed into a second, anti-America tie against Slovenia because the referee from Mali got a better deal than FIFA gives him for calling the game fairly (dude called back the winning American goal and literally didn’t even explain why…just did it). Then as added joy we got to finish against Algeria.
Wanna know how much Algeria, Mali and the rest of the world wants to see us lose at the World Cup? In the last qualifying match to get to the second round, Algeria could have advanced had they won and scored a couple of goals more than us. Know what they did instead? They played to tie because a tie could have knocked us out. Oh yeah, along they way they also picked up 21 fouls, 3 yellow cards (meaning you knocked the piss out of someone enough that the ref couldn’t ignore it) and a red card (meaning you tried to actually murder someone enough that the ref couldn’t ignore it) and held us to the hated 0-0 tie through the first 90 minutes with the help of yet another FIFA ref who disallowed yet another perfectly good American goal…because the script doesn’t call for the United States to be alive after Act 1.
It wasn’t until some apparently good American player named Landon Donovan (who, I shit you not, until this series was called “Landycakes” in the worldwide press behind his back) managed to score a goal in extra time at the end of a 3 player pileup in front of the Algerian goal in a fashion that even a Malian referee couldn’t have called back. Seriously. Even though every other country’s fans were reacting to the goal, we Americans actually waited around 15 seconds or so to start cheering as we didn’t want to be made fools of yet again. Anyway, we scored, won the game and, as divine karma we won our group such that we get to play Ghana next (famous for being the birthplace of ghanarrhea) whilst England gets to dance with the Germans.
Anyway, the Americans are now on through to the single elimination phase of the World Cup which means if they score 3 goals and Ghana scores 2 but the refs manage to disallow 2 or 3 of those American goals then the United States goes home. However, that hasn’t happened yet so I can still feel good about how they’ve done so far which, to recap, has been thusly:
Final United States Group C Results:
US ties England, 0-1.
US ties Slovenia, 3-2.
US beats Algeria by 1, 2-0
The United States have played 3 games, tied one, won two outright but got robbed of one so we ended up with 2 ties and a win…but no losses. For us, that’s like…well…never been done. So, if you’re an American and enjoying your rare dose of soccer, cheers! However, if you’re not American and your team is going home (take that France and Italy!), take solace in the fact that a country in which soccer is generally a national afterthought has advanced to the next round while your team’s hopes and dreams of winning the only important trophy in the only important sport in your countrymens’ hearts are irretrievably dashed.
I hope it hurts. See you in 4 years for your next dose of failure.
My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.