Once again Italy and France are in the"Group of Death." Every tournament has one ridiculously tough group and this is it. Why, why, why!
I'm happy I will be able to watch the games in a place where people actually care about the sport. No crazy time difference and no more horrible ESPN/ABC announcers. It was so bad during the World Cup I started to watch Telemundo. I don't speak Spanish. I get that ESPN/ABC wants the highest ratings possible. However, soccer will never be as popular with non-immigrants Americans as football, baseball or basketball. I don't think trying to change what the beautiful game is (yapping about Posh Spice when England was playing, running weird stats non-stop, trying to announce soccer games like a baseball game) is going to bring more American fans to it.
Also the networks can't make enough money, so why are they going to air games more often? Soccer has two halves. There aren't commercial breaks every few minutes. Fewer commercials = less revenue.
Maybe all the kids who play it now will be fans when they grow up. What I love about the World Cup is seeing teams and fans from all over the world (unlike our World Series..that name is kinda deep when you think about it) compete. From the big G8 teams to small islands like Trinidad/Tobago's Soca Warriors. There is so much ugliness in the world but for a few weeks all these people share one thing, love of the game. Okay before I break out into Kumbaya, I must speak about something that is troubling me.
Italy plays Holland tonight, on Friday it's Romania. Next week France. What am I do to? I can't root against France as a French citizen or Mr. Henry. He's from Martinique. I have family there, we could be related.
On the other hand I can't root against the country I live in. Poor Fabio, got injured and will not be able to play.
The game is not until next week. I worry about this later.
For those Stateside who care about the beautiful game, the New York Times has a GREAT soccer blog. It was a life saver during the World Cup. They really know their stuff and it's fun to read the comments from fans from all over the world. It can get pretty heated. There are also covering the qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup which will be held in South Africa. The U.S.A. played against Argentina in a friendly match in front of over 75,000 at Giants Stadium. It was a draw. They are playing Barbados next. Here is the link to the blog.
It's not easy being a soccer fan in the States. The number one thing I heard was that it was a wimpy sport, something for suburban kids. My answer to that is how many pro-athletes can be in motion/run almost non-stop for 45 minutes? Have they looked at soccer players, they are in crazy good shape. Anyway America is the only country in the world where this is not a big sport so I really don't care what the non-fans have to say. Just because we didn't invent soccer doesn't mean we we can't enjoy it.
I think this commercial sums up the global love pretty well. Loved this ad.