Friday, June 04, 2010
Next week, the 2010 FIFA World Cup begins play in South Africa, and this time, I own a TiVo. This is also the first time I have followed things this closely heading into the tournament, thanks mainly to the excellent commentary and coverage available at RealClear Sports and the Fox Soccer Channel, respectively. I know that the former site didn't exist four years ago and suspect that the latter didn't, either. I see the proliferation of sites covering the game for an American audience as a positive sign of the maturation of soccer as a popular sport here.
In addition to there being more commentary geared towards the American market, I think the quality of that commentary has improved. Assessments of the chances for the American team seem more sober and less geared towards simply stirring up interest in the game here by glossing over our team's deficiencies. For example, Steven and Harrison Stark offer a very frank assessment of our team's roster titled, "The US Roster Isn't A Surprise For A Third-Tier Soccer Power."
We seem -- finally -- past the point that we're excited just to have made the tournament and now want to advance significantly there. (Our draw should help in that regard, as the English indirectly note as seen to the right. Let's hope Coach Bradley waves that rag around in the locker room before our squad's opening game with the Limeys, thereby provoking an upset!)
In addition, the reading choices among American fans show that they aren't just showing up every four years to cheer on the American team. Take today's "Most Read" list from Soccer America.
- Cover boy Rossi dropped by Azzurri
- Jose Torres makes East Texas town proud
- USA must fine tune backline
- USA 1-23 [US Men's National Team jersey numbers --ed]
- Stronger, broader game boosts Torres' value
- 'Shambolic' start to campaign
- Where will you be watching?
- ESPN2 offers 24-hour World Cup countdown
- Brazil gets scare in Zimbabwe
- U.S. star Boxx moves to third team
Along those lines, here's a list, in no particular order, of interesting World Cup commentary I have encountered over the last few days. Any notes of mine follow, separated by a dash.
- 10 Players Who Will Emerge at the World Cup -- Eighth on the list is American striker Jozy Altidore. Let's hope his sprained ankle doesn't get in the way.
- Top 10 2010 World Cup Tough Guys -- Mostly, I see this as a list of idiots likely to get ejected or injure key players. Unfortunately for England's opponents, star striker Wayne Rooney, who is on the list, seems less susceptible to people getting into his head and provoking him into doing stupid things.
- Spain Wins World Cup, Sort of -- This is about a computer simulation based on a game being released for the Xbox 360. England beats the Yanks 2-1 in the opener, too. Sort of.
- Top 10 World Cup Games -- Need I say more?
- The Six Biggest Egos of World Cup 2010 -- Well, one thing our team lacks is prima donnas!
- World Cup Power Rankings -- The US team is in the middle of the pack, just over Mexico, and barely in the top half at #14.
The tournament runs from June 11 until July 11, for a full month of soccer excellence. What say you, fellow soccer aficionados? What do you most anticipate? What is your favorite source of soccer news and commentary?