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A Spanish Masterpiece

June 15, 2006

4-0. The new Spain. No longer the perennial underachiever. Not allowing referee mistakes to determine their fate. A goalfest. 4 balls in the back of the onion bag. A fantastic result. Something to build upon. This team showed promise of making some noise beyond group play. I will wear the jersey with pride.

It is almost comical to observe the tact of American sportscasters and T.V. anchors (ESPN, etc.) as they report on the world cup. Granted, some are recognizing that something significant is going on and are earnestly respectful of the passion and history involved in the sport and this event. Some however do not mask very well their disdain for an intruder…a pretender that seems to be usurping the stage of rightful sporting fare.

I mean really…how could the Americans not even score a goal after preparing for 4 years. Such a comment belays an ignorance for the subtle drama that is not visible in the final scoreline.

It’s not the fact that they were critical of the U.S. performance. That was well-deserved. It is the lack of sophisticated analysis that is irksome. As if the only thing that we know how to break down is the amount of goals scored. The more glaring weakness of the U.S. performance was the flat, non-aggressive style of play. They did not produce a quality of play that would lead to goals. They also were quite loose in their marking.

Where is Tommy Smythe when we need someone to really provide some knowledgeable analysis and savvy football perspective. I guess I will know that we have arrived as a soccer nation when we have the soccer equivalent of Darrel Waltrip and Larry Mac on the T.V. crew for U.S. soccer.

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