since Bill Ayers was featured on Sept 11th 2001. Headline: An Apology to Maradona, a Rollicking Genius

We misjudged your appointment as coach. We believed that Julio Grondona, the 78-year-old president of Argentina’s soccer federation, had lost all sense of reason in asking you, a fading icon without a coaching badge, to pick up a broken national team and lead it through this World Cup.

Well, so much for so-called expertise.

The very next days, the big story in Soccer:

Germany Crushes Argentina 4-0, Advances to World Cup Semifinals

and Maradona?

Diego Maradona strongly hinted he was stepping down as Argentina’s national football team coach after their 4-0 whipping by Germany in a World Cup quarter-final match Saturday.

Ah the NYT always right on the ball.

I had to go somewhere today and got back with 10 minutes left to the game seeing England ahead and the US game at 0-0 with under 10 min to go. The England game just finished and Slovakia was in for about 30 seconds when Donovan scored on the rebound.

One important thing to point out, the goal would not have been possible if the US Goalie at the other end (Howard) didn’t make the save and wasted no time throwing the ball forward to start the break. That will not likely be remembered but it should be.

Yeah it’s soccer but it’s US Soccer!

Update: This is consistent with what I wrote before:

Asked about the earlier disallowed goal, a glory-drenched Donovan responded, and I paraphrase: “We embody what Americans are all about. We can moan about or we can keep going.

Does that sound conservative or what?

Update 2: Cripes Stacy is so excited that he has TWO posts on the subject.

…likely this will be one of the few times this will be true:

Americans love competition. Repeatedly watching soccer players moderately contacted across the thigh or hip, only to react by clutching their head and writhing violently on the ground, will not sit well with Americans. This is x2 when the same said player immediately jumps up and joins the play after his theatrics earn the opposing team a yellow card.

Morning Joe devoted a full segment to the subject complaining particularly on the flop in the Brazil/ Ivory Coast game that cost Kaká a Red Card. (Forcing them to play a man down for the last 5 minutes.) The replay that clearly showed that he was barely touched in the chest while he grasped his faces as if he had his eyes gouged out spoke volumes.

Of course since the NYT covered the story Morning Joe had to as well so they took notice but such acts tend to rub Americans the wrong way.

As long as this remains the norm Americans will turn away.

…why you are getting so excited over this:

What’s wrong with me? Why do I keep blogging about this controversy? But that ripped-off goal still rankles:

The reason why one blown call (and lets face it when it comes down to the scheme of things that’s all it is, a blown call) by a ref in a sport you don’t care about is that deep down you get the feeling that thanks to our friends on the left relentless campaign accusing us of torture, murder, environmental crimes, war crimes, the insistence on the constitution meaning what it says, etc… you have the idea in the back of your head, as did I that for the ref, this was the chance to show take those no good Americans down a peg.

It likely isn’t that, refs blow calls in all type of sports. If the ref came out and handled it the same way that things were handled in Detroit this year it would be a different story, and it would drop, but people are so fanatical over this stuff worldwide that they can’t just let it go.

As for your second question:

If anybody can suggest a good, red-blooded, all-American reason to care about this World Cup stuff, please let me know. I might need an excuse, if I ever actually start to care.

It is because of the American style of play, it is distinctly American, to wit lets compare:

Today Italy (the reigning champions, ranked 5th in the world) played New Zealand (ranked 78th, just behind Wales and just ahead of Albania) and only managed to tie them despite an incredible disparity in shots on goal (25-3), Corner Kicks (this is a kick from the corner allowing basically a free centering pass) 15-0. Italy only managed a tie and that tying goal came on a Penalty Kick (that was called). As the game neared it’s end the announcers were going on about how well New Zealand did and how they were waiting for time to expire and stalling to preserve the tie.

During the US game the total attitude was different. Americans down 2-0 at the half weren’t content to just try to get a goal to change the Goals ratio, they weren’t even content to finish with a tie and get the point. They were playing to WIN! They kept attacking, knowing that there was a risk of a successful counterattack.

To them the purpose of the game wasn’t to play it safe, the purpose was to WIN, win on the field, to finish the game ahead and they kept pressing refusing to settle, refusing to play it safe in that distinctly American way.

This is why America IS. Millions of people from around the world refused to play it safe, they left everything they had to go to a new world, to a new culture to try to make it for themselves. The odds didn’t matter, the language didn’t matter. They didn’t expect the culture to change for them, their dream wasn’t to become hyphenated Americans , their dream was to become Americans.

It’s ironic. The very traits of this particular American team are traits that conservatives love, and liberals despise. You are being drawn in Stacy because these guys play like AMERICANS! I’m sure if soccer wasn’t considered “chic”, “international” and “cosmopolitan” the left would dump this team like a hot potato. And if we get to the later rounds, there will be more that a few commentators suggesting that it’s good that the US gets eliminated because it means so much less to us.

That a load of *&#)! I want the US team to win because it is the US team. It’s not my sport but it’s my country and my team and it represent US and it doing it in a way that appeals to me and apparently Stacy to you.

but some things are the same the world over. Athletes who are full of themselves:

Striker Nicolas Anelka was kicked out of France’s World Cup squad for insulting coach Raymond Domenech and refusing to apologise, the French Football Federation said.

Anelka insulted Domenech in a crude manner at half-time of a 2-0 defeat by Mexico on Thursday in Polokwane.

“The comments made by Nicolas Anelka towards national coach Raymond Domenech are totally unacceptable for the French Football Federation, French football and the values they defend,” the FFF said.

It goes to show that pampered athletes transcend borders and cultures.

Now if he wants to get in real trouble back home he can try to hold a wine and sausage event in Paris.

They banned that event so the organizers moved it to the Champs Elysees they still banned it but apparently there are some French who still have backbones.

One man wore a pair of horns and braided pigtails associated with French comic book hero Asterix, an ancient Gaul whose exploits centre around resisting Roman occupation.

“18 June 1940 France, Republic, Liberty, 18 June 2010 Resistance,” read a large banner, with several participants waving French flags and holding aloft sausages.

Atlas has more details and some info on the symbolism of the date:

The idea to gather at the Arc de Triomphe is described by Identity Block as symbolic, since it was where 2,000 schoolboys defied a Nazi ban on protest and marched against the occupying forces some 70 years ago.

Furthermore, today also marked the 70th anniversary of General de Gaulle’s appeal to the French people to resist the Nazi occupation following his exile to the United Kingdom. In the end, the Washington Post reports that some 300-400 protesters turned up this evening.

When someday the tide of Sharia goes out, (and someday it will go out, even in Europe) this event will be remembered and as in the days after 1945 the numbers of the resistance will suddenly swell.

Although I suspect when the tide does go out, I have a feeling it will be because of millions of muslim women who finally cr:y “Enough!”

But Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina has just managed a Hat Trick against South Korea in the World Cup.

The Score is 4-1. You would never know this was soccer.

Update: If you want to see why Americans aren’t interested in soccer check out the France Mexico game if you can stay awake.