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World Cup Fever!
December 3, 2001 5:50 AM   Subscribe

World Cup Fever! The draw for the group stages of the FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan was made on 1st December. England got an awful draw: Argentina, Sweden and Nigeria. The USA look like they did much better: Portugal, Poland and one of the hosts, South Korea. As an Englishman, I'm pretty down about it at the moment.
posted by salmacis (36 comments total)

 
I was posting the same link this same instant...never too soon to get the blood circulating.

Great draw for Italy (my fav). Will China (first time I think) surprise us ? I fear the Russians.
posted by Voyageman at 6:00 AM on December 3, 2001


I'm v. depressed about it too, salmacis. Argen-bleeding-tina, for the sake of the Lord. Can't wait for the World Cup though. Hope I'm still unemployed then, or watching matches in the early hours of the morning could seriously affect my career.
posted by Summer at 6:12 AM on December 3, 2001


> The USA look like they did much better...

But they still won't go anywhere. In Poland, they're happy with the draw.

"We should not have problems advancing to the next stage. I think that we will take at least the second place in our group," said Polish coach Wladislaw Engel.

I think bookies agree.
posted by pracowity at 6:12 AM on December 3, 2001


Isn't that why they play the games?
posted by trox at 6:14 AM on December 3, 2001


go belgium!
posted by panopticon at 6:31 AM on December 3, 2001


go belgium!
posted by panopticon at 6:31 AM on December 3, 2001


US v. Portugal in the first round? So, Mr. Cardoso, shall it be pistols at dawn?
posted by jpoulos at 7:13 AM on December 3, 2001


Don't bet any money against Portugal in this World Cup. They can go all the way.
US beating Portugal in football is about as likely as Portugal beating the US in basketball. Well... Ok almost as likely.
posted by talos at 7:41 AM on December 3, 2001


Oh boy, more humiliation for the U.S. Did we even score a goal in 1998? I suppose its cathartic for the rest of the world to beat up on a political/military bully. Enjoy!
posted by drunkkeith at 7:58 AM on December 3, 2001


Sheesh, what is wrong with us? Why don't we just use our usual solution, throw a bunch of money at this situation, buy the best players in the world, and WIN this damn thing?
posted by rushmc at 8:03 AM on December 3, 2001


buy the best players in the world

Because the players on the US squad have to be American. We need to throw money into US soccer in general. It sounds frivilous, but I think if the US were more invovled in soccer, it would go far to breaking down the barriers between the US and the rest of the world.
posted by jpoulos at 8:13 AM on December 3, 2001


I heard that the way the draw is set up, if England were to come second in their group, to progress they would then have to beat France followed by Brazil, assuming that things worked out as predicted in other groups.

One thing is for sure, if we do win it, we will be worthy champions.

As for the US, it can't be long before you become good, you have enough Hispanics after all.
posted by RobertLoch at 8:35 AM on December 3, 2001


Drunkkeith: It's not cathartic at all. I'm sure the rest of the world would love to see football gain in popularity in the States. (Ffor the record, USA scored a goal in the 2-1 loss to Iran in 1998.) In any case, it's difficult to get humiliated at the World Cup. Humiliation is for those countries that failed to qualify, and I would rate the Netherlands, Romania, Czech Republic and Colombia as better than the USA. It's also worth noting that USA isn't the only country qualified where football struggles for attention. China, South Korea and Japan are not traditional football countries, and South Africa has made much more of a mark internationally in rugby union and cricket.

jpoulos: There's definitely a feeling that the USA prefers to go it's own way, sporting-wise. The NHL and NBA don't play international ice hockey or basketball rules, respectively, and NASCAR is more popular than Formula 1.

Sport can be a great way to break down barriers. The 1998 match between USA and Iran was a great example. Both teams were determined to show that it was a sporting event not a political event.

There is one particular match I will enjoy. For the past 5 years, a Polish troll has been busy annoying the American readers of rec.sport.soccer. No matter what the result, I will enjoy the flames resulting from the Poland-USA game!
posted by salmacis at 8:38 AM on December 3, 2001


salmacis, japan and south corea didn't actually "qualified", it was automatic as they organize the cup - but that's only a detail
i'm not sure the sport (esp soccer) is a great way to break down barriers (recently : france-algeria, always : france-germany) but what i'm sure about is that it will be funny & interesting to see "new" continents arising : it was getting boring to always have european/south american finals (england-germany-brazil); i was so happy when Africa started to have really good profesional teams (Cameroon, Nigeria); and maybe now we'll have the pleasure to watch north America and/or Asia playing well ...
as long as either france or tunisia wins (or belgium or scotland - which didn't even qualify :-/) i'm happy ;]]
posted by aureliano buendia at 8:55 AM on December 3, 2001


scotland.

bwah ! hah ! hah!
posted by Frasermoo at 9:01 AM on December 3, 2001


Please do remember, the US Woman's soccer team have been world champs as far back as my memory goes, and have done so with class and grace.
posted by Voyageman at 9:01 AM on December 3, 2001


forgot to say, for you americans :
there have been 12 poland-usa matches : poland won 6, usa 4, and 2 draws
5 portugal-states matches : portugal wan 2, usa 1, and 2 draws
4 south korea - usa matches : southkorea won 1, usa 1, and 2 draws
posted by aureliano buendia at 9:02 AM on December 3, 2001


And another interesting (?) statistic. France and Denmark have net in four previous tournaments - and the winner of the match went on to win the entire tournament. Hmmm....
posted by salmacis at 9:33 AM on December 3, 2001


jpoulos: I'm afraid I've never seen the point of football. Though I will say that the US teams - men and women's - are a damn sight closer to the spirit of soccer than the overpaid mercenaries who play for the European teams. Out of every 100 about 5 play consistently well. Not to mention the supporters. Ugh!
I'd luuurve the U.S. or an African country to win the World Cup. Use this rare "underdog" opportunity well and catch the Euro-trash napping or plucking their hairy little legs, would be my expert advice to the US coach!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:59 AM on December 3, 2001


I must admit, I never thought of you as the Football Thug type, Miguel.

Anyone from Poland or South Korea want a piece of me?
posted by jpoulos at 10:02 AM on December 3, 2001


Good! So I guess it's time to start playing the:

"Spot the Portagee!" game

Clue: One of them is the U.S. coach, Bruce Arena.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:07 AM on December 3, 2001


Pushing my luck here:
Or the Appropriate Surnames Game! Just to kick off: Bruce Arena; Alan Ball; Stavros Foul...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:26 AM on December 3, 2001


As for the US, it can't be long before you become good, you have enough Hispanics after all.

That's probably why they waived the visa requirements for Argentinians. Shoud try to get some Brazilians, too, IMO.
posted by signal at 10:37 AM on December 3, 2001


Because the players on the US squad have to be American.

So throw money AND citizenships--sheesh, man, work with me here!
posted by rushmc at 11:32 AM on December 3, 2001


Well you did it for David Regis in 1994...
posted by salmacis at 11:44 AM on December 3, 2001


We need to throw money into US soccer in general......breaking down the barriers between the US and the rest of the world.


maybe into metric too.
posted by elle at 12:54 PM on December 3, 2001


So throw money AND citizenships--sheesh, man, work with me here!

Salmacis beat me to it, but here's the scoop on David Regis, who was made a US citizen just days before the 1998 World Cup.
posted by jpoulos at 1:12 PM on December 3, 2001


Forza Italia!!!
posted by Bag Man at 3:57 PM on December 3, 2001


So throw money AND citizenships--sheesh, man, work with me here!

And Thomas Dooley (German) before the 1994 cup, too. And Carlos Llamosa (Colombian) before the 1998 cup.

This sort of thing, however, happens all over the world in soccer. To escape the European leagues' strict mandates on player nationality, players from Africa and South America routinely "discover" a grandparent or a distant relative of EU nationality, and become naturalized. Player passport scandals involving Brazilians and Argentinians have broken out in the past couple of years.

In global competition, it's sometimes even less of a formality - the top player of the US' group opponents Poland, Emmanuel Olisadebe, is a Nigerian player who adopted Polish nationality only recently.
posted by dayan at 5:07 PM on December 3, 2001


> the top player of the US' group opponents Poland,
> Emmanuel Olisadebe, is a Nigerian player who adopted
> Polish nationality only recently.

Maybe, but it doesn't look like a simple matter of convenience. The guy has married a Polish woman and seems to have settled down in Poland.
posted by pracowity at 11:35 PM on December 3, 2001


Thomas Dooley doesn't count, as he was already qualified to play for the USA. He is the son of an American Air Force man stationed in Germany and a German. He grew up in Germany as a German but he always had dual nationality.

David Regis has never lived in America, despite attempts to sign him for MLS. I believe he qualified for citizenship through an American wife.
posted by salmacis at 12:36 AM on December 4, 2001


> the top player of the US' group opponents Poland,
> Emmanuel Olisadebe, is a Nigerian player who adopted
> Polish nationality only recently.

Maybe, but it doesn't look like a simple matter of convenience. The guy has married a Polish woman and seems to have settled down in Poland
.

Emmanuel (or Manolis as he is now affectionately called) is playing in Greece now for Panathinaikos.
He's still playing for Poland though.
posted by talos at 1:29 AM on December 4, 2001


US beating Portugal in football is about as likely as Portugal beating the US in basketball...

They said that about Columbia in 1994 too.
posted by terrapin at 11:47 AM on December 4, 2001


japan and south corea [sic] didn't actually "qualified", it was automatic as they organize the cup...

I saw in the paper the other day that FIFA is going to do away with the automatic berth for the Cup host. Germany in 2006 will be the last country to get an automatic berth. Any thoughts on this?

Part of me thinks it is a good idea because there are deserving teams that will be shut out. Plus if this co-hosting thing catches on then there are 2 spots being taken.

Another part of me thinks it is just good form to invite the host team to play.
posted by terrapin at 12:50 PM on December 4, 2001


terrapin: I think you have grasped the wrong end of the stick. It's the holders who will have to qualify next time.

Colombia (the country, not the district!) were a team in disarray in 1994 and the USA were able to take advantage.
posted by salmacis at 1:12 AM on December 5, 2001


after watching yesterday's arsenal-juventus, i don't think anymore italian-english football is boring - that was a match !!
posted by aureliano buendia at 1:56 AM on December 5, 2001


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