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If you can only watch one soccer game...
June 22, 2014 4:24 AM   Subscribe

Today at 6 PM Eastern, the United States plays Portugal in the World Cup. The United States has never been very successful in World Cup soccer (football), but it has come close. The United States shocked the world by coming in third in 1930 and again by defeating England in 1950. In 2002, the U.S. had an upset against Portugal, but could it happen again? Playing for Portugal is Cristiano Ronaldo, possibly the best player in the world, whose fancy footwork is legendary.
posted by twoleftfeet (352 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The United States has never been very successful in World Cup soccer (football), but it has come close.

You left out the word "men's." The U.S. women have been quite successful.
posted by Area Man at 4:38 AM on June 22 [89 favorites]


The U.S. women have been quite successful.

That's true. I wish women's soccer had the same level of international focus.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:43 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


The low level that US professional soccer is played at (MLS being the latest symptom) probably has a lot to do with the US's lack of international achievement. The good US players tend to play abroad. I also wonder if there's talent drain to other sports, but the US is a huge nation and if small Latin American countries can furnish enough top-level players, the massive US should be able to as well.

But I thought Messi was regarded as the best in the world at this point. At least to listen to my soccer-mad coworkers.
posted by graymouser at 4:51 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


WAR PIG!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:51 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


I'm getting ready for more #CONCACAFThunder!!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:53 AM on June 22


whose fancy footwork is legendary.
posted by twoleftfeet


The eponyjoke writes itself.

posted by effbot at 4:53 AM on June 22 [9 favorites]


I think the US has a good chance! Portugal hasn't been impressive so far.
posted by monocot at 4:57 AM on June 22


US beat Ghana. Ghana ties Germany. DEDUCTION: US better than Germany.

Costa Rica beats Italy and Uruguay. US topped CR in qualifying. DEDUCTION: US better than Italy, Uruguay, England.

Mexico ties Brazil. US topped Mexico in qualifying. DEDUCTION: US better than Brazil.

WAKE ME UP WHEN THE VON TRAPPS ARE IN THE FINAL!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:03 AM on June 22 [17 favorites]


I just want to tell you boys good luck, we're all counting on you.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:03 AM on June 22 [4 favorites]


The low level that US professional soccer is played at (MLS being the latest symptom) probably has a lot to do with the US's lack of international achievement. The good US players tend to play abroad. I also wonder if there's talent drain to other sports, but the US is a huge nation and if small Latin American countries can furnish enough top-level players, the massive US should be able to as well.

Only England, Spain, Germany and Italy have a top level league, and it hasn't helped England much. Every other country typically has their best player(s) playing abroad. It hasn't hurt Holland, Croatia, Uruguay, Portugal etc.
posted by kersplunk at 5:07 AM on June 22 [7 favorites]


It's embarrassing that the U.S. doesn't even try to win the World Cup. A country that spends four times as much in military spending as the next country should be able to score against Ghana every year, not just this year.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:10 AM on June 22


A country that spends four times as much in military spending as the next country should be able to score against Ghana every year, not just this year.

Soccer needs drones.
posted by colie at 5:11 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


A country that spends four times as much in military spending as the next country should be able to score against Ghana every year, not just this year.

Wouldn't it defeat the purpose, though, if the more wealthy country won every match?
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 5:19 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:20 AM on June 22 [4 favorites]


Wouldn't it defeat the purpose, though, if the more wealthy country won every match?

Yes, but here the more wealthy country loses every match. So it's not even trying.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:23 AM on June 22


Quit trolling your own daggum post, bub.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:25 AM on June 22 [21 favorites]


Soccer needs drones.

Sort of has them already.
posted by knapah at 5:42 AM on June 22


I am pulling mightily for USA here; beating Portugal is definitely in the realm of possibility. That said, the 2002 squad that beat Portugal last was better at every position than this team (with the exception of Tim Howard).
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:45 AM on June 22


I think they're really going to miss Altidore, because they'll have to be back defending so much and he's the best at getting long balls and holding them waiting for support. I think that's at least half the reason Gus Poyet kept on playing him when he wasn't scoring, he's still so good on the ball and his passing is great. If he gets out of his scoring rut he really could be a great player.

But who wins today depends on which teams show up; the US is capable of a better display than how they played the last 2/3rds of the Ghana game, and Portugal is certainly capable of a better game than they played against Germany.
posted by Red Loop at 5:47 AM on June 22


If I was going to watch only one game, it wouldn't be this one. Even if my one match had to involve the US, I think I'd pick Germany before Portugal, though that might be my bias showing. (Actually, I was thinking US v Ghana would be pretty good, but the US was pretty dire, which made the fact Ghana couldn't get their act together a bit disappointing.)

Also it's Cristiano Ronaldo with no H.
posted by hoyland at 5:47 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


For a perspective on what the bookmakers (and, by default, the people who bet) think of the relative chances of teams as the competition progresses. Blue = odds shortening, people think it more likely the team will win. Pink = the opposite.

This is also entertaining to watch live during matches, as some bookmakers change their odds every minute or more to try and capture betting money.

(Standard caution about gambling, betting, house always wins in the long run and you lose, here)
posted by Wordshore at 5:48 AM on June 22


graymouser: "The low level that US professional soccer is played at (MLS being the latest symptom) probably has a lot to do with the US's lack of international achievement. The good US players tend to play abroad."

Counter-point: all of England's players play in England. I don't think we've played a foreign-playing player since Owen Hargreaves - and he broke when he was brought "home".

You're more likely to get better as an international team with players going abroad than not I think. Assuming they're going to more places than England, mind...
posted by Auz at 5:53 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I hate Cristiano Ronaldo. Boy, that guy. Messi is a hundred times the player and man. With my hatred fully in place, I look forward to watching (even though it's at midnight my time) the US team win against Porto. I have no idea if they have any chance at all, not really, but I look forward to their win all the same. Because wow do I dislike Cristiano Ronaldo.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:53 AM on June 22 [8 favorites]


[Fixed "Cristiano" spelling.]
posted by taz at 5:56 AM on June 22


I'm Canadian and what is this
posted by Sys Rq at 6:06 AM on June 22 [7 favorites]


I don't think we've played a foreign-playing player since Owen Hargreaves - and he broke when he was brought "home".

Owen Hargreaves is possibly the least English a person could be whilst still being technically English. Born and grew up elsewhere (Canada), played in a different country from the age of 16 (Germany) and only ended up in England in 2007 at the age of 26. So he was certainly an outlier.
posted by srboisvert at 6:06 AM on June 22


defeating England in 1950 [youtube icon] .

I hope that the . is there to respectfully mourn the death of English football *sob*.
posted by Ned G at 6:10 AM on June 22


I'm Canadian and what is this

It's hockey played on grass without sticks and a round inflated puck. Also, players have a pain threshold on the equivalency of four year olds if it would result in a penalty kick.
posted by Atreides at 6:12 AM on June 22 [34 favorites]


Owen Hargreaves was, until the ill-fated move to Man United, the answer to a really good trivia question: Who is the only person to play for England without playing for an English club?

As it stands, he and Joe Baker are the only two people to play for England before playing for an English club. (Joe Baker was, for all intents and purposes, Scottish, but at the time, they used only your birthplace (and not that of your parents/grandparents) to sort out who was English and who was Scottish (and so on) for football purposes.)
posted by hoyland at 6:15 AM on June 22


Ill-fated? He did win the Champions league in his one healthy season. Yes all parties would have preferred a greater return but all things considered it wasn't that bad.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:47 AM on June 22


This should be a good game: Portugal need a draw or win to stay in, and the US needs a win to go through. Germany's draw with Ghana last night was a fantastic result for the US. I think the US can win it, but they need to go for it, do it quick, sting Portugal at the start while they are still reeling psychologically from the defeat to Germany (did anyone see the looks on the Spanish player's faces when Alonso knocked the ball inches wide of the post against Chile?). Also Ronaldo doesn't look at his best and is slightly injured, and the rest cannot do it without him.

Anybody watched many of the other games? I am managing 2 per day, but the 11pm (BST) game is a bit late, and I might only watch the start or first half, if at all.

France look the best team in the tournament so far, quick, stylish, sexy football, operating like a smooth and silky team. It is possible they have peaked too soon, but time will tell. They are pretty much through.

Argentina looked dodgy against Iran, but Iran put about 4 players on Messi and it killed the game first half. 2nd half, unlucky not to get a penalty, but the angle for the ref would have made it look like and ok tackle, except the Iranian got a toe to it at the last minute, which I don;t think the ref could have seen. Argentina at the back look decidedly iffy, although it could be a case of getting it out of their system and going on to peak at the right time. They do need to step it up, and leaving Tevez now looks a little controversial.

Spain are out! And what a dismal end. It just didn't work with Costa, he moved and ran and Spain played it sideways or backwards.

England - the less said about England the better, so one word will do: attrocious.

Brazil - still not firing on all cylinders, Fred is about the worst striker ever, look decidedly beatable by decent opposition.

Germany - look good and will be alright, don't think they can win it, but quarters at least.

Costa Rica - holy moly!

Italy - rubbish but still miles better then england

Uruguay - we got shown up by a team from a country with 3 million people. we have 60 and we can't find 23 decent players and one decent manager? Urugauy will probably get to the quarters or semis.

I think I will stop now as it is making me sad. Can someone else take over - I'm off for a cry.

The excellent Zonal Marking has tactical reviews for each days games, in case you want to see what he says about your team.
posted by marienbad at 6:58 AM on June 22 [4 favorites]


I live in the Portuguese area of Toronto and the only reason I wouldn't mind a U.S. victory is it would reduce tons of cars with flags on them driving around honking their horns for hours on end. I can't imagine what the streets would be like if Americans did that sort of thing.
posted by juiceCake at 6:58 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I'm Canadian and what is this


Funny, I'm right here in Toronto, and I'm kind of hoping the US beats Portugal so my neighborhood will be real quiet tonight (and the rest of the tournament).

Of course, the Portuguese have other options.


Also: COME ON BELGIUM!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:59 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


is there even a pretense of fair officiating in the world cup? I've watched two games now where it seemed like yellow and red cards should have been flying, most recently Greece vs Japan. the Greeks seemed like they were trying to reinvent American football...
posted by ennui.bz at 7:00 AM on June 22


I've had a grudge against Ronaldo since the 2006 WC when he got Wayne Rooney sent off so basically what I'm saying is OUR DEFENSE LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.

Although I am kind of sad Hugo Almeida isn't playing because in full moustache mode he looks like a dashing swashbuckler.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:03 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


"defeating England in 1950 [youtube icon] .

I hope that the . is there to respectfully mourn the death of English football *sob*."
posted by Ned G

English football died ages ago mate, exactly when depends on how you feel about it:

""When he [Walter Winterbottom] started at the FA in 1946, he faced stubborn resistance," says Morse. "Nobody believed in coaching and nobody wanted change.""

1928: England 1-5 Scotland, Wembley - Scotland captain Jimmy: "All our forwards are inherently clever, but the English tactics were wrong. It is a common thing in England to let wing halves, and not fullback, mark the wingers. It doesn't pay and I don't know why they do it."

1929: Spain 4-3 England, Madrid - Football writer Jonathan Wilson: "The first defeat to non-British opposition was explained away because it happened in May. The players complained that the sun was in their eyes and the pitch was too hard."

1934: Hungary 2-1 England, Budapest & Czechoslovakia 2-1 England, Prague - Sir Walter Winterbottom's biographer Graham Morse: "England remained stubbornly isolated an inward-looking during this period of rapid development on the continent."

1950: England 0-1 USA, Belo Horizonte - The Times: "Probably never before has an English team played so badly. The chances missed were legion."

1953: England 3-6 Hungary, Wembley - Football writer Brian Glanville: "It absolutely torpedoed the confidence and insularity of English football." (link to Mefi thread with full match on yt. Seriously, you only need see the first goal and that's scored in about a minute and England have touched the ball 3 times and one of them is a throw in and we only got that because the Hungarians played a foul-throw! Hidegkuti walks into the spce left by the stupid and confused England defence, a space you could have driven a fucking bus through.)

Did you see that date? 1928! NINETEEN TWENTY EIGHT FOR FUCKS SAKE.

Anyway, back to Portugal vs USA. Who should I cheer on? I would like to see the US progress because I dislike Ronaldo, but then I am European, so maybe we should stick together? Hmmm, it is a dilemma.
posted by marienbad at 7:09 AM on June 22 [4 favorites]


If only Ronaldo and Messi were born a decade earlier they would have been able to play with really strong national sides instead of basically being the only hopes for their teams to make it anywhere. Imagine Ronaldo playing with the Portugal of Figo and Rui Costa or Messi being in a squad with Batistuta and Crespo.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:15 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


This is my first world cup abroad and I'm enjoying it. I still think that the matches are boring, but it's fun to see how into it my neighbors and friends are. During the game between Ghana and Germany, I could hear people in other houses cheering!

They keep trying to talk to me about it. There's a language barrier; my French sucks, and my Dioula sucks more. I understand very little about what's going on.

I know they want to me to watch the US vs. Portugal match with them, and I think I will. Is it weird to not cheer for your own country's team? I don't really care who wins this match; I just want to have fun. Normally, I cheer for the underdog in any sport, but I don't know who the underdog is in this match.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:16 AM on June 22


Been watching obsessively here. That Ghana -Argentina game was amazing - so intense and so back and forth. The Argentines, well both sides really, looked totally spent at the end. Hard conditions to play at that pace and it makes me expect that getting to the end of the tournament will be a case of which teams manage the fewest injuries as much as any team's particular quality of play.

Decent article about Tim Howard here (NYT link)
posted by leslies at 7:21 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I know this is a Portugal vs US thread, but... The FA say they have football's best interests at heart, yet (and frankly I am hoping there is someone here who is knowledgable about EU law as I can't see how this is not a restrictive practice) : "The other thing that hits us very hard is the rule that says if you are not a league club you lose all the rights to contract players. So you can put four or five years into their development and receive nothing in return. We have just sent a promising young player off to Tottenham, who have been tracking him for a while. He has been with us from the age of six and is now 13 and ready for the next stage. Tottenham did things in the right way, they worked with us and recognised the part we had played in the lad's development, but they didn't have to. We are not protected by any rules to prevent bigger clubs cherry-picking our best products, and I think that is wrong"

I should have just made an "Announcing the Death of English Football" FPP with all this stuff in it.
posted by marienbad at 7:32 AM on June 22


I am conflicted about this match. On the one hand, the US is a cultural hegemony always waving it's dick around and just fuck off and let the rest of us enjoy soccer and don't you have a planet to go despoil?

On the other hand, I grew up in Toronto's Little Portugal (same hood White Skull mentioned above) and was not well treated by the kids from the area.

I'm a ray of sunshine.
posted by dry white toast at 7:45 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: "US beat Ghana. Ghana ties Germany. DEDUCTION: US better than Germany."

Pity the game is association football and not deduction football!

USA > Ghana = Germany > Portugal...
posted by chavenet at 7:56 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, the US is a cultural hegemony always waving it's dick around and just fuck off and let the rest of us enjoy soccer and don't you have a planet to go despoil?


Uh isn't the US caring about something where they aren't a hegemon a good thing? Isn't that what you people want?
posted by JPD at 7:56 AM on June 22 [13 favorites]


I am conflicted about this match. On the one hand, the US is a cultural hegemony always waving it's dick around and just fuck off and let the rest of us enjoy soccer and don't you have a planet to go despoil?

I like this because usually the U.S. is criticized for not caring enough about soccer.

P.S. Canadian-based mining companies do a great job of despoiling the earth.
posted by Area Man at 8:03 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


1. Cristiano Ronaldo IS NOT the best player in the world, although having been awarded as such. The best player of our time is, no doubt about it, Messi.
2. Still, the best the US can hope for in tonight's match is a draw.
In case i will be proven wrong, i hereby solemnly promise not to to comment on this
venerable site again. Ever! . . .
posted by The Dot at 8:05 AM on June 22


Pity the game is association football and not deduction football!

That title is up for grabs Tuesday with the ENG vs. CRC match.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:12 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


That is hilarious, cmfletcher! Scotland are actually top - the auld enemy 1st ahead of England.

BBC liveblog for the USA Portugal game.
posted by marienbad at 8:24 AM on June 22


That Ghana -Argentina game was amazing

I guess that was a synthesis of Ghana-Germany and Argentina-Iran, where the African team played a 10:0:0 formation and Lionel Klose scored in the 92' minute.
posted by dhoe at 8:49 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Oh no ... the BBCs famously not-very-good pundit Mark Lawrenson has picked the USA to beat Portugal. That's pretty much the kiss of soccer-death for the USA tonight.

Sorry, American fans and friends :(
posted by Wordshore at 8:53 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


I guess if I have to suffer through the US actually going forward while the predictably offensive segment of the US population swells like a bloated tick with obnoxious national pride then it might as well be a win against Portugal, a country for which I do not imagine the average likely-to-use-them american knows any racial or ethnic slurs.


Uh isn't the US caring about something where they aren't a hegemon a good thing? Isn't that what you people want?

I just can't stand the sound of people bellowing USA USA USA really and one less venue for that to take place is always a bonus in my book.

Really the ideal team to beat the US should always be England not only because it would be historically hilarious but also because it would culminate with tea in a harbor somewhere. Oh or also the dutch because some nut would try to rename cookies as FREEDOM BISCUITS.
posted by elizardbits at 8:59 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


As so often happens on this world of ours, the greatest underdogs history has ever known, The United States of America, are sure to rise against all odds and defeat the sinister Portuguese and bring liberty and happiness to all of the planet's citizens. We are the best in war, we are the best in popular culture, we are the best in freedom. . . as in all things we will soon be the best in soccer. Everyday I wake up and thank God that my country continues to be a beacon of hope for the entire world.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 9:01 AM on June 22 [10 favorites]


The Ghana - Germany Draw kind of fucked the US. Now the Germans need a result next Thursday - either a draw or a win. And if the US loses today then the Germans will want a win to come first in the group.

If the Germans had won they would have only needed a tie to come top of the group, so if the US were to lose today by less than three goals they could have tied with Germany and come second in the group.

Weirdly though the odds are also much better now for the US to win the group.

As an American I don't particularly care for the "U-S-A" chant, but the character of the USMNT is so different from what we normally associate with American arrogance. Its basically a bunch of johnnie try-hards who would be the underdog team its easy to cheer for if they didn't have USA on the uniform.

Physically Fit, Not very creative, not prone to histrionics, the team better than its parts. Its really pretty likeable. Except for ya'know being a global hegemon off the pitch.
posted by JPD at 9:06 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


WAR PIG!

SIZE THE DAY!
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 9:13 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Is anyone watching Belgium Russia? Could be interesting as the winners/runners up in USA's group play runners-up/winners (respectively) in this group.

If either side could take a corner or cross the ball in we could have had a goal. Also, I'm not saying Russia are bad, but are they even on the pitch?
posted by marienbad at 9:32 AM on June 22


I guess if I have to suffer through the US actually going forward while the predictably offensive segment of the US population swells like a bloated tick with obnoxious national pride then it might as well be a win against Portugal, a country for which I do not imagine the average likely-to-use-them american knows any racial or ethnic slurs.

Oh come on, the average likely-to-use-them American will simply reach into the most convenient stable for racial/ethnic slurs based along on their names and skin color. Don't under estimate bigotry!

Really the ideal team to beat the US should always be England not only because it would be historically hilarious but also because it would culminate with tea in a harbor somewhere. Oh or also the dutch because some nut would try to rename cookies as FREEDOM BISCUITS.

Nah, cause no one eats Dutch Cookies. We already make fun of the British for calling them biscuits, as is. Interestingly enough, with the exception of the Dutch Freedom Oven, the only terms with Dutch in them are either insults inherited from English forefathers or mispronunciations of Deutch.

I'll be rooting for Team USA this afternoon because like a proper American, I only get to do this once every four years. After that, I feign interest if asked and mention how I played soccer in middle school and change the topic to how soccer was a term inherited from England and is just as reasonable to use as football and gosh, is it August/September yet when College Football in the US gets started?
posted by Atreides at 9:35 AM on June 22


Eliza & others: Why do you feel the need to put soccer into a cultural and/or political context?
We're not talking about the FIFA here, that's pure politics. We're talking about the game, the sport. As a former soccer myself i can assure you there's nothing much going on beside gameplans, general tactics. Maybe some of you should watch the monty python clip on youtube:Germany vs Greece.
posted by The Dot at 9:36 AM on June 22 [4 favorites]


> I'll be rooting for Team USA this afternoon because like a proper American, I only get to do this once every four years.

Same here, and like The Dot I wish people would leave the political crap out of it. But really I came here to say one thing: MESSI!!!
posted by languagehat at 9:40 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I guess if I have to suffer through the US actually going forward while the predictably offensive segment of the US population swells like a bloated tick with obnoxious national pride then it might as well be a win against Portugal, a country for which I do not imagine the average likely-to-use-them american knows any racial or ethnic slurs.

'pork and cheese'. However both are awesome so compliment.
posted by srboisvert at 9:42 AM on June 22


Where the fuck did we get into talking about racial slurs in a thread about a football game? Seriously, we know you don't like footy, we know you don't like people supporting a team and shouting its name in a stadium. Why do people feel the need to do this? I have posted footy related comments and everyone is talking about the politics of the situation.

Anyhow, half time in the Belgium Russia game and its nil-nil and neither side looks like scoring. If USMNT are watching this, they will not be worried at all.
posted by marienbad at 9:54 AM on June 22 [7 favorites]


Observation on Belgium/Russia, your European nation may suck ass if it has no African emigrants, looking at you here Russia.
posted by Keith Talent at 9:54 AM on June 22


wow, some of you are laying a lot of baggage on 23 guys in shorts.
posted by echocollate at 9:57 AM on June 22 [9 favorites]


US vs Germany could be fun but against Portugal? Why?
posted by krautland at 9:58 AM on June 22


And if you're still debating who to support this might help - a little outdated given some of the games' results but still very funny. (I know - all the stupid link-baity bits are annoying but the substance is amusing)
posted by leslies at 10:04 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm not saying Russia are bad, but are they even on the pitch?

Seriously, they seem a bit confused as to how they even got there in the first place, like they thought they were getting on the bus to the water park and ended up on the pitch instead.
posted by elizardbits at 10:22 AM on June 22


This is my first world cup abroad and I'm enjoying it. I still think that the matches are boring, but it's fun to see how into it my neighbors and friends are. During the game between Ghana and Germany, I could hear people in other houses cheering!

This is also my experience. The main difference is all my colleagues speak English and I understand soccer as my husband has played for 35 years at this point, so I do get stuck talking about it all. I've given in and started watching and I'm even looking forward to the conversations I will have at work on Monday.

Really the ideal team to beat the US should always be England not only because it would be historically hilarious but also because it would culminate with tea in a harbor somewhere. Oh or also the dutch because some nut would try to rename cookies as FREEDOM BISCUITS.

Instead it will be Germany because we're by far the strongest economy in the EU and we don't give a thought to your little country.
posted by shelleycat at 10:30 AM on June 22


The odds are around 5/2 Portugal.
posted by Brian B. at 10:31 AM on June 22


Playing for Portugal is Cristiano Ronaldo, possibly the best player in the world, whose fancy footwork is legendary.

My inability to play "football" with my feet is exceeded only by my inability to type with my thumbs. I seem to be born of a generation of useless appendages.
posted by JackFlash at 10:50 AM on June 22


The question was brought up why America isn't dominant in er.. that sport.
The answer is quite simple. What's going down right now in brasil is called
futebol, as it is anywhere else in the world, football, except for the US,
where the term has, for a long time already been occupied by American Football,
a derivative of the original rugby. Now the thing is about competition. Most popular
teamsports in America are in no particular order: baseball, basketball, american football,
ice hockey.

Now we're going cultural
why is america the only country i know of, where it's called soccer (as in sucker) ?

You tell me!

(ps: to the over zealous mod: i'm not trolling!)
posted by The Dot at 10:54 AM on June 22


I do hope the USA will do its duty against Portugual, as I can't abide their football team and want to see them humiliated at each possible opportunity -- I'm Dutch, we've got beef (e.g. The Battle of Nuremberg).

It may be tough though. Germany may have spanked them horribly in their first game, but that doesn't mean they're a walkover now; they know they need to win this game and next to proceed to the next round. Also, losing from Germany is one thing, from a team like the USA would be unbearable.

At the moment I think the USA is in roughly the same position England refuses to recognise it is in: a decent team that on a good day can beat anybody but the real top teams at the World Cup, at times can challenge even these, but which will have to struggle to get out the groups phase. When everything clicks in place they can put together a great run (e.g. getting to the Quarter Finals in 2002) and they may have a chance to do so again, now so many of the supposed favourites are struggling.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:59 AM on June 22


I'm Dutch, we've got beef

Yeah, the Dutch. Home to Van Bommel, record # of fouls in WCfinals vs Spain and a strategic elegance akin to a meat tenderizer.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 11:07 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


why is america the only country i know of, where it's called soccer

Because you haven't been to Australia?
posted by eriko at 11:07 AM on June 22 [7 favorites]


why is america the only country i know of, where it's called soccer (as in sucker) ?

Because "football" is already in use. Changing it to "armball" is about as unlikely as the culture converting to metric before the Redskins change their name. Also, the word soccer derives from "AsSOCiation Football" so it isn't entirely unrelated.
posted by Brian B. at 11:10 AM on June 22


eriko: true
brian: thanks for another bit of education
posted by The Dot at 11:14 AM on June 22


The low level that US professional soccer is played at (MLS being the latest symptom) probably has a lot to do with the US's lack of international achievement.

Not necessarily, but it is symtomatic that the MLS season is starting in the middle of the World Cup; clearly there aren't so many world class players in it that teams will suffer for it. Of course the socialism inherent in the way the MLS is structured isn't helping either.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:16 AM on June 22


I should have researched a bit, before posting. i stressed that i had no ambition to troll.
the result, however, was pretty much the same. Apologies
posted by The Dot at 11:20 AM on June 22


Of course the socialism inherent in the way the MLS is structured isn't helping either.

Its a great irony how socialist professional sports are in the US and how baldly capitalistic the European leagues are.
posted by JPD at 11:21 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the Dutch. Home to Van Bommel, record # of fouls in WCfinals vs Spain and a strategic elegance akin to a meat tenderizer.

Somebody's jealous.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:21 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


"Interestingly enough, with the exception of the Dutch Freedom Oven, the only terms with Dutch in them are either insults inherited from English forefathers or mispronunciations of Deutch."

Dutch treat.
Dutch doors.
Double dutch.
Dutch uncle.

Dutch Schultz.
posted by bcarter3 at 11:24 AM on June 22


Turned on the Belgium Russia game at around minute 77 and it got pretty exciting there at the end. A very pretty goal for the Belgians.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:26 AM on June 22


whose fancy footwork is legendary.
posted by twoleftfeet

The eponyjoke writes itself.
posted by effbot at 7:53 AM on June 22 [8 favorites +] [!]

The joke in Argentina is that Messi has two left feet. Not always a bad thing, eh? Considering there's a statue of his left foot in solid gold.

posted by pecanpies at 11:28 AM on June 22


It's FOOTBALL FOR FUCK'S SAKE
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:31 AM on June 22


GoA
Right on!
posted by The Dot at 11:34 AM on June 22


It's FOOTBALL FOR FUCK'S SAKE

Of course it is.
posted by Brian B. at 11:39 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I'm about to watch Korea v. Algeria. Who should I cheer for? I don't have any strong feelings about the countries and know almost nothing about their teams.
posted by Area Man at 11:41 AM on June 22


why should you root for any team then? sit back, relax, have a snack
posted by The Dot at 11:44 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


The shit Americans get for calling it soccer is matched in stupidity by the Americans who insist on calling it futbol, as if Spanish speakers are the only people who play the game. It's soccer in several English speaking countries where another code of football is more popular, that's logical and fine.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:49 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


"Soccer" is also used in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, which shows the word originally comes from England. It is the equivalent of "rugger" for rugby.
posted by Area Man at 11:49 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


"And if you're still debating who to support this might help - a little outdated given some of the games' results but still very funny."
posted by leslies

From the link:

"Do you want any chance your team will make it out of the group stage?" - absolutely none - "Do you like kangaroos on your jersey" - Kangaroos are stupid - COSTA RICA!

Its so funny now. Then again, being English, maybe it isn't.

And yes, we know the word came from England. Football is the original word for the game:
"the open-air game, first recorded 1409; forbidden in a Scottish statute of 1424. The first reference to the ball itself is 1486. Figurative sense of "something idly kicked around" is first recorded 1532. Ball-kicking games date back to the Roman legions, at least, but the sport seems to have risen to
a national obsession in England, c.1630. Rules first regularized at Cambridge, 1848; soccer (q.v.) split off in 1863. The U.S. style (known to some in England as "stop-start rugby with padding") evolved gradually 19c.; the first true collegiate game is considered to have been played Nov. 6, 1869, between Princeton and Rutgers, at Rutgers, but the rules there were more like soccer. A rematch at Princeton Nov. 13, with the home team's rules, was true U.S. football. The earliest recorded application of the word football to this is from 1881. "
posted by marienbad at 11:59 AM on June 22


Also, if that's the best Russia and Belgium can do, come on America, this is your time. A win over Portugal and either of those 2 sides is beatable in the last 16.
posted by marienbad at 12:00 PM on June 22


Leslie's chart link is pretty amusing, given that all the way out there on the "Do you want to root for the underdog?" "Real underdogs, not giant rich countries with terrible teams?" "Do you want a chance of getting through group? Absolutely not?" tree is Costa Rica. The Ticos mock your chart!
posted by tavella at 12:03 PM on June 22


I'm going to go out to my lorry and grab a spanner. Then I'm going to take the lift to the flat of the next one of you wankers who complains about Americans calling it soccer. Whilst you are watching the football on the telly I'll be prizing open your door to come in and beat you senseless.
posted by JPD at 12:05 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


(Said in jest of course)
posted by JPD at 12:05 PM on June 22


"Soccer" is also used in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, which shows the word originally comes from England. It is the equivalent of "rugger" for rugby.

It's also used in Ireland and South Africa. Apparently the English stopped calling it soccer about 35 years ago because it had both American and upper class connotations...
posted by jim in austin at 12:09 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


football is a good reason to take your shirt off and holler like a baboon...and it is totally ok.
posted by shockingbluamp at 12:09 PM on June 22


Embarrassing, the tiny shitstorm i initiated by bringing up the soccer vs football
theme.Let's get back to the FPP topic, shan't we? As i said it will not be a lucky night for the US.
If by tomorrow i'm still posting, i'll tell you who wins the WC. Got this weird premonition thing going, in which i don't believe actually, yet, for the last 3 WC's i was always right.
posted by The Dot at 12:17 PM on June 22


Rooting for Corea del Sud. But they're kinda getting man-handled. Link to online stream, with excellent and excited Mexican commentators. Just hit the "En Vivo - Gratis" button to go to whatever match is on.

Haven't missed a match yet, and have spent most of them in chat. Good times.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 12:21 PM on June 22


I hate to rise to oppose a troll, but:

The low level that US professional soccer is played at (MLS being the latest symptom)

The MLS is not low level. It's just not EPL/La Liga/Bundesliga/Serie A. It's been said a thousand times before that the MLS level of play is roughly English Championship, which quality-wise is way better than most of the rest of Europe. Honestly, MLS is looking more like SPL every day, and yet no one dodders on about how awful SPL is. (Scottish football, OTOH....)

Liga MX is a top 10 league in the world. MLS teams now hold their own against them in the CONCACAF Champions League.

probably has a lot to do with the US's lack of international achievement.

No, just the opposite.

Between 1951 and 1994, the US made two World Cups and progressed out of group play just once ('94). Since the start of the MLS in 1995, the US has qualified for five Cups and progressed out of the group stage twice. One big reason is the MLS gave a league for players like Donovan, Dempsey, and Altidore to play in until the bigger clubs came along to sign them. And there is still considerable anti-American bias in Europe when it comes to football, so even breaking into a lower division club is going to be a struggle.

Now, you could argue the US should be good enough to progress every single year and should have more than a last 8 appearance in the last 20 years. Of course, when soccer is your fifth most popular sport (tho closing in on the NHL), and when the financial structure of the league means players like Dempsey get $8M in total compensation while 8 players on the Sounders roster make less than the median Seattle income of $52,000, while an NFL player get $400K to just be on a roster... why would you play soccer again?

The US has come a long, long way since 1990. But it has a long way to go. I think they will win the Cup in my lifetime. But I worry I'll be 102 when it happens.
posted by dw at 12:45 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


(fwiw, according to Quantcast, mefi is about 73% soccer, 27% football/futbal. Not that Canada really counts in this context, but...)
posted by effbot at 12:48 PM on June 22


OK, I know I said Russia were bad, but South Korea? I think the Algeria fans should be singing "Are you North Korea in disguise?"

2 HOURS TO GO AMERICA! What's the build up on American tv/media been like for this game? Good, bad, smooth or uneven?
posted by marienbad at 12:53 PM on June 22


What's the build up on American tv/media been like for this game?

It's hard to say, because knowing the answer to that is somewhat tied up in the ESPN vig, because while the first two games today were televised over-the-air ABC (who owns ESPN), the US game is on ESPN. In my television market, I have to buy 3 tiers of cable television packaging before I get ESPN. No thank you. There are growing legions of cord cutters like me, disgruntled at the horrible consumer practices our monopolistic television delivery overlords.

Rant aside, I'm excited for the game, and will be venturing out somewhere to see it. I think it's safe to say it's the most important US Men's soccer game maybe ever. Unless of course they lose badly, then it's just another game.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:00 PM on June 22


Its a bit of a fuckabout as some of them don't work - most do though, but you can usually find a working world cup stream on here, some are BeIn or ESPN.

Also, BeIn have a guy co-commentating called Ray Hudson, and boy is his commentary surreal.. And to hear him trying to pronounce names like Filipao and Higuain is marvellous.
posted by marienbad at 1:05 PM on June 22


fwiw, according to Quantcast, mefi is about 73% soccer, 27% football/futbal. Not that Canada really counts in this context, but...)


Yeah, we're wondering why you guys keep mis-spelling hockey so badly.
posted by nubs at 1:05 PM on June 22


Fwiw, the head sports teacher at my traditional English school insisted on it being called "soccer". "Football" was rugby.
posted by Segundus at 1:09 PM on June 22


my prediction: USA gets the draw or win, but only after Ronaldo injures his already injured knee, to the point where it effects his long-term career and the USMNT and supporters kinda feel guilty about it.

also, my understanding on why soccer is not popular in the US is because TV can't make enough money on it since the game will not stop for commercials. so no one wants to air it, meaning far less interest.
posted by dogwalker at 1:26 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Man, I hope the US wins today, but it's going to take a miracle. The MLS league has made our team a bit stronger, but the Ghana game was the US team back to their old bad habits, which is pretty good on defense, ok on offense, and abysmal in the mid-field. They literally can't play the game in the middle third of the pitch, and the last game was 90min of the goal keeper kicking rainbows that the US sometimes won, but could rarely control.

I honestly don't know why in the last 25 years the US team has never had any semblance of skill at basic passing and moving the ball up the field in a controlled and low-risk way. Instead, they always just lob the ball like a Hail Mary pass, and constantly lose the ball.
posted by mathowie at 1:27 PM on June 22


Wow. Korea/Algeria is turning out, against all odds, to be a corker. Algeria go three goals up in the first half, and now it's 4-2 to Algeria with Korea attacking like nobody's business...
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:31 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


<derail>fucking South Korean defense, man</derail>
posted by ardgedee at 1:45 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


only after Ronaldo injures his already injured knee, to the point where it effects his long-term career and the USMNT and supporters kinda feel guilty about it.

Does his current contract have to pay out if he messes himself up playing for Portugal?
posted by bukvich at 1:55 PM on June 22


dogwalker: They stop AFL games for commercial breaks? Seriously? i'm flabbergasted. Don't you think, that's just sick?
posted by The Dot at 1:56 PM on June 22


Well Done Algeria. long time to wait since the 1982 Anschluß game put you out, but almost through to the knockout stage now. Also, as running order squabble fest said, it was a corker of a game.

"fucking south Korean defence" - what defence?

"the US team has never had any semblance of skill at basic passing and moving the ball up the field in a controlled and low-risk way."
posted by mathowie

As an England fan, I know what you mean.
posted by marienbad at 1:57 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


An hour to go and I am pumped and ready for USA vs Portugal. Not giving away any clues as to who I'm supporting.
posted by Wordshore at 2:00 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Ontopic, I feel like I blew my credibility, pretty much, by confidently asserting in the Landon Donovan thread that the USA might struggle to score a goal, much less win a match, but it feels like Portugal are going to be in a foul mood after being thumped by Germany, and will either take that out on the US, or, especially if the US can keep the scoreline 0-0, start to implode a little... It feels like much of the game is going to be played in the USA's final third, though.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:00 PM on June 22


These ESPN Kiefer Sutherland narrated spots for the USMNT are the worst thing I've ever loved a tiny bit
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:07 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Now I'm a bit gutted for South Korea- I always like to watch a good fight back. Still, well done Algeria (my facebook comment for this match was "Algeria v. Korea: I HAVE NO STRONG OPINIONS REGARDING EITHER SIDE IN THIS MATCH!")

I'm glad Belgium won, but they really looked kind of shit out there (except for Mertens- this really is becoming a World Cup for wingers). Lukaku looked asleep. Good thing Russia actually was.

Also:

Football
Futbol
Foot
Calcio
Soccer

Take your pick.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:08 PM on June 22


Does his current contract have to pay out if he messes himself up playing for Portugal?


There are elaborate insurance policies involved in that sort of thing.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:10 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Count me as another person on the west side of Toronto cheering for a US victory, just to laugh at all those obnoxious assholes who painted the Portuguese flag onto the hoods of their mobile noisemakers.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:10 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


So Jurgen's going with a 4-2-3-1 with Dempsey up front. Clogged up midfield is what we need to stop Ronaldo. Looks like USA is going to play a very defensive minded game.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:11 PM on June 22


They stop AFL games for commercial breaks? Seriously? i'm flabbergasted. Don't you think, that's just sick?

uhh what?
posted by dogwalker at 2:26 PM on June 22


Huh, I thought we might see Wondolowski up front with Dempsey.
posted by Area Man at 2:29 PM on June 22


Not sure what you're about dogwalker. I tend to take it, it's a given.
posted by The Dot at 2:31 PM on June 22


I suspect that depending upon how the first half goes we might see Wondolowski come on after the half.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:34 PM on June 22


Not sure what you're about dogwalker. I tend to take it, it's a given.

uhhhhh what?!?

seriously, you tend to take what? what's a given? what does the AFL have to do with this?
posted by dogwalker at 2:41 PM on June 22


The Dot: "dogwalker: They stop AFL games for commercial breaks? Seriously? i'm flabbergasted. Don't you think, that's just sick?"

Here's the Wikipedia entry discussing NFL TV time outs. We're just used to them because American football has a lot of starts and stops anyway.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:42 PM on June 22


BBC just shown a brief shot of what looks like a massive crowd in Chicago watching the match in a park.
posted by Wordshore at 2:50 PM on June 22


ZDF.de (broadcaster of the game in Germany) will have a camera on Klinsmann the whole time. That you can watch. 90 min of Klinsmann. You know, in case you're a fan.
Also accessible are shots just of the field, and the game with no commentary or cuts. It's interesting.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:55 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


I'm gonna have to set aside my vitriol for Ronaldo for a sec because he has the cutest mascot.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:55 PM on June 22


USA are wearing white, so I'm pretending they're England and we're still in the World Cup.
posted by Thing at 3:04 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Yes, this feels like England alright!
posted by Thing at 3:05 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Well, that's a bad start.
posted by ardgedee at 3:05 PM on June 22


Bollocks.

English phrase meaning "I am not entirely happy at this turn of events"
posted by Wordshore at 3:06 PM on June 22


USA literally gave Portugal the ball for that first goal.
posted by ardgedee at 3:06 PM on June 22


USA are wearing white, so I'm pretending they're England and we're still in the World Cup.

I'm not saying you just jinxed USA but..
posted by kariebookish at 3:06 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Ahh, come on Portugal. I have you picked for the final four.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 3:08 PM on June 22


Apparently the US are wearing Nike team-issue teflon shoes, for how easily Portugal can pick the ball out of their grasp.
posted by ardgedee at 3:09 PM on June 22


Well, that's... awkward.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:11 PM on June 22


Actually nobody likes Cristiano Ronaldo, except for himself, his groupies & my ex-gf. I cured her from that disease before we split. Hope that's gonna score me some points once i'll stand before the holy peter.
posted by The Dot at 3:13 PM on June 22


Why did the ref spray a do-not-cross line in front of the Portuguese on that free kick?
posted by mudpuppie at 3:14 PM on June 22


The aerosol can has been the star of this World Cup. It could win the Golden Boot.
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:14 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Apparently when there's a free kick against the USA, the referee sprays a line using a can of Easy Cheese.
posted by Wordshore at 3:16 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


USA are not as good at falling down - Mereilles did a fantastic job there.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:16 PM on June 22


The disappearing foam lines are specifically to ensure things are where they are supposed to be: The ball for the penalty kick isn't scooched a couple feet to a more desirable angle, and the defenders don't scooch closer to the ball before the kick.
posted by ardgedee at 3:17 PM on June 22


The aerosol has been a common sight in this tournament.

Somewhere, a starry-eyed child watches, and wants to grow up to be a referee to be able to graffiti the grass in front of millions.
posted by halifix at 3:18 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


538.com: Do Americans need to dive more?
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:18 PM on June 22


It's comforting to know that if I'm ever confronted by a pro soccer player in a dark alley all I need to do is tap him lightly in the shins and he'll curl up in the fetal position.
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:23 PM on June 22 [5 favorites]


I think our defense finally have their nerves shaken out.
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:23 PM on June 22


538.com: Do Americans need to dive more?

Bah, in the same vein. Make sure to watch JK's flop at the very end to see who's coaching the US side.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 3:24 PM on June 22


Hey, it looked like his nose was really hurt there. Or maybe it was his chin, it was hard to tell.
posted by octothorpe at 3:25 PM on June 22


I'm liking turbo Zusi all of the sudden.
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:26 PM on June 22


supporting ardgedee: in professional football there are several rules routinely defied by the players, sanctioned or at least not opposed to by the referee. The foam measure corrects one of those notorious "small cheats".
posted by The Dot at 3:27 PM on June 22


The British commentators I've been seeing and hearing (BBC, ITV, Guardian) started the tournament making fun of the foam lines but they seem to have come around to appreciating the stuff.
posted by ardgedee at 3:31 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


538.com: Do Americans need to dive more?

From BBC last week:

The New York Times is worried that the United States national team will fall short of ever being contenders on the world stage because American culture frowns on faking injuries and diving. [...]

The paper argues that such behaviour "runs contrary to the ethos of idealized American sports".

Maybe that is why they hired coach Jurgen Klinsmann?

posted by effbot at 3:37 PM on June 22


I like what's going on with Zusi and Johnson. And our defense is doing God's work back there.
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:37 PM on June 22


I've never seen a drinks break during a match before.
posted by ardgedee at 3:41 PM on June 22


This is the first water break for the World Cup.
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:42 PM on June 22


They are literally playing in the middle of a jungle. I would be breaking for water every 30 seconds.
posted by JoeZydeco at 3:49 PM on June 22


The US is recovering better than I expected but I will still be amazed if they manage to tie it.
posted by languagehat at 3:52 PM on June 22


How can Ronaldo stand playing in long sleeves? In the jungle? Is he worried about mosquitos munching on his perfectly waxed arms?
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:53 PM on June 22


American culture frowns on faking injuries and diving.

In American Football you're supposed to fake not being injured.
posted by aubilenon at 3:55 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


Wait until they play in Qatar, they'll have to play with camelbaks on.
posted by octothorpe at 3:55 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Michael Bradley looks really good today.

(now I'm secretly hoping that the US crashes out, so he can come back to TFC)


With regard to diving- yes, it happens. A lot of times though, the player has been legitimately fouled. People often don't realize how hard you can actually be kicked in football, even when, from a distance, it looks like a glancing blow to the shin; and particularly when you are running at full pace. Of course, there is often an amount of emphasis added by the fouled player, but that is to let the ref know that you've actually been fouled.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:58 PM on June 22


Mark my words: the World Cup will never be held in Qatar.
posted by Pendragon at 4:00 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Mark my words: the World Cup will never be held in Qatar.

May the good fairy wot live in the sky grant yer every wish.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:01 PM on June 22 [5 favorites]


I think that, other than Cameron's botched clear, we've looked pretty damn good. Howard seems a little shaky, but he's getting it done.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:03 PM on June 22


oh my heart
posted by ardgedee at 4:14 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


OH COME ON!! why can't we just close it at the finish
posted by KathrynT at 4:14 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Oh, Ronaldo...


Gurl, what did you do to your hair?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:17 PM on June 22


That lightning bolt is for SUPER SCORING SPEED!!!
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:19 PM on June 22


Clearly it's not for precision accuracy!
posted by KathrynT at 4:20 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


That Ronaldo attempt at the 62th minute had me in stitches.
posted by halifix at 4:21 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Ing-ger-land! Ing-ger-land!
posted by Thing at 4:22 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Jones! I don't think the Portugal goalie even moved!
posted by macfly at 4:22 PM on June 22


GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL
posted by KathrynT at 4:23 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


THANK YOU LORD FOR OUR GERMANS
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:23 PM on June 22


Haaaaaaah!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:23 PM on June 22


Also is that guy cosplaying Teddy Roosevelt?
posted by KathrynT at 4:24 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


My neighbors seem to be lagging by about 5 seconds. Should I feel guilty for spoiling things by screaming early?
posted by zengargoyle at 4:24 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


JJJ!
posted by Area Man at 4:24 PM on June 22


Wow, Roosevelt cosplay!!
posted by Pendragon at 4:25 PM on June 22


EVEN TEDDY ROOSEVELT IS EXCITED! BULLY!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:25 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia: "Jermaine Junior Jones (born 3 November 1981) is an American soccer player who plays as a defensive midfielder for Turkish Süper Lig club Beşiktaş. He is widely considered to be the greatest American after Abraham Lincoln and John Brooks."
posted by shortfuse at 4:25 PM on June 22 [9 favorites]


Roosevelt? What? I know nothing about soccer and I'm watching it on Canadian TV so it's all a bit confusing, but... Roosevelt?
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:25 PM on June 22


What does it mean for the standings if we tie this?
posted by KathrynT at 4:26 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I think we'd need Portugal to beat Ghana. We'd be ahead of Portugal on Goal Differential.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:28 PM on June 22


[That's assuming we don't beat Germany.]
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:30 PM on June 22


Teddy Roosevelt saved football.(although it was the other kind).
posted by octothorpe at 4:30 PM on June 22


Gosh, that was a welcome offside.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:31 PM on June 22


That Jermaine Jones Wikipedia entry keeps getting better and better:

At the FIFA World Cup 2014, Jones scored a key goal that tied the deathmatch between Portugal and USA. This key goal has made Jones the greatest American since John Brooks. Jermaine Jones is a national hero and Encyclopedia Britannica has officially announced that they will include an entry for Jermaine Jones. He is the greatest American to ever be born.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:33 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


Grabbed his calf, that's not a hamstring.
posted by vapidave at 4:37 PM on June 22


Oh. My. Word.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:39 PM on June 22


Goooooaaaaallllll!!
posted by macfly at 4:39 PM on June 22


um, fuck yes
posted by vapidave at 4:39 PM on June 22


YES GOAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Pendragon at 4:39 PM on June 22


WHAT DO WE SAY TO PORTUGAL? NOT TODAY!!!!!!!
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:39 PM on June 22 [6 favorites]


What did he put that in with?
posted by Thing at 4:39 PM on June 22


Wooooooo Clint!
posted by cmfletcher at 4:40 PM on June 22


This has been an amazing 15 minutes of soccer! Go USMNT!
posted by 256 at 4:40 PM on June 22


Wow!
posted by From Bklyn at 4:40 PM on June 22


Oh goddamnit.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:40 PM on June 22


Gol de panza, they're calling it here on Mexican tv
posted by dhruva at 4:41 PM on June 22


What did he put that in with?
posted by Thing at 4:39 PM on June 22


Eponysterical!
posted by loquacious at 4:41 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


His tummy
posted by Area Man at 4:41 PM on June 22


HE SCORES WITH HIS CROTCH

HE SCORES WITH HIS CROTCH

CLINTON DEMPSEY

HE SCORES WITH HIS CROTCH
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:41 PM on June 22 [9 favorites]


Pelvic thrust it into the net.
posted by 256 at 4:42 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


THAT'S HOW AMERICA ROLLS, FUCKERS

IT IS NOW CALLED DONGBALL
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:42 PM on June 22 [12 favorites]


Dempsey's belly button for Golden Boot
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:44 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


ok, half the team was offside
posted by vapidave at 4:44 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


...aaand we have Sad Ronaldo. It could be over, folks- we have Sad Ronaldo.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:45 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Sstill gotta watch Nani.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:47 PM on June 22


Whinealdo and Angry Nani this is AMAZING
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:48 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Sad Ronaldo, bringing joy
posted by From Bklyn at 4:48 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


vapidave: "ok, half the team was offside"

In Portugal it's not off side it's SEXY SIDE.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:49 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Zusi was great tonight
posted by Area Man at 4:50 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Zusi and Johnson were revelations.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:50 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


squeaky bum time
posted by gnuhavenpier at 4:51 PM on June 22


COME ON, 2 minutes !!!!
posted by Pendragon at 4:51 PM on June 22


*head explodes*
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:53 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Dammmmmmmmmm
posted by vapidave at 4:53 PM on June 22


Holy fuck that's great.
posted by todayandtomorrow at 4:53 PM on June 22


Noooooo!
posted by Thing at 4:53 PM on June 22


Amazing.
posted by gman at 4:53 PM on June 22


Oh wow. That was an amazing cross, but man.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:53 PM on June 22


FUCK!
posted by loquacious at 4:53 PM on June 22


Oh wow. Did not see that coming.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:54 PM on June 22


OK. I don't like this game anymore.
posted by octothorpe at 4:54 PM on June 22 [9 favorites]


Great game. Really great game.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:55 PM on June 22


Twitter is strangely silent. Overloaded?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:55 PM on June 22


I was cheering for the U.S. but I can't be sad about a game that ends like that. That was great.
posted by 256 at 4:55 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


WAT.
posted by droplet at 4:55 PM on June 22


I'll settle.
posted by vapidave at 4:55 PM on June 22


HAH! Punto final, se acabo! Portugal 2 - 2 USA
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:55 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Fawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwk.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:55 PM on June 22


Or maybe everyone is too shocked to tweet.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:55 PM on June 22


Damn it. Now I have to scrap my creative fanfiction where after Germany and Netherlands toss Spain and Portugal into a dumpster, and Chile leaves after doing its job, USA comes in to finish Portugal off. (It's a bit violent, but I was inspired by the edits of the killer clown pranks with Netherlands flag shopped in for the clown's head.)
posted by halifix at 4:56 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Huh.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:57 PM on June 22


Of all the days for me to volunteer somewhere without a television during the match.
posted by winna at 4:57 PM on June 22


winna, it was better for your cardiac health to not have watched it.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:58 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Well...


COME ON YOU BLACK STARS!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:58 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


The announcer providing commentary on the CBC feed was saying: "...well surely it's all over now for Portugal as we wind down the last few minutes, barring some sort of...dramatic...last-minute...[gets interrupted by rush to the goal]...!!"
posted by ceribus peribus at 4:59 PM on June 22 [5 favorites]


My head did an exploding thing. I never watch soccer and now I'm thinking I should start.
posted by naju at 4:59 PM on June 22 [6 favorites]


On Thursday, I have to try to get a bunch of 18-year-olds to sit at computers that will be connected to the internet and do something other than watch the USA-Germany game. Pray for me, everyone.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:59 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


This is what I get for finally caring about soccer.
posted by MoonOrb at 5:00 PM on June 22 [6 favorites]


2 HOURS TO GO AMERICA! What's the build up on American tv/media been like for this game? Good, bad, smooth or uneven?

Around here, at least, no one seems that interested.
There was a second page story in the sports section about it.

On ABC (the owner of the broadcast rights for the World Cup), they've shown a political talk show, a court show, and a show about celebrities during the game time.

I don't get ESPN (the channel that is broadcasting this game) though, so maybe they've been hyping it up.
I'm not going to pay for ESPN to find out though.
posted by madajb at 5:00 PM on June 22


The CBC announcer also said, earlier, "He scores goals. That's how he terms putting the ball in the back of the net."
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:01 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


This has been a ridiculous World Cup so far - definitely an attacker's World Cup.

Given that Germany are one of the best teams in the world, it's not looking great for the US, but they only need a draw...
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:01 PM on June 22


So, what does the mean for America? Are they going to make it to the next stage?
posted by nooneyouknow at 5:01 PM on June 22


That was heartbreaking but this has been the best World Cup and all we need to do is draw Germany so there's still help.
Although I'm kind of hacked off it puts me in the position of rooting against my beloved Germans.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:02 PM on June 22


When the extra time was announced, my first thought was, "FIVE MINUTES? That's bullshit."

This is the only time I have ever had precognition. And it sucks, man. It sucks.
posted by ardgedee at 5:02 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Ok I hate Ronaldo as much as anyone but that man is UNREALISTICALLY handsome.
posted by KathrynT at 5:02 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Wonder if this will make the front page of my local paper's sports page? There was no mention of the game in today's issue.
posted by octothorpe at 5:03 PM on June 22


"So, what does the mean for America? Are they going to make it to the next stage?"

If they tie, or, heh, beat Germany.
posted by vapidave at 5:03 PM on June 22


All we had to do was keep possession of the ball for thirty seconds, for fuck's sake.
posted by languagehat at 5:04 PM on June 22 [10 favorites]


The USA needs to draw or beat Germany, which will be tough. If they lose to Germany, it will ride on how Portugal fares versus Ghana.
posted by 256 at 5:04 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


doesn't matter at all anyway. none of the two teams stands a chance to win the title
posted by The Dot at 5:05 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


madajb, I don't have ESPN, and won't pay for it either, but my ISP has set something up so that I can watch it streaming in my browser.

If you go here, and see 'STREAM' links in the "TV Coverage / Live Streaming / Replay" section, try clicking them. For me they open up a "Watch ESPN" window that is co-branded with my ISP (RCN). I didn't order or pay for anything special — maybe your ISP has done the same.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:05 PM on June 22


The USA is still looking pretty good thanks to Portugal's terrible goal difference aren't they?
posted by markr at 5:05 PM on June 22


Even if the USA loses to Germany, they are likely to get through unless Germany scores a fistful of goals against them, because I just can't see Portugal posting a big score against Ghana.
posted by 256 at 5:06 PM on June 22


it's not looking great for the US, but they only need a draw...

The current goal differential is US +1, Ghana -1, Portugal -4. So even a US loss against Germany earns the US the second spot in the group provided that it keeps the edge in this category. At least I think that's how it works.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 5:06 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Well, folks, we're disappointed only because we almost won that one.

You know, the team in the Group of Death who would be quickly escorted out? We haven't lost.

Here's where we're at.

If GER-USA tie, they both go, with Germany winning the group, regardless of the state of the other match.

*or*

If POR-GHA tie, they both go home and Germany and the US advance. The order depends on the GER-USA result, but Germany has +3 GD over the US. So, like Germany.

So, either match ties and Germany/USA advance.

If USA wins, we go and win the group.

If the US loses, and…

…Ghana wins. They need to move the GD by three to pass the US. If they win by one and we lose by one, we'd go on head-to-head. So, they need to win by two, or have us lose by two. This is the riskiest combo for the US. I'd also think it's the least likely, but if you told me that Portugal would drop 4 to Germany and tie the US before the start of group matches, I'd have looked at you funny. And Ghana did tie Germany.

..Portugal wins. They need lots of goals to pass the US. Right now, the US is +1, they're -4 -- so they need Germany to beat the US badly *and* to beat Ghana badly.

So, the US is still in a very strong position. It's practically impossible to knock Germany out -- they would need to lose to the US and have the Portugal-Ghana game become a complete slaughter. Ghana and Portugal can do no more than tie the US, and we've currently got the goal difference.

The important thing is this isn't win-and-go-home for Germany. A tie is more than fine for them.
posted by eriko at 5:11 PM on June 22 [21 favorites]


This has been a ridiculous World Cup so far - definitely an attacker's World Cup.

I'm keeping an eye on the total amount of goals and we're at 94 goals with half of all the matches (32) played. That's 2.94 goals per match.
The record is the world cup in France 1998 with 171 goals total or 2.67 per match.

Exciting!
posted by bigendian at 5:11 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


USA wins 2-2
posted by shothotbot at 5:11 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


So, what does the mean for America? Are they going to make it to the next stage?

The US and Germany are on 4 point. Ghana and Portugal are on 1 point each.

So, if the US beat Germany, they win the group with 7 points.

If the US and Germany tie, they both go through with 5 points each - Portgual and Ghana can only have 4 points now, if one of them wins their game.

If Ghana beat Portugal, I think it's goal difference, then goals scored, and then win record.

If Portugal beat Ghana, the US will go through on goal difference unless there's a rout, because Portugal shipped four goals in their opening match against Germany.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:12 PM on June 22


By the way, the tie breakers.

1) Total Goal Difference (Goals you scored - Goals you gave up.)
2) Total Goals scored.
3) Head-to-head, by points.
4) Head-to-head, by Goal Difference
5) Head-to-head, by Goals Scored
6) Draw lots.

The head to heads basically mean "throw away games/goals from the teams that aren't tied." It's written that way because three way/four way ties are possible.
posted by eriko at 5:20 PM on June 22


Oh, sorry, eriko - should have previewed.

The other thing is that the group winner, at least theoretically, gets a slightly easier draw, because against the second-placed team in Group H - that is, Algeria, South Korea or Russia, none of whom are great footballing nations. The runner-up will play Belgium, assuming Belgium doesn't lose to Korea with Algeria also tonking Russia. The US can only win the group by beating Germany, now.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:21 PM on June 22


I think this game sold a lot of Americans on soccer.

(And did anyone else catch that sign in the crowd with Grumpy Cat and "CristiaNOPE?"
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:21 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Dear fellow mefites. Is anyone seriously believing the USA might fetch the trophy?
I'm neither snarking nor trolling, just curious: how far you guys think your team will go?
thx for asking, i say quarterfinals.
posted by The Dot at 5:21 PM on June 22


How teams can advance to the next round
posted by triggerfinger at 5:21 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I think the USA has a better chance than Spain or England which makes me happy.
posted by Justinian at 5:22 PM on June 22 [11 favorites]


Yeah if this World Cup can't make soccer fans (and I'm not just talking about USA matches) out of Americans I don't know what will.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:23 PM on June 22


Dear fellow mefites. Is anyone seriously believing the USA might fetch the trophy?


I'd be surprised if anyone did. Getting out of group is generally considered a good showing by us.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:23 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


> Dear fellow mefites. Is anyone seriously believing the USA might fetch the trophy?

You can always find somebody optimistic enough to believe something like that.
posted by ardgedee at 5:24 PM on June 22


Dear fellow mefites. Is anyone seriously believing the USA might fetch the trophy?

No - but then, only about four countries have a realistic expectation (rather than hope) of winning.

Belgium is winnable, though. And then... Argentina in the quarter-finals? I'd say that would be a good run.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:26 PM on June 22


You seem really desperate to discuss whether the US will win the trophy, The Dot. Right now, I think most of us are just focused on watching entertaining soccer and hoping that the US advances. I don't think that anyone but you is currently thinking about whether the US can win the whole thing. It's never really been on the table.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:26 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


Yeah, this has been a genuinely really exciting World Cup, even if--maybe especially if--you have no investment in any particular team. Lots of upsets, lots of last minute comebacks. If this many exciting games don't make soccer fans out of the previously ambivalent, I don't know what will.
posted by yasaman at 5:27 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I'm amazed at how young so many of the U.S. players are. It's impressive they managed to keep up with Portugal.
posted by needled at 5:28 PM on June 22


> Ok I hate Ronaldo as much as anyone but that man is UNREALISTICALLY handsome

Flagged as "what are you talking about, those eyebrows are ridiculous"
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:29 PM on June 22 [5 favorites]


It's possible that the USA could win the World Cup. Unlikely - Brazil or Argentina are far more likely - but possible. There is recent form for a completely unfancied country to win a major international football tournament. Not just once.

Believe, America. You invented airplanes, then put a man on the moon less than 70 years later.

Believe.
posted by Wordshore at 5:34 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


I will be thrilled with a win in the round of 16. Dempsey walking off the pitch with the black eye probably has 500,000 kids asking to sign up to play soccer next season.
posted by cmfletcher at 5:35 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


At least it's quiet now...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:38 PM on June 22


It's going to be interesting to see what Jurgi does for Germany. This was a good setup for Portugal, and he's going to need to clog the midfield again to deal with Özil, Müller and Götze, but Germany is going to be way more effective up the wings than Portugal. Germany is vulnerable at the back because (and I say this as a loyal Arsenal fan who adores our Germans) but Mertesacker did not have his best game against Ghana. It's weird seeing Lahm in midfield.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:38 PM on June 22


I thought we weren't allowed to liveblog matches?
posted by marienbad at 5:39 PM on June 22


This isn't FanFare.
posted by ardgedee at 5:41 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


It's possible that the USA could win the World Cup. Unlikely - Brazil or Argentina are far more likely - but possible. There is recent form for a completely unfancied country to win a major international football tournament. Not just once.

Though you must admit one of those required ability to park the bus, which is not exactly something the US executed well tonight. (I'm not actually old enough to really remember Euro 92. But winning a tournament you didn't actually qualify for has to be a record.)

I thought we weren't allowed to liveblog matches?

Dunno, that was pretty obviously the pretext for this post, so unless someone was asleep while modding...
posted by hoyland at 5:42 PM on June 22


arbitrary: you have to be kidding. Kudos to the US team though for their bravery, it's an essential part of what makes america so strong. not all is in the head, nevertheless an essential part is. Just take a look at the germans, (not this year's team). At times they
had a basically weak team, compensated thru sheer will to win they made it to the semis. teutonic!
posted by The Dot at 5:45 PM on June 22


Nate Silver just tweeted that the U.S. has a 76% chance of advancing.

I don't know enough about how he does his predictions to say whether anyone should put stock in them. I will say, however, that his prediction for this match (basically 1/3 possibility of each outcome) seems much closer to what I just saw on the field than the betting markets which overwhelmingly favored Portugal.
posted by Area Man at 5:49 PM on June 22


arbitrary: you have to be kidding.
Kidding about what? About the fact that most American fans are not focused on winning the whole thing and instead are just enjoying the ride? No, I'm serious about that.
Nate Silver just tweeted that the U.S. has a 76% chance of advancing.
Oh, interesting. Is he predicting all the matches? I'm totally curious to know how Nate Silver would do with soccer.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:50 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


arbitrary: sorry, i only read "desperate" & my whatthefuckometer already crashed.
I sympathise with your sentiment & wish you a nice ride.
posted by The Dot at 5:57 PM on June 22


The 538 predictions change as the tournament progresses. Based on my recollections of his calculations before the first match, it seemed about on par with his calculations of the NCAA basketball tournament.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:58 PM on June 22


So yeah, I've been watching the cup here in Brazil and it's getting pretty crazy. Lots of goals and difficult matches. Even the smaller teams are playing well, Costa Rica being the greatest surprise.

(and we'll have a match in my city tomorrow, yay).


USA x Portugal was a great game, the same goes for Argelia x South Korea - Russia and Belgium was pretty disappointing, imo.

As for the chances of USA winning the cup, I say it's pretty low. From all the World Cups, only 8 nations won (Brazil five times, Italy four, Germany three, Argentina and Uruguay twice and England, France and Spain once) and, until last cup, no European team won outside Europe.

So if I had to predict something I would probably go for Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay or Germany. Other serious contenders would be Netherlands and France (who both played pretty well so far).
posted by florzinha at 5:58 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


It's possible that the USA could win the World Cup. Unlikely - Brazil or Argentina are far more likely - but possible. There is recent form for a completely unfancied country to win a major international football tournament. Not just once.

As hoyland says, Greece won by being very, very hard to break down. If the US can't defend a lead against a middling Portuguese side, I don't think they could confidently shut down against Argentina or Brazil. Greece won the quarter final, semi-final and final 1-0.

And Denmark were a surprise, but they did have probably the best goalkeeper in the world and a second striker in Brian Laudrup who could set a corpse up to score. I'm not sure the US has had a player like Laudrup in its entire history, much less in the current team.

Right now, assuming they finish second and the form book is roughly followed, they would play Belgium in the second round (winnable), Argentina in the quarters (Argentina have self-destructed before, but...) and The Netherlands in the semis and probably Brazil in the final.

It's statistically possible that the US could win all three of those games, but very, very unlikely.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:59 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Kudos to the US team though for their bravery, it's an essential part of what makes america so strong.

Yes, because other teams are so cowardly and weak. Their national morale is to blame for this. Cowards and chickens. Holy shit are you offensive.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 6:11 PM on June 22 [5 favorites]


NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS.
posted by Justinian at 6:12 PM on June 22 [6 favorites]


The Dot: As for Americans' hopes for the USA team winning the trophy, I think that's not on fans' minds as much as you'd think. We're a country of divided loyalties on international soccer/football, and you can easily find fans of other nations, who have never set foot in those countries but can none the less tell you all about their teams.

Many cities have fan clubs hosting Premier League and Bundesliga viewing parties on Saturdays to watch their favorite teams at the local bar with the international sports channel satellite feeds. People who love soccer here are awfully catholic regarding where to cast their allegiances.

So if there's a collective agreement, it's that we're on for the ride with Team USA from game to game, and we're happy enough with every good showing and even happier if they survive to play again another day. And beyond that, there's not much all-in for the USA as much as a general willingness to root for USA and pick any side for arbitrary or sentimental reasons of their own, rooting for that team to go all the way.

After all, back when the groupings were announced, USA was declared to be on the wrong side of the Group of Death, practice scrubs to keep Germany and Portugal in condition while they prepare themselves for the round of 16. Nobody at the time would have predicted the group rankings to look like they do now.
posted by ardgedee at 6:12 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Both Brazil and Germany have tied games they really ought to have won, and Argentina just barely escaped a tie against Iran. Iran! Of course it's unlikely for the US to win, but the top 5 or so don't actually seem to be on some whole other level, they seem very mortal.
posted by dimejubes at 6:15 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I think the U.S. plays for respect, not because they think they can win the tournament.
posted by Area Man at 6:21 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Though you must admit one of those required ability to park the bus, which is not exactly something the US executed well tonight.

Note that the playing conditions were absolutely horrible, and many of the US players were out of gas. I'm honestly surprised there wasn't more puking happening. But yeah, letting through one that late isn't good.

No, I don't expect them to win. I expected the US to improve, and so far -- by beating the team that sent us out of the last two world cups and tying a much higher ranked team, we have shown that we have improved.

And, hey, how about CONCACAF? USA 1-1-0, likely to advance. Costa Rica 2-0-0, will advance. Mexico 1-1-0, likely to advance, and tied the team favored to win it all. Honduras…well, 0-0-2.

Still -- 14 points out of 24 possible. Looks like this part of the world has learned something about this game.

Right now, assuming they finish second and the form book is roughly followed, they would play Belgium in the second round (winnable), Argentina in the quarters (Argentina have self-destructed before, but...) and The Netherlands in the semis and probably Brazil in the final

Belgium looks like crap and is walking by in the easiest group in the draw. Argentina looks like crap, and almost lost to Iran. They also have an easy group. We could win those games. That would put us in the Semifinals, which would be the best result we've had in a long time. Really, forever, if you discard that 1930 outlier.

Netherlands? Yeah, it would take seven miracles for us to beat them.

We still have to get out of the group stage, though. It's not certain that we will. It's likely, but it's not certain. And supposedly better teams, like England and Spain, haven't made it.
posted by eriko at 6:22 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Netherlands? Yeah, it would take seven miracles for us to beat them.

They also had a tight one against Australia, the lowest ranked (?) team in the tournament. Lower than Iran, at least.
posted by dimejubes at 6:25 PM on June 22


Both Brazil and Germany have tied games they really ought to have won, and Argentina just barely escaped a tie against Iran. Iran! Of course it's unlikely for the US to win, but the top 5 or so don't actually seem to be on some whole other level, they seem very mortal.

It's certainly a pretty open World Cup so far, but the occasional upset or narrow escape isn't all that surprising - that's how the group stages go, as teams feel each other out and get used to playing together after league football. And there's usually one big shock exit - this time, it was Spain, with England less of a surprise.

I agree that a game against Belgium is entirely winnable, and Argentina are not the force they have been, although I think they will improve. But I think a semi-final place for the US would be an incredible, phenomenally praiseworthy achievement.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:28 PM on June 22


Oh, and to those dissing the MLS, that final US goal was set up by a Sounders defender finding the, um, manly parts of the Sounders' main striker.

And the guy whose defensive botches led to the two Portugal goals? Geoff Cameron, who plays in that lesser league called the EPL.
posted by dw at 6:30 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I don't want to talk about the US chances in the later rounds. I just want them to get out of the group stage first.
posted by dw at 6:31 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Both Brazil and Germany have tied games they really ought to have won...

I'm not sure why people say that about the Brazil-Mexico game. In the last 13 times, Brazil-Mexico have gone against each other, Mexico has won 7 times, Brazil 4.

Mexico may not win the World Cup but it knows how to handle Brazil. Because of wildly different playing styles, soccer matches are not commutative. If A beats B and B beats C, it still may happen that C justly beats A.
posted by vacapinta at 6:42 PM on June 22 [9 favorites]


It's certainly a pretty open World Cup so far, but the occasional upset or narrow escape isn't all that surprising - that's how the group stages go, as teams feel each other out and get used to playing together after league football. And there's usually one big shock exit - this time, it was Spain, with England less of a surprise.

I suppose my take was that since it's happening to all the big teams except France it could no longer be called occasional, but perhaps my standard world cup model perceptions are off. I was also going to say something about the assumption that all those teams will suddenly kick into high gear and leave the peons in the dust, but I figured those sorts of assumptions are the ones that make people nervous to make. I'm not personally pulling for the US, but Cinderella stories are pretty common to go to the semis, and I'd like US fans to feel that...
posted by dimejubes at 6:46 PM on June 22


Soccer is the third most participated sport in the US and with the recent media coverage about concussions it should distance US football.

I lived a few years back in Seattle and the Sounders fans are quite motivated. I don't know if that's because of not US football or because they are having fun but it seems to have ignited.

I'd say another eight years and US soccer is middle of the pack.
posted by vapidave at 6:48 PM on June 22


madajb, your local Spanish channel should show World Cup games, especially American ones. That's how I watched tonight's since I don't have cable. Of course, the commentary was in Spanish, so I had to turn to metafilter to find out what was going on.
posted by nooneyouknow at 6:50 PM on June 22


538, having incorporated the latest result into its projections, gives the USA a 75% chance of advancing.
posted by yoink at 6:55 PM on June 22


Soccer is the third most participated sport in the US...


And has been for a while now. That hasn't translated into eyeballs so far.

The weird thing is that hockey, which is soccer's next sport to overtake, has solved problems that still plague soccer. The additional ref catches stuff that the primary one doesn't, and the blue lines mean that offsides are pretty damn clear.

Yes, yes, I know. They had those two games a century ago.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:56 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Going into the Cup, Michael Bradley was being hailed as the best player on this team. Now he's the goat for one draw, and nearly the goat for another. You really have to think he'll step it up, because he's not impressing anybody the way he's playing right now.
posted by enjoymoreradio at 7:37 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


I'm not personally pulling for the US, but Cinderella stories are pretty common to go to the semis, and I'd like US fans to feel that...

That's a good point; Uruguay were something of a surprise in 2010 for the semis - although I think a decent all-round squad with one one world-class (like Luis Suarez) and a few really good players has a better chance of keeping it tight and then relying on moments of magic. Like Bulgaria got to the semis at USA 94 basically thanks to Hristo Stoichkov and Yordan Letchkov, and Croatia in 1998 with Davor Suker and Robert Prosinecki, if memory serves. But South Korea (home team advantage, penalty shoot-out), and Turkey (solid team, Tugay Kerimoglu in his prime, golden goal in the quarter-finals) were surprises in 2002...

That said, I think all of those teams, except South Korea, were on paper significantly better than the USA. Then again, on paper so was Portugal and probably Ghana. So...
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:55 PM on June 22


"Interestingly enough, with the exception of the Dutch Freedom Oven, the only terms with Dutch in them are either insults inherited from English forefathers or mispronunciations of Deutch."

Blind date with a chancer, we had oysters and dry lances
And the check when it arrived, we went dutch dutch dutch


American culture frowns on faking injuries and diving.

Flops are a thing in the NBA now. They fine the players for them.

And diving is loved by certain members of the stock world.
posted by juiceCake at 9:15 PM on June 22


Dutch doors aren't an insult.
posted by aubilenon at 9:44 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Flops are a thing in the NBA now. They fine the players for them.

There is a difference between flopping and pretending injury and that is a yellow card. No equivalent in the NBA.
posted by vapidave at 9:44 PM on June 22


I'm surprised no has talked about Chile. They handled both Australia and Spain relatively easily. I think they could beat the Neatherlands, and I wouldn't be surprised for them to take the whole thing. I think the noon game tomorrow will be fantastic. I'm rooting for the US mind you, but just surprised people seem to be underestimating Chile.

I'd also add, the noon game on Tuesday should be good too, as both Italy and Uruguay are playing for thier lives.

It does hurt a little to have to root for Beckerman, Dempsey, and Yedlin though. RCTID!
posted by herda05 at 9:53 PM on June 22


The United States has never been very successful in World Cup soccer (football), but it has come close.

You left out the word "men's." The U.S. women have been quite successful.


Which is, let us always remember, a pretty direct result of the success of Title IX.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:03 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I think the game between Netherlands and Chile today is gonna tell us a lot about the future. Or not, of course.
I was surprised at how USA somehow managed to have a lot of very good players and simultaneously not very good team-play, or at least a lot of botched set ups and combinations. I was also struck with how often they got the ball creditably in front of the goal, but just couldn't get the damn thing in.
I hated the last four seconds of that match, that was a tough tough tough goal
posted by From Bklyn at 11:14 PM on June 22


benito.strauss- Thanks, I'll have to look into that next time.
posted by madajb at 11:22 PM on June 22


nooneyouknow - Thanks, there isn't a broadcast Spanish station within antenna range of me.
Too bad, 'cause I saw heard some Portuguese coverage of today's match, and the announcers were much more entertaining than the typical US announcers.
Even if I couldn't understand a word.
posted by madajb at 11:29 PM on June 22


Netherlands and Chile today

No matter what though both of these teams advance right? They may choose to rest some players or at least play more defensively.
posted by rosswald at 11:33 PM on June 22


Harsh on the US, that result. Still likely to go through, which is great, particularly from thn perspective of someone whose national team didn't even make it to the end of the second game despite half of them labouring under the belief that they are actually world class players.

Any question as to whether there is any chance of winning the thing is missing the point. Only one team can win the World Cup. Only one team can win the Champions League or the Premier League or whatever, but it doesn't matter. Everyone dreams of the unexpected win, the cup upset, and sometimes it does happen. But what matters most is being there, competing, the unexpected giant killing and maybe progressing further than you ever dreamed you would.

I live in Sunderland, a hard-pressed city in a hard-pressed region. Once upon a time when the world was in black and white and newsreaders wore bow ties, Sunderland won the first division title six times, and at points were referred to as the 'team of all the talents' and 'the Bank of England team'. For most of the last fifty years, we've bounced around unimpressively between relegation and promotion, with the shining exception a stunning FA cup upset in 1973, when second division Sunderland beat then giants Leeds.

In 1992 though,despite being no great shakes, against all the odds we got through to the FA Cup final when that competition still meant something. Got beat by Liverpool, but I remember what happened after. The team did a tour of the city on an open-topped bus, and tens of thousands of people turned out to cheer them. The streets were thronged and I can remember it clearly now...the bus coming in the distance, and thousands of people singing as one:

We went, we lost
And we don't give a toss
We were there
We were theeeeere.

That's football. (Soccer/futbol/crotchball)

Good luck USA.
posted by reynir at 12:01 AM on June 23 [12 favorites]


Good Morning America, and how are you all feeling after yesterday's emotional rollercoaster? You managed to snatch, well, if not quite defeat it musty shurely have felt like it, from the hands of victory. Just maintain some possesion; get it to the corner flag, hoof it long - out of the park, feign injury - anything to kill the time down!

FOOTBALL - What is it like? Here is an anecdote for you:

I once dated a woman who had a 14 year old daughter, neither of whom had ever watched or had any interest in Football. The relationship was somewhat fractious and she wasn't an easy person to be with so it didn't last. She could also be antsy. So LFC are playing in the final of the Champions League (not Istanbul!!) My SO said she was supporting Milan, just because she really didn't care and knew it would wind me up - like I say, a difficult relationship. Her daughter said she would support LFC with me as otherwise it wasn't fair. So the game plays, me and my SO on one sofa, her daughter on the other. The game is exciting and makes for a good final, but in the end LFC lose. So my SO gets up and cheers and is all "in your face" and goes to the kitchen to make a coffee. So I sit on one sofa, her daughter lies on the other, and there we are, silent as the tv shows the images of celebration and sadness, and her daughter says: "It makes you feel like crying." And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Football.
posted by marienbad at 12:56 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Guardian Match Report
posted by marienbad at 1:02 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


Well, that was exciting.

Going into the final round of games, it seems clear that in the heat and humidity, basically every defense wilts. Switzerland conceded 2 goals throughout qualifying, then dropped 5 to a rampant France in one game. Spain, who sailed through to these finals, got crushed. The Netherlands have won their two matches by the odd goal. Pretty much every defense has big problems.

Germany's big problem is that once someone gets past Phillipe Lahm, their center is slow and their fullbacks have already pushed up in anticipation. Dempsey and Wondolowski / Johannsen can run at Mertesacker all day. They're vulnerable, much more so than people are saying, and Gyan / Ayew made their lives very difficult.

The U.S. has a legitimately winnable game in front of them, if they're willing to not be cowed and if Cameron gets the rust off. Everyone is beatable in this tournament; Iran almost beat Argentina. Hydrate and get ready, it's going to be fun.

By the way, Mexico - Croatia is going to be one of the best games of the tournament. Watch it if you can.
posted by Errant at 1:22 AM on June 23


Did anyone see that ludicrous display last night?
posted by chavenet at 1:31 AM on June 23 [6 favorites]


Oh, and to those dissing the MLS, that final US goal was set up by a Sounders defender finding the, um, manly parts of the Sounders' main striker.

And the guy whose defensive botches led to the two Portugal goals? Geoff Cameron, who plays in that lesser league called the EPL.


I am *mega* curious to know exactly what conclusion you're drawing from these two premises.
posted by ominous_paws at 1:34 AM on June 23


"Good Morning America, and how are you all feeling after yesterday's emotional rollercoaster?"

Well first of all stop centering the fucking ball in front of our own net might be a policy. The first goal was the result of a miss but there were at least four others. I was ten and that was the first damn thing they taught me other than kick the ball thataway.

I think the US recovered well after that initial WTF though and mostly outplayed Portugal. The US maybe shot from too far out. I was impressed at the character, until, that last part. We were outplayed by Ghana and won, we outplayed Portugal and tied. I am hoping Altidore will be heathy because our attack on the left side was completely lacking though our attack on the right was great.

Second, me being an asshole, I'm feeling better than 53,010,000 people from England and 47,270,000 people from Spain.

So far.
posted by vapidave at 1:43 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Hydrate and get ready.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:25 AM on June 23


The Netherlands have won their two matches by the odd goal.

Against the Aussies, yes, but 5-1 is hardly the odd goal.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:49 AM on June 23 [3 favorites]


Did anyone see that ludicrous display last night?

The trouble with Portugal is that they always want to walk it in.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:34 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


The Netherlands have won their two matches by the odd goal.

Against the Aussies, yes, but 5-1 is hardly the odd goal.


And we played with decidedly ...odd refs the first two games and had to come back from a one goal lead on us. However, not looking forward to not having Robben tonight!
posted by digitalprimate at 6:06 AM on June 23


Nate Silver has the odds of US advancement at 76%.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:07 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


> I'm neither snarking nor trolling

If you find yourself repeatedly having to say that, you may want to rethink your commenting strategy. Hint: you're coming off like a jerk in this otherwise fun, celebratory thread.
posted by languagehat at 7:56 AM on June 23 [6 favorites]


And the guy whose defensive botches led to the two Portugal goals? Geoff Cameron, who plays in that lesser league called the EPL.

Most of Spain's players player for Barca or Real, and apart from that, most of the players at the Tournament play in the EPL
posted by marienbad at 8:55 AM on June 23


However, not looking forward to not having Robben tonight!

? Robben is playing, do you mean Robin van Persie ?
posted by Pendragon at 9:12 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


The Netherlands have won their two matches by the odd goal.

I have no idea why I said the Netherlands here. I meant Belgium. Sorry about that.
posted by Errant at 9:52 AM on June 23


I have no idea why I said the Netherlands here. I meant Belgium. Sorry about that.


#NotAllFlems
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:11 AM on June 23 [6 favorites]


Another good breakdown of the various ways in which the US could advance.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:02 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


USA-Portugal was most watched soccer game in American history
posted by zakur at 1:57 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


From zakur's link:

USA-Portugal was the most watched non-football telecast in ESPN history.
posted by shothotbot at 2:08 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


#NotAllFlems

Tipsy posting, kids: it reveals your very American grasp of geography.
posted by Errant at 2:47 PM on June 23


Of the 26 teams still in, the UK-based or oriented bookmakers have 5 teams as strong favorites: Brazil, Germany, Argentina, France and the Netherlands, in that order.

The USA is ranked around 14th, with odds of between 80/1 and 100/1 to win the World Cup outright. The longest odds for a team still in the competition are for Honduras, where you can get between 400/1 and 10,000/1.
posted by Wordshore at 3:42 PM on June 23


? Robben is playing, do you mean Robin van Persie ?

No, they're referring to midfielder Arjen Robben, who's making a sting bid for best player in the tournament. RVP made the goal of the tourney, but Robben put that ball there, and he's been instrumental in pretty much all of their goals.
posted by eriko at 4:48 PM on June 23


I'm neither snarking nor trolling.

Personally I don't mind snarking or trolling in sports threads. Languagehat being apoplectic is almost fun to see.

Ronaldo was given that name because his dad was a fan of Ronald Reagan.

That makes me apoplectic.

Making it through to the quarters would be a victory. Ask anyone from England or Spain.
posted by vapidave at 12:03 AM on June 24 [2 favorites]


RVP made the goal of the tourney, but Robben put that ball there, and he's been instrumental in pretty much all of their goals.

Er, no, that awesome cross was by Daley Blind, although Robben has been excellent.
posted by marienbad at 2:34 AM on June 24


I swear to God, if I see another person tweet, "Did you see that ludicrous display last night?" I'm going to murder someone.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:15 AM on June 24


No, they're referring to midfielder Arjen Robben, who's making a sting bid for best player in the tournament. RVP made the goal of the tourney, but Robben put that ball there, and he's been instrumental in pretty much all of their goals.

I know who Arjen Robben is, I wanted to know what digitalprimate meant with: "However, not looking forward to not having Robben tonight!".

Robben was playing, RVP not because he had to yellow cards in previous games.
posted by Pendragon at 3:49 AM on June 24


And Robben did not give RVP the assist for his great goal, that was Daley Blind.
posted by Pendragon at 3:50 AM on June 24


And not Danny Blind, as I thought for a weird, the-footballers-stay-young-forever second...
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:47 AM on June 24 [2 favorites]


Soccer super-fan falls from the window of Miami bar after U.S. gives up last-second goal
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:58 AM on June 24 [2 favorites]


The end of the Greece - Ivory Coast game was crazy. The ref handed it to Greece in the last 30 seconds with a really questionable call.
posted by Justinian at 2:54 PM on June 24


Yeah, that was a poor call.
posted by nubs at 3:07 PM on June 24


The way the Greek player hurled himself through the air and into the ground I expected it to be in slow motion with some kind of operatic aria blasting over the speakers.
posted by Justinian at 4:41 PM on June 24


Although in his defence he didn't try to eat anyone. The bar has really been raised for bad behavior.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:11 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


My office has announced the USA v. Germany game will be shown on a big screen TV in the break room. Productivity will suffer tomorrow.
posted by Area Man at 7:18 AM on June 25


I felt a cold coming on on Monday and I begged my immune system to fight it just long enough to leave me out sick on Thursday, but I fear it may have overshot and actually kept me well. Fortunately, I'm not above shutting the office door and just watching on my computer, but I'd rather do it at home where I scream a little louder.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:26 AM on June 25


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