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Soccer: The Difference June 22, 2006

Posted by gordonwatts in life.
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The United States lost to Ghana today, and we were eliminated from the World Cup. I think over three games in our group we scored a single goal (Italy scored an own goal to help us out). I’m not sure of our ranking, but it has to be close to dead-last. I suspect this will pass with little notice here in the US.

On the other hand, Ghana is a bit different. This is the first time Ghana has appeared in the World Cup, but they are still totally into it:

Even when the US scored their only goal, one Ghanaian confidently strode over to a lonely table of American Peace Corps workers and shook their hands. Nothing to worry about, that goal, the Ghanaians beamed. Temporary setback. Even the Peace Corps workers were circumspect: “We support the US at home or away,” they smiled obligingly. When I asked if Claudio Reyna limping out of the game had them worried, one shrugged: “I really don’t know anything about soccer.” American, indeed.

After that it was a huge party. A friend told me the President of Ghana was at the game. And declared a national holiday so everyone could watch the game. Bermuda declared June 9th, when their team played, a holiday as well.

I can’t see how long the US will stay out of this. It is like the modern day Olympics. Remember when that was a cold-war thing? It is one of the few sports that one can compete on an international stage. And soccer fever is catching on here as the huge influx of immigrants – many of whom are soccer fanatics (though perhaps not of the US team… yet).

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