Sunday, June 27, 2010

United States, Mexico, Kicked Out Of World Cup

Well, not literally, but both the United States and Mexico have been eliminated, respectively, from the FIFA World Cup.
Yesterday, Ghana defeated the United States, 2-1 in extra time, aka overtime, and it did not take long for Asamoah Gyan to score the winning goal. In fact it occurred in the third minute of the first extra time.
Although it was a bad day for the United States in losing to Ghana, it was a success in television ratings. And yes, it did momentarily give soccer a boost in the United States. But it will be short-lived not because of some silly right-left divide. But because soccer has a lot of structural problems built in that make it a distant fifth most popular sport in North America.
Speaking of North America, the Mexican team was eliminated today by powerhouse Argentina, 3-1 and now there is no North American team in the World Cup.
It appears that those rooting for the United States and or Mexico can now become free agents and root for the favorite Brazilians. Or whoever ends up playing Brazil. I, for one, will go with the underdog and whoever plays Brazil.
While this appearance by the United States was better than last performance in 2006, again it will do nothing to make soccer the sport its boosters want it to be in the United States. Or Canada for that matter.
The most exciting fact is where the matches are being held. In South Africa. Within a little over a decade when Nelson Mandela was elected president and apartheid was eliminated, this is a chance for a desegregated South Africa to shine. And it has. And that maybe the real story of this edition of the FIFA World Cup.

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