As of right now, this World Cup has had everything: hyped fans, teams that shocked everyone for good and bad reasons, players who performed bizarre acts, and bribed referees. This World Cup has once again proved that top countries fall and ‘low-performance’ countries can go far (Spain and Costa Rica); I am aware that many fans already know this, but I am talking to the “fans” who have been surprised by what they have seen so far. This event has also demonstrated why the United States still has a lot learn if they wish to advance beyond the knockout round.
Football, or soccer as it is called in the U.S.A. and in some parts of Canada, is a global sport which requires all players to have skills in ball handling, knowledge of the game, endurance and speed, and all-around talent. The interesting issue about football in the U.S.A. is that the Men’s team is the struggling team as opposed to the U.S.A. Women’s team. Since its start in 1991, the U.S. Women’s team have won two World Championships (1991 and 1999) and have come in second or in third place in the other previous tournaments. Please explain to me why people do not take female athletes seriously! At least their soccer team has won championships which is more than I can say for the Men’s team.
I have played the sport enough to see both the obvious and the discreet amongst the Men’s team. First of all, until several years ago, the ‘goal kick’ was taken by the defenders instead of the goalkeeper. Next, the Men’s team (and also teams at colleges and universities) believe that having players from nationally ranked teams will provide a winning team. Where do these coaches and sponsors get such theories? Just because one player was on a championship team does not mean that the one player did it on his own! Haven’t we learn anything from the events surrounding LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony? Also, just because an individual displays talent at a young age does not mean the same talent will be there in adulthood. Look at Neymar! He couldn’t even score in the quarterfinal before he got injured! Yes, there have been plenty of footballers who have been able to develop such talent as they got older (i.e. Messi, Pelé, Rooney, Ronaldo—all 16 years-old when they got signed to play professional football). However, the United States of America have yet to distinguish such talent in this sport. In addition, any player who immigrated from another country in order to play for the U.S.A. should be looked at more closely…Julian Green. Choose players with the talent and you might get closer to winning a championship title! Observe and learn from the Women’s team! Last, I hope everyone worldwide learned from Qatar. Bribing works. Look how many referees have been bribed! This issue was spoofed on a recent episode of The Simpsons. I’m not saying it is the right thing to do, but no true football fan should be surprised that it happens. Just saying…F.I.F.A. (the Fedération Internationale de Football Association) had better give the next host slot to the U.S.A.
Another key aspect of the sport of football and the event of the World Cup are the fans. Also known as hooligans, these fans make fans of hockey, basketball, baseball, and American football look like drunken idiots. So far, in the World Cup (2014), we have seen betting on whether or not Luis Suarez would bite someone during the tournament (which he did), porn stars offering long orgy sessions after their country wins a match, and fans abandoning ship (literally) as a form of celebration. Fans riot when they win and they riot more they lose, but the referees remain unscathed. There is one essential thing to understand about all football fans: there is a ‘code’ in which all fans follow. Hence, this is why most of the fighting takes place at the stadiums, the clubs, and the bars. Plus, people in these communities know which colors and/or jerseys can or cannot be worn during certain days. This is similar to rivalries found amongst the fans of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia! You do NOT wear the markings of the opposing team in their region unless you are trying to start a fight, or you are a fan cheering for the ‘Away’ team at the ‘Home’ team’s stadium. Several fans have also died from this form of devotion. A Chinese man died after five days of sleep deprivation because he wanted to watch the World Cup live (China is 11-12 hours ahead of Brazil). All of these fans display true and bizarre enthusiasm.
If the United States of America want to see their chances of winning in Men’s Soccer improve, then the denizens of the country have to get excited about it more than once every four years. Similar to how fans of Star Wars and video games always talk about them regardless of there being new movies or new games, there is always something to talk about. It is the same with football with news on players, leagues, and tournaments. Look at American football! There is an entire channel for the National Football League and the season is only five months long! The European and the Latino seasons are much longer!
For now, let us all enjoy the remainder of this enormous sporting event, and learn from all of the bizarre activities displayed on international television and the Internet. Keep the politicians out of the sport, form a team that consist of good, strong, and fast players, have a decent theme song, and be discreet about which countries and/or players the referees get to screw over, and make sure all of the citizens in the host country are willing to participate in the activities. Go Germany! Go Women’s U.S.A.!