by The Opportunity Agenda, Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 01:24:51 PM EDT
Farewell World Cup.
You will be sorely missed, although as as European I only have to wait two years instead of four to see my national team, Engalnd, once again spectacularly fail to deliver. Congratulations Spain, and moreover, congratulations to the many immigrants who put in jaw-dropping performances for their adopted countries, despite - in many instances - anti-immigrant rhetoric stirring political waters back home.
To name but a few: Jozy Altidore, born in Haiti, and Jose Torres, born in Mexico, both wore Team USA colors; Gael Fernandes, born in Cape Verde, scored a gamewinner for eventual champions Spain; and even the North Koreans fielded players born in South Korea and Japan.
by Zachary Karabell, Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 07:42:44 AM EDT
Cross-posted at River Twice Research.
So the United States lost to Brazil in the final of the FIFA Confederations cup, in that thrilling but painful tale of two halves, with the U.S. up 2-0 only to see Brazil roar back (or rather dance and prance and glide with balletic ferocity) and win 3-2. All I can say is, thank god.
For the past sixty years, the powerhouses of international soccer (a.k.a. football) either have been empires past their prime and on the decline or countries that dream fruitlessly of empire - England, France, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, and Spain. To bestride the world as a soccer power is to not bestride it as an economic or military power. In its period of global hegemony, the United States was manifestly not a global powerhouse in soccer. It was mighty in everything but the sport that is played by more people in every corner of the world than any other. And so if the United States had magically defied the odds and the gods and beaten Brazil, it would have been the final sign that American is indeed in decline.