116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Friday, June 16, 2006

World Cup BS

Everyone is a critic these days. When I first read Eddie Johnson's ill-advised and insensitive comparison of the World Cup to war, I kind of laughed and shook my head, recognizing full well that EJ is often given to that sort of hyperbole. Then the press corps ran with the "story," and the next thing I know, Vincenzo Iaquinta (does he even start for Italy?) is all indignant about it, promising to give "war" right back to the Americans. Alberto Gilardino, to his credit, seemed willing to downplay the "controversy," probably because it was the first time he had ever even heard the name Eddie Johnson in his life. The mainstream outlets seem to have enough reserved indignation about this whole thing, but I wonder why no one is on record praising EJ for his comments?
Has everyone already forgotten the USA-Czech game? I, for one, welcome a little ill-advised war comparison, if it instills any kind of aggressive mentality in the neutered U.S. team. Geopolitical sensitivity never won anyone a soccer game, but some old-fashioned aggression never hurt anyone. Since the USA lacks a Roy Keane figure (when, oh when, will we find our own Keano?), we'll have to make do with what we can, which, in this case, has to be Eddie Johnson saying stupid $#!+.
The real issue, as I see it, is that we have now entered into the dog days of the World Cup, the second week of games, by which time the new-car shine of the opening of the tournament has worn off. The groups have already become less interesting, there haven't been enough true upsets to sustain the momentum of the openers, the groups are already being decided as I type this, and the spectacle of the knockout rounds has yet to begin, leaving the press corps with little to do but bitch and moan. Ronaldo is too fat (we knew that going in), Michael Owen is not fit (ditto), England is winning boring (you thought Frank Lampard and Diego Maradona were one and the same?), Jurgen Klinsmann thinks he's American (and the Americans suck!), Zizou and Henry can't play together (but how do you split them up?). The problem isn't with Eddie Johnson, it's that the press is just as bad when it comes to extreme commenary. But nevermind that; the game is just as beautiful and unpredictable as always, and we'd all do better to enjoy this World Cup, because it has been outstanding. So next time you hear some pundit going on and on about how stupid Sven Goran Eriksson is, for whatever he did this time, do what we here on 116th street do; laugh, give a shake of the head, and know full well that columnists are given to that sort of hyperbole.


Anonymous Matt said...

Johnson's comment was a little over-the-top and slightly boneheaded, but this team seems so lacking in cojones and vocal leadersship that I don't have much of a problem with it. I'm glad that Gilardino has taken it in stride rather than blowing it up into more than it really is. A draw would be a huge acheievement IMO. Here's hoping the boys show some fight tomorrow.

5:18 PM  

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