Thursday, June 19, 2014

Is beating Ghana the measuring stick for USA success in World Cup soccer? Really?

So this is World Cup fever.

Beat we beat Ghana and everyone is suddenly going gaga over USA Soccer?\

Let me repeat: We beat Ghana. It’s not like the Red Sox saying they beat the Yankees.

Ghana. The Black Stars. Their chief rival is the Super Eagles of Nigeria. They didn’t qualify for the World Cup for the first time until 2006 and they haven’t been ranked higher than 14th in the FIBA world rankings.

And yet 11 million people tuned in on ESPN to watch the USA-Ghana World Cup match, the most ever viewers ever for a soccer event on the World Wide Leader in Sports.

Why? I didn’t even know USA Soccer had a bandwagon but now every Tom, Dick and Julio is jumping on it.

This country didn’t get excited about hockey in the Olympics until we beat Russia. Now that was something to get excited about because our young amateur American team in 1980 wasn’t expected to beat the older, wiser, more experience and talented pro team comprised of Russians, our perennial Cold War rivals.

Should beating Ghana on the world stage create a similar “do-you-believe –in-miracles-let’s-chant-U-S-A-and-drape-ourselves-with-American-flags-and-paint-our-faces-red-and-white-and-blue!” vibe? 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m pumped. But, seriously, shouldn’t a team from the United States of America, the richest, most powerful nation on this planet, be expected to beat a team from Ghana, which is the size of Oregon that two years ago had one of the 10 worst economies in the world?
Sounds like a mismatch of epic proportions.

Yes, I know Ghana has beaten the USA the last two World Cups so there was a ton of frustration pent up in America about that. But is Ghana really the measuring stick for the success of soccer in this country?

Beat Portugal. Beat Germany. That’s more like it.


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