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1. I do not want to have to care about Ghana this much ever again in my life. However, that’s sort of the beauty of the World Cup: fresh national hate. I like talking shit about Russia as much as the next freedom loving, “Rocky IV” and “Red Dawn” watching American, but in the spirit of the melting pot that is the United States, I prefer my hatred to be diverse, my discrimination to be non-discriminatory. Besides, we Americans still get some classic, rival hate when we play Germany later in the group stage. Those World War jokes are going to be super fun to make right up until the Germans start treating us like they did most of Europe during the actual World Wars. As fun as it is to say, “Haha, my grandfather quite literally may have had a hand in the death of your relatives,” I think I’m going to hit the Krauts from the weird, androgynous sex dungeon night clubs and near dogmatic adherence to order angles. Many “Sprockets” clips will be tweeted. That said, I better see a lot of Back To Back World War Champs gear in the crowd.
2. If you don’t like soccer, that’s totally fine, but understand that it’s actually pretty annoying to spend your time bitching about how soccer sucks or proudly proclaiming that you don’t like it during the World Cup. You know the one asshole at the Super Bowl party who’s always like, “Sports aren’t that big of a deal to me. I don’t like them and, like, never watch them,” and then they gleefully revel in the fact that they don’t know who Peyton Manning is while the rest of the room wants to drown them in the scalding hot bowl of buffalo chicken dip? That’s you. You’re being that person. Don’t be that person.
The biggest reason most Americans don’t like soccer is because the MLS isn’t the best league in the world (though it’s getting better) and we’ve never had a top tier league. If the U.S. were home to an EPL or La Liga type league, Americans would enjoy–and more importantly, respect–soccer at least as much as hockey. Probably more. That’s at least 50 percent of the reason I can only get interested in Team USA (the other half being because neither my hometown, St. Louis, or my current city, Austin, have MLS teams). We Americans are all fair-weather assholes. Even if our sports teams suck, we still take some subconscious comfort in the fact that they’re sucking at the highest level.
Yes, soccer players taking dives and writhing in faux pain is annoying and laughable. I hate it just as much as people who think soccer sucks. Maybe more. However, that doesn’t mean a bunch of pussies play soccer–go tell that to some Cockney hooligan. I’ll have gauze ready for your broken bottle stab wound. I doubt the NBA’s popularity is going to wane as more and more players flail cartoonishly after phantom elbows to the face. That’s just the type of shit that happens at the highest level of play. People will take any advantage they possibly can. Diving just happens to be a big way to take an advantage in soccer. I’ve seen college football and NFL players feign an injury and call for trainers when their defense was getting helplessly steamrolled on a drive by a hurry up offense, just to stop the other team’s momentum. I think that’s called a dive.
3. If any American players dive egregiously, I will absolutely scream at them for acting like a pussy.*
*Unless it results in something awesome.
4. We’re definitely making it out of the group stage, which is something I thought even before Portugal got destroyed today. We’re going to beat Ghana and take the revenge we never should have needed. We’re going to at least tie Portugal. Germany won’t blow us out like it did Portugal, because we’re better than Portugal (fuck FIFA rankings), smarter (thank you, Pepe), and Klinsmann knows this German team well enough to keep us closer. Also, Germany will have the group sealed up by the third game and likely take its foot off the gas, unless Germany beats Ghana 4-0 as well, in which case the German’s inert desire for–and so intense it’s practically sexual appreciation of–symmetry will force Germany to defeat the U.S. 4-0, too.
5. I really hope FIFA strips Qatar of the 2022 World Cup and gives it to the U.S. I need to cross attending the World Cup off of my sports bucket list, and going to Russia in 2018 seems like the worst vacation ever. Drinking straight vodka and avoiding packs of feral dogs while every morning dump I take is monitored by a team of intelligence officers is not my idea of a fun vacation. Also, you know, the whole Qatar is killing thousands of migrant construction workers thanks to horrific living and working conditions thing. That too.
6. Making all the foreign fans drink Budweiser in the stadiums is a total American power move.*
*I’m aware A-B isn’t an American company anymore. I don’t give a shit. If a bald eagle lives in Canada it’s still a damn bald eagle.
7. Rooting for America is just the best.
8. Seriously, if we lose to Ghana again, economic sanctions and a tomahawk strike on all its soccer stadiums are in order.