I have to admit...I watched the USA World Cup soccer game yesterday. And I have to admit I was a little excited when Landon Donovan scored the game-winning goal in "stoppage time". The Cardiac Kickers avoid elimination--win their pool--and go on to the "knockout round" (can't soccer come up with more dramatic name for things like THE SUDDEN-DEATH ELIMINATION ROUND!!!)
FIFA may have actually found a way to get Americans passionate about soccer--keep trying to rob them of goals every game. The US wouldn't have even been in the desperate situation they found themselves yesterday if the referee in their game against Slovenia had not wiped out a game-winning goal with a mystery foul. Another goal yesterday was disallowed by a blown offsides call. Apparently, the Third World game features plenty of third-rate officials at its highest level.
Oh and before we get too carried away with our excitement here--this is still not in the same zip code as The Miracle on Ice in the rankings of important sports victories. Algeria should not have been within two goals of the US--we were heavy favorites in that game. And this was just to get our of pool play--not for the World Cup itself.
But nothing gets Americans fired up more than thinking that they are getting hosed. We would be outraged about the World Cup of Darts if we found out the British team was allowed to use illegal equipment or a game-winning double bullseye for the US was disallowed by a phantom foot foul.
My inner conspiracy theorist worries that all these exciting finishes are part of an evil plot to get Americans to embrace "Football" like the other European garbage that is becoming popular: cars the size of shoeboxes, men carrying purses and socialized medicine. Then I am comforted by the fact that no one will remember any of these games by July 30th--when Packers training camp opens.