World Cup 2010: Part 2

The excitement of the World Cup has started.  Okay.  In actuality, Americans for the most part just don’t care, and they won’t unless America makes it into the last few rounds.  At that point, Americans will care only as long as the US squad remains in the tournament.  For the rest of the world, World Cup fever has been burning for quite some time.  England has been looking forward to it since the end of Premier League play and probably longer.  It wasn’t until this week that the American ambassador in London got in on it though.  I think Dave Barry can explain those sentiments much more accurately and humorously than I can.  America’s uncaring attitude is probably the biggest obstacle there is to the World Cup being held in the United States in either 2018 or 2022.  (The US has bids in for both tournaments, and FIFA – Federation Internationale de Football Association – will announce its decision for both contests on December 2 of this year.)  Then again, the US hosted World Cup and Women’s World Cup of 1994 and 1995, respectively, set FIFA records for attendance and revenue, so America hosting the games again soon may not be out of the question.

I seem to have digressed severely from what I had intended to say, which is that the games have started in exhilarating fashion for the US team – namely, a 1-1 tie against England’s Three Lions.  Isn’t that a great nickname?  Three Lions.  Of course, they are so named because the crest of the national team is the crest of Richard I.  Some of the other great names of teams in the tournament are Australia’s Socceroos and Greece’s To Piratiko (The Pirate Ship).  Host South Africa’s team is called Bafana Bafana, meaning The Boys.  The US team’s last match in group play will be against Algeria’s Les Fennecs or The Desert Foxes.  And who will they be facing?  USA’s MNT.  That stands for Men’s National Team.  Granted, Germany’s team is known as National Mannschaft or National Team, so we aren’t the only ones with a bad nickname.  I suppose it could be worse though.  A British commentator referred to the team as The Minnows on ESPN this week.  There’s another argument that the US doesn’t have enough soccer history or commonality among its land and people to have a good nickname, which may well be true.  With any luck though, we’ll someday be known as the Lion Slayers.  In the mean time, I suppose we won’t be looking forward to a beer summit in London this year, but at least the British ambassador won’t be treated to his rare steak!

Game on!

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