I’m in a ranting mood today and want better target for rants than the World Cup? As I explained before the tournament began, I’m not a soccer guy and never will be. I hope the US Men’s National Team does well every four years but I’m not wearing a team jersey, attending a watch party or setting my schedule around a game.
What I’ve observed, especially this past week, is nothing short of absurd. First of all, we have a player from Uruguay who bites another player and gets a rather pathetic suspension. I’ll say this for the governing body of international soccer FIFA, they do a hell of a lot better job of handing out suspensions than the leader of American Football does that’s for damn sure.
Still, we have a player in Luis Suarez who has a history of biting and using racial slurs aimed at opponents and he is only suspended for a total of nine matches and is banned for four months. Wow, you sure showed him FIFA! Enjoy the break Luis!
To make matters worse, upon his arrival home to the capital city of Montevideo, Suarez was given a hero’s welcome by thousands of fans. Is this what we are headed for in the US? I guess if Mike Trout bites a first baseman while rounding the bags after a homer the fans in LA will throw a party for him when he returns for his suspension.
I could rant on the pathetic suspension but I need to move on to something even more disturbing.
The United States finished group play with a record of 1-1-1 and they have qualified for the ‘knockout’ stage which means one and done. They qualified despite a 1-0 loss to Germany yesterday. The reason they advance ahead of Ghana and Portugal is because of ‘goal differential.’ Portugal lost to the Germans by four goals while the US lost by just one. Therefore, the US Team advances.
My first question is what’s with the ties? This is the greatest soccer tournament in the world and we settle for ties? If these are the s-called greatest athletes in the world then why in the hell aren’t they playing until someone breaks through with a goal?
First of all, soccer players may be the most conditioned athletes in the world but they aren’t the ‘best’ athletes in the world. In my book that belongs to hockey players. Try doing what they do on your feet then switch over to doing it on what amounts to razor blades for 60 minutes. I understand that in hockey’s regular season, they have shootouts after a brief OT period but in the playoffs? Uh-uh. They play until someone actually wins.
When the World Cup’s knockout stage begins, if the team’s are tied, they’ll go to a shootout. Basically, they’ll play 90 minutes and then let guys stand in front of the goalie and kick it in the net to settle the biggest games in the history of soccer. If they’re the greatest athletes in the world then they should be playing until someone wins!
My question goes further though. Why will they settle things in the knockout stage but not in the group stage? Don’t these teams play three and a half years for this opportunity?
I don’t get the appeal of soccer and I never will. I fully admit that my favorite sports have plenty of problems both on and off the field but the way they do things on soccer’s biggest stage makes little sense to me.