America’s awkward relationship with soccer

In its simplest form football is a game of blinding simplicity. The team that kicks the ball into the opponents net the most wins.

Despite the lack of sophistication when it comes to the scoring system, it seems that not every facet of the world’s media has been able to grasp the delicacy of the outcome of a game and once again during this World Cup, USA has emphasised its fleeting relationship with the game.

Not wishing to bash a country merely for their comparatively tame interest in football when compared to the majority of the rest of the world, but the reaction of their media and its seeming lack of understanding of the game is astonishing.

Perhaps even that statement is generous, as the New York Post’s inability to grasp the basic understanding of a result where neither side wins is laughable.

Admittedly this concept is largely unfamiliar to American sports, as a winner is preferred so that there is no ambiguity of feeling and supporters can maintain the idea that the sport is exciting as there’s always a conclusive outcome.

Football is too much of a free flowing game that’s open to interpretation in how it’s played and can result in two teams battling with each at the expense of an entertaining game, as happened for large portions of the World Cup final.

To not understand who won the game though is befuddling, as there was only one goal scored and it didn’t go the way of Netherlands, but CBS struggled with this concept and in a moment of doubt decided that they’d give the World Cup title to the Dutch.

Admittedly it was likely to have been a pre-prepared dummy story to allow them to report the conclusion more quickly, but to let the story to go live suggests a severe lack of concern or understanding for the subject.

This faux pas has done nothing for the rest of the football world’s view on America’s tame love affair with football and despite the national side’s elevation to that of a serious and difficult opposition to South America and Europe’s best over the past 20 years, the elevation in media understanding has not followed.

Perhaps this is understandable though as America already has established sports of its own and football simply can’t match the violence of ice hockey, high scoring of basketball and set plays and half time wardrobe malfunctions of American football. How can anything compete with that?

Tags: USA, World Cup 2010

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