June 24, 2009

"The second most important upset ever by an American team, behind only the 1980 Miracle on Ice."

The U.S. soccer team beats Spain.

53 comments:

dcm said...

wonderful game. we had no chance until we outplayed them.

Kirby Olson said...

This made me very happy. Europeans used to be very cocky about their superiority in this area. But it's cool that tiny countries like Latvia can beat our NBA superstars, and we can beat their superstars in soccer. I can't wait to watch the goals on ESPN. Thanks for this post.

traditionalguy said...

I did not believe it when I heard this report and figured the reporter read the score backwards. Great thing aggression. In fact enjoying aggression is not abnormal in men, although many pretend they distain such feelings.

rhhardin said...

I don't know the rules for soccer, hockey or basketball, so they pass me by pretty much.

Imus however covers curling very nicely, real audio, Feb 13, 2006.

Lucius said...

Let's compare:

Our amateurs beating the professionals of a rival superpower in a sport we actually cared about.

vs.

A soccer game against Spain.

Comparisons like this are why analogies were removed from the SAT.

SteveR said...

I tend to agree, it may be second but the 1980 USA vs USSR hockey match was far far bigger. Mondale finished second to Reagan in 1984.

traditionalguy said...

Lucius...Think of Spain as the best team in the European Union. The EU is as much our rival today as the USSR was 30 years ago. Just ask them. The US team is a mixture of pro players not good enough to play on a national team in the EU. This was like a rookie league team beating the Yankees.I expect that the Europeans will demand blood tests for steroids and performance enhancers which yanks always use to beat them.

Paddy O. said...

"Our amateurs beating the professionals of a rival superpower in a sport we actually cared about."

The 1980 Miracle on Ice was a basketball game?

Cedarford said...

NO, Lucious..the 1980 game was one of the great all-time flukes. Players later admitted that 99 times out of 100 they would have lost to the legendary Soviet team, with 85 of those games complete drubbings.

The soccer victory is different because it is American men showing, at last, they can compete with the best in the most popular sport in the world.

ironrailsironweights said...

Quite an upset, but soccer is likely to remain a fringe sport in America for the foreseeable future. Not many people other than children and immigrants really care about it.

Peter

traditionalguy said...

I suspect that those Latinas also play soccer when they are not sneaking into our country and empathising with working people. But how does one explain the English love of the game? Atlanta's first pro sports championship was in 1968 in the North American Soccer League. The Atlanta Chiefs lead by player coach Phil Woosnam won the title. Woosnam was a super star from Manchester United. We almost rioted in atlanta that night. The chiefs practiced at Emory and we were allowed to practice with them. They were all English, Scottish and Australian and South African. The tall players are always Goalies but the 5 foot 8-10 inch guys do the best at body control and balance needed for the other positions, so being normal size is not a handicap. Endurance is the key. Except for the goalie, jumping is an unnecessary talent. There are no fat soccer players.

KLDAVIS said...

It was an amazing game. Howard (the US Goalkeeper) played out of his mind. It easily could have been 5-2 Spain.

rhhardin said...
I don't know the rules for soccer, hockey


They only somewhat unintuitive rule in either is off-sides. And, the only difference in how that is determined is that in hockey it is the blue line, where as in Soccer, the "blue line" is determined to be wherever the rear-most defender happens to be.

KLDAVIS said...

Forgot to mention that Howard (the normal starter) was coming back from being benched in the last game against Egypt, where he watched the backup goalie get a shutout and the team pull of a only somewhat less miraculous 3-0 victory to even make today's game possible. Some amazing motivation by the coaching staff.

John Stodder said...

I credit Obama's speech in Cairo for this victory.

Beth said...

I made it about halfway through the headline on this and wondered why Althouse cared about LSU winning baseball's college world series. The Big Game you're watching is always the Big Game that matters.

Quayle said...

This is the first time in 29 games that the Spanish team has been scored on twice in the same game.

But cooler than that: the second US goal was scored by Clint Dempsey, a guy that grew up living in a trailer in a small town in eastern Texas.

He learned to play soccer from the immigrant Mexican kids.

Plus he was poor and black in Texas.

From there, to scoring the assurance goal in one of the biggest games in American soccer history, and one of the biggest upsets in international soccer, is quite a story.

free_technology said...

I don't know, I was at a concert last night, how on earth did this happen?

NKVD said...

Bottom line, it's still soccer. Wake me when the tedium ends...

Jennifer said...

I will never understand how people can love football and find soccer boring.

Hope this contributes to an eventual American love of soccer.

NKVD said...

It's easy - soccer is boring. Football isn't.

In 1959 we were taught how to play soccer. We were told that it was going to be the next big sport in America.

Fifty years later, we are still waiting. Waiting for some flopper to score, waiting for some actual, you know, action. It is a stupid and boring game.

And the fact that it is beloved by the rest of the world says enough - it's for Euroweenies and 3rd worlders. They can have it.

jayne_cobb said...

I'm sorry but this wasn't as big a shock as everyone claims. Yes it was unexpected, but if the various soccer pundits would get off the US team's back for once they'd notice that the loss to Italy was not nearly as bad as many people made it out to be (nor is this win as great as some are making it seem).

The US received a raw deal when they got a red card on what was a yellow at best (continuing the tradition of Italy getting major calls in their favor).

Despite being down a man the rest of the game, they actually led for a short while before an Italian player raised in America scored against them.

Scott M said...

Nobody in the American soccer federation will dare to claim that this was the day the country came of age in the world’s most important sport. Not until American boys and girls play feral soccer on their own, for the love of the sport, will the nation develop its own Jordan, its own Pujols, its own Crosby or Malkin, its own Maradona.

If you accept the premise of this statement, the victory is all the more significant because non-feral Americans beat people who were probably juggling soccer in-utero.

Jennifer said...

Eh, I feel the opposite. Football with all its rules and stopping and starting and stopping again is stupid and boring. Soccer is exciting and athletic - way more fun to play and watch.

I'm hoping the general thugification of the NFL and NBA will get Americans looking for something else.

NKVD said...

America loves thugs - just look at the results of the last election.

And, after hours of running oh-so-athletically up and down the field, the final score is naught naught. Yeah, that's exciting...

zzz...

Jennifer said...

I'm still clinging to hope and change, NKVD! On the playing field, anyway.

John said...

"I credit Obama's Cairo speech."

via instapundit.

Lucius said...

[QUOTE=traditionalguy]Think of Spain as the best team in the European Union. The EU is as much our rival today as the USSR was 30 years ago. Just ask them. [/QUOTE]
That you have to ask them to recieve this answer rather defeats the claim.
Red China is a legitimate rival.
The EU? Not so much.

We have more interesting sports than soccer to obsess about. Curling and cricket, just to name two.

jayne_cobb said...

And despite my love for the game, I figure that the US will not embrace soccer until there is a revamping of the foul system to lessen the advantage gained by diving (so probably never) .

While there is diving in every sport I can't think of one where it has as powerful an effect on the outcome of the game. Between red cards, PKs, and the low scoring nature of the sport all it takes is one or two well timed dives to completely throw a game in favor of the team that flops.

One need only look at Italy's win over Australia in the last World Cup to see what I'm talking about. It was a great game, up until an Italian player pretended to get tripped in the penalty box. This gave them a PK and the game, and allowed them to move on. It also seemed to kill much of the interest which had been built in the US.

Pogo said...

If soccer players could use actual weapons, then it'd be really cool.

traditionalguy said...

Soccer needs Burger King's ad agency. In soccer men are forever shooting into a goal, that is desparately defended by other men. The tension builds as the strikers work their balls in closer and closer until a shot spurts into the net and everyone has an orgasam of release form the slowly built up tensions. The creative ad guys can work with that.

Anthony said...

Yea. But Bradley should still be fired. Even if we win this thing. The only reason we are here is that against Brazil, Italy was on its back with legs wide quicker than one of Berusconi's 19 year old mistresses.

And the Egyptians were tuckered out after the romp with cheap whores.

Aaron said...

Ah, soccer still sucks.

And btw, the miracle on ice was significant because it was like Rocky IV, a blow to communism.

The spanish are merely socialists. :-)

Matt Johnston said...

No, no, no. This was very different from the 1980 Hockey games. The U.S. soccer team are professional, many of them plying their trade in top European soccer leagues like England, Germany, Spain. The hockey team was essentially amateurs, college players. The hockey team was a fabulous upset and even more so than this game.

If you want a fabulous story of a U.S. soccer upset, look up the 1950 U.S. soccer team win over England in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.

Google 1950 World Cup, Belo Horizonte and U.S.A. England soccer game.

Anthony said...

Matt Johnston

I agree on 1950. I believe only one member of that team was a true professional. The rest were semi-pros or outright amateurs.

Matt Johnston said...

KLDAVIS said...
Forgot to mention that Howard (the normal starter) was coming back from being benched in the last game against Egypt, where he watched the backup goalie get a shutout and the team pull of a only somewhat less miraculous 3-0 victory to even make today's game possible. Some amazing motivation by the coaching staff.


First, Howard was not "Benched" but everyone (including the U.S. coaching staff) figured that the U.S. could beat Egypt by the necessary three goals, but no one thought Italy would lose by three goals to Brazil. Tim Howard sat in favor of Brad Guzan getting some playing time.

Big Mike said...

US still has to beat Brazil.

jayne_cobb said...

Now that would be a massive upset.

Anthony said...

Considering how Brazil had their way with us in the first round, I doubt it will happen.

DBrooks17 said...

Soccer is a game about process, not results. Progressives LOVE process, and are less concerned about actual results. Purely anecdotal, but I find that it is mostly liberals and progressives who like soccer in this country. It must be genetics.

Beth said...

I figure that the US will not embrace soccer until there is a revamping of the foul system to lessen the advantage gained by diving

Yes, that's exactly what's been holding me back from enthusiastically embracing soccer.

Smilin' Jack said...

All this soccer-bashing is mean-spirited. Please, let's try to remember that some countries are too poor to afford real sports.

KLDAVIS said...

Matt Johnston said...
First, Howard was not "Benched"

...

everyone (including the U.S. coaching staff) figured that the U.S. could beat Egypt by the necessary three goals,


1) Call it what you like...heading into the game against Egypt where the coaches decided he shouldn't play, Howard had not won a ConFed game, and had played poorly in the first two games of the tournament. If you can't read through the 'rest' or 'change of pace' line the coaches were selling, I won't be able to convince you.

2) Yeah, the US had Egypt right where they wanted them...the US had scored a total of one goal in the entire tourney, and on a PK. Meanwhile, Egypt had beaten Italy and lost to Brazil only due an 88' PK.

/Flame off

Anthony said...

DBrooks17 said...
Soccer is a game about process, not results. Progressives LOVE process, and are less concerned about actual results. Purely anecdotal, but I find that it is mostly liberals and progressives who like soccer in this country. It must be genetics.


This proves you know nothing about soccer. Soccer is about RESULTS. Scoring is the hardest of any major team sport and takes a combination of hard work, team work, individual achievement and luck.

Beth -- I agree too. In the 2002 World Cup, a Turkish player in frustration after a fould ball kicked the ball hard. It hit a Brazilian in the calf. The Brazilian fell to the ground holding his HEAD. The Turskish player was then red carded.

I think one way to address it is to have reviews after the games and if anyone dove, they get fined AND suspended.

Jennifer said...

Soccer is about RESULTS. Scoring is the hardest of any major team sport and takes a combination of hard work, team work, individual achievement and luck.

I agree and would take it even a step further. Soccer is about REAL results and REALLY working for them.

You don't get 6 whole points for one little goal in soccer. You don't even get 2 points for one goal. There's no score inflation.

You don't get to stop and chat and form committees every time the ball goes dead.

There aren't rule books, thick and complex, regulating every step of the game.

Sounds like a conservative's game to me.

DBrooks17 said...

I will grant you that participating in an activity for 2-3 hours at the end of which the score is 0-0 is, indeed, a "result," but not a result that an results-oriented individual is going to find satisfying. Only a Progressive would describe such a result as a "REAL" result. It's why the Left loves "dialog," and the peace "Process," and support groups, and so on. For them, it's about the process---definitively not about the result.

Jennifer said...

Are we're defining conservatives now as people who will accept something, anything as long as it looks like a result?

Whatever. It's a game! If having a big score up on the board makes you feel better than watching an actual athletic competition, alright then.

You can massage that as being "results oriented" and conservative or as prioritizing your "feelings" and progressive. How does politics get in to everything these days?

Anthony said...

Jennifer -- I once posted this on a soccer message board.

As a conservative, I find soccer to be the game most in line with my principles. Few rules basically set forth for safety reasons. You can advance by either individual or collaborative efforts. Little role for the coach one things get going. [[ED to add -- I still think Bradely should be fired]

On the other hand, football to me seems to be the perfect metaphor for communism. The coach (dictator) after consulting with his staff (Politburo) sends in the play (five year plan) to the quarterback (factory manager) who talks about it with the other players in the huddle (workers soviet) who in reality have little choice but to implement the plan. They then work for 10 seconds and talk about it for 30. Strict rules regimented game.


DBrooks17 -- life is not a zero sum game. Like life, soccer accepts that sometime you do not get the result you wanted.

Jennifer said...

life is not a zero sum game. Like life, soccer accepts that sometime you do not get the result you wanted.

Excellent point, Anthony.

I think you've just nailed on the head what bothers me about the no scoring whining about soccer. It's so entitled! Accept that sometimes you bust your ass and you still don't walk out with nice, shiny points. This feeling that if you don't leave with something, there's no point is the height of entitlement whininess.

DBrooks17 said...

Those criticizing my comments are making my point. First off to Jennifer, I never said anything about what conservatives think about any sport. I am making a personal observation(as I noted) that, in my experience, most of the people I know who like soccer are from the Left.

As for this--"Accept that sometimes you bust your ass and you still don't walk out with nice, shiny points. This feeling that if you don't leave with something, there's no point is the height of entitlement whininess"--are you saying that football, basketball, and baseball players don't sometimes work hard without scoring? Not sure what point you are making. My point is that soccer is more a process-focused sport. I am glad that you enjoy soccer. I think its lack of popularity in the United States is attributable to the nature of the game--one where it is all to common to end in very low-scoring affairs, even after hours of running up and down the field.

Jennifer said...

I never said anything about what conservatives think about any sport.

True. But, what you did say is Only a Progressive would describe such a result as a "REAL" result. Directly after I described such a result as a REAL result. Hence, I explained exactly why it is certainly not only a "progressive".

There's no point in going around in circles. You think what you think, and sadly a majority agrees with you. I continue to hope that one day Americans will embrace sport for the love of athletics and not for the trappings of the game of which they're currently so enamored. Rules that only we understand! Lots of equipment! Half time shows! Constant talking heads! Woooo! Sports has become a circus and soccer is not a very good side show.

DBrooks17 said...

"Hence, I explained exactly why it is certainly not only a "progressive"."

I'm sorry if my comment about Progressives loving process offended you, but I stand by my opinion that only a certain type of individual would describe a 3-hour contest ending 0-0 as a "Real" result. Just out of curiosity, how would you describe your political stance?

I think we can easily agree to disagree. I would admit that people tend to like the sports they experienced in their youth, so there's always the chance that more will embrace soccer as more kids are exposed to it than when I was a boy. Again, on a personal level, the game bores me to death. My son played in leagues for a while, but he also tired of the game once he took up basketball and golf. As someone who lived in South America for 6 months in the 1970s, I have experience others' love for soccer, but it's not an affection I share.

Jennifer said...

You didn't offend me. I actually somewhat agree with your description of many progressives. I just vehemently disagree with its application to soccer. I'd describe myself as a lightweight libertarian.

I suppose we all see things filtered through our own prisms. I think you could just as easily make the argument that soccer doesn't appeal to conservatives due to its association with "euroweenies and 3rd worlders". Or that conservatives are resistant to change. Or whatever

I discovered soccer when my beloved Blazers became more a case study in thug life than a group of athletes.

NKVD said...

I met some of the Blunt Blazers once while flying to Portland. Damn, they are tall. But the NBA - come on - a league with no dope testing? Sweet!

As for scoring - if a football game ends 9 to 6 - what is that - maybe one touchdown by each team and one field goal? Three total scores? The multiplier just makes it seem bigger.

I don't hate soccer, I do like mocking it and the one named pony tail guys who play it. But if it ever becomes successful in this country then, well, we will have become Euroweenies. C'est la vie, n'est ce pas?