I have a gripe, and I don’t really intend on anyone listening to me, but sometimes it just helps to put it out there. I’m sick of the obnoxiously condescending and sometimes outright rude middle class soccer (neé football) fans in America, many of whom don’t really give a shit about the sport itself.
Yes, I’m talking about those of you who abandoned the World Cup the second the United States was eliminated by Ghana. I’m especially talking about those who either claimed that soccer fans were pretentious or refused to admit that the American team sucked. Seriously, I could write an entire post on the monstrously bad defense put forth by the Americans this year, and detail the faults of the team that somehow managed to lead their group. There is a reason that the American team was the only of eight group leaders who failed to advanced from the second round.
Mostly, though, my ire is directed at those of you who have somehow decided that rooting for Ghana was the best possible way to conclude the World Cup. Honestly?! Ghana?!? The team who took the strategy of taking dives and elevated it to an artform? The team that put the likes of Brazil, Italy, and Mexico to shame with their manipulation of refs? The team of Asamoah Gyan, who has forever become the goat of the sport?
Let’s be completely honest here, people – the blatant, goaltending handball from Suarez of Uruguay is NOT what stopped Ghana from winning. Yes, the man cheated, but he was red-carded and sent packing until, if the team is lucky, the final match. The reason Ghana lost is because Gyan couldn’t sink that resulting PK. This is, by the way, one of the easiest things to do in soccer. Furthermore, once the game was set to be decided by PKs, the Ghana team choked again and failed to sink the requisite balls to decisively defeat Uruguay.
My point, however, must be made. I have met so many people here in the States who claimed for weeks that “I just want RANDOM AFRICAN TEAM to win, because they deserve to.” I’m sorry? So based on the fact that only three African teams have ever made it to the quarterfinals, now all of a sudden people want any random African team to advance? Even worse, they’re throwing their chips behind Ghana? I could possibly tolerate this borderline racist mentality if the team they chose to support (had they advanced from a truly deathly group) had been Côte d’Ivoire. Côte d’Ivoire had real players, with the commanding presence of Drogba, and the skills to take on teams like Brazil and Portugal without being dismissed handily. In fact, they held the highest ranked team in the world to a 3-1 victory, and even tied with Portugal – ranked globally by FIFA, in case you were wondering, at third.
But for them to arbitrarily throw their backing behind any African team that advanced was pretty obnoxious and, I’ll say it again – completely condescending. Do you honestly think that a random white kid from Indiana is going to make the difference when Ghana is playing a team like Uruguay? Netherlands? Germany? Spain? Will your self-righteous support really lift them past some of the best teams in the world? More importantly, where was this all-consuming love for down-trodden and underrepresented teams when South Korea made it to the semifinals in 2002 as a co-host country? I don’t recall Americans who were relatively well-off getting so excited about supporting our brothers in Seoul eight years ago, and the support this summer seems to smack of hypocrisy.
So, just for the record, I’m ecstatic to see Ghana go. I never liked them and found their gameplay to be rather shameless. I’m ecstatic about today’s game between the Netherlands and Uruguay, and even more so for tomorrow’s game between Spain and Germany. I still hope for a final between the Netherlands and Spain, resulting in a first-time winner no matter what. Truth be told, though, I’m just hoping against hope that those cocky bastards from Deutschland don’t make it any farther.