You guys know that I love soccer perhaps more than anything else, except food and fashion. (Any suggestions on how I may hit that trifecta?) It can break your heart, but not any worse than people do. (I once got broken up with during Leeds v Chelsea, and continued, a bit teary, to watch the match.) Sometimes it may not feel that way (RIP Metrostars), but hope does spring eternal and there is always next time or a new exciting player, hand over heart, in the lineup that gives you a frisson of anticipation. Plus, we, the United States, have nothing to prove to the eyes of many around the world who are self-appointed authorities of the Beautiful Game. That just makes it sweeter when we pull it off.Not Pulling It Off: USA v Czech Republic, Gelsenkirchen
We got thumped, 3-0. Badly. Outclassed. I am not going to offer any excuses.
I, in Singapore, tried to follow online but then found myself pulled out of my hotel on to the street. I was "adopted" as keeps happening to me, a young woman alone watching football, by three nice guys at a table outside a Kopitiam (Singapore's answer to a chain food court cum coffee shop). They were nice, if incredibly drunk. They asked me twice which team I was rooting for. I was wearing a t-shirt with UNITED STATES
written on it. "No chance, sister," slurred one of them. The other was asleep. The last one said that he thought I knew a lot about football. You'd be right, mate. The US team, however, seemed not to.Una Partita Per Rompermi Il Cuore (A Match To Break My Heart): USA v Italy, KaiserslautenAbbiamo parreggiato contro gli Azzurri! Uno ad uno.
Nevermind that it was an own goal, we played with heart, while Italy did their whining, pampered, "we are Italy and look good in tight kits" thing. And I love the Italians.
Again, I thought I wouldn't bother watching-- kick off was at 2 am. I had been out at dinner and then people watching on Soi 4 with the boys. And truth be told, the last match was an exercise in depression. I apparently just didn't have the right pharmaceuticals.
My taxi home passed the World Trade Centre Mall with a gigantic screen out front at 1.56 am and I scrambled out to stake out a bit of concrete. I dispatched some nice Thai men for a few Leo beers and proceeded heart in my teeth to watch. I jumped up and down, confusing everyone who were cheering for the italiani
(since they'd bet on them, capisc'?) I berated the ref, cheered on the boys, (Mc Bride has titanium plates in his face?!) and extended middle fingers at will. Even more confusing to onlookers was the Japan National Team dress that I was wearing. Luckily, this is Thailand and people are accustomed to crazy farang. What I Need Now:
USA defeats Ghana, Italy defeats Czechs and we go through. It won't be the end of the world if we don't go through-- WE had the Group of Death no matter how many soccer pundits tell you otherwise-- but N
is coming home and we have never watched a US match together. Wouldn't it be lovely to have the first one be in the second round of the Weltmeisterschaft? Even if it is against Brazil? How romantically underdog is that?