Parting World Cup 2010 Thoughts

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FIFA World Cup 2010 lived up to the hype and the world’s expectations once again this year.  Fantastic games, great players, a terrific atmosphere in South Africa, a rejuvenated U.S. population, and unbelievable drama made the World Cup truly a “world-class” event once again.

I watched countless hours of matches either live on ESPN or ESPN2 or taped on ESPN Classic.

To me, the best moments of the World Cup can be summed up in many different ways.  Who can forget Landon Donovan’s dramatic last-minute, extra-time goal against Algeria to secure a Round 16 birth for the first time in a very long time.  The U.S. wasn’t even expected to win its group but it truly outplayed its competitors in Group C.

And even though the U.S. lost to a young Ghana squad in the Round of 16, I have high hopes that the U.S. squad qualifies for another World Cup in Brazil in 2014.  In my opinion, they need to give Bob Bradley another nod as coach and keep building a solid defense and more players with speed in the forward spots.

I even enjoyed the non-U.S. moments of glory in the World Cup.  It was great to see the vuvuzelas make their debut even though they drowned out the play on the field.  And who can forget the passion of the South African continent.  When Ghana lost to Uruguay in penalty kicks I could feel the collective hearts of Africa beating 1 million beats a minute.

And how about all the drama? It’s no wonder this sport is “must-see” T.V. While referees and players didn’t always make the game look pretty, to follow the back-and-forth dialogue between the fans and the sports commentaries was truly something to behold.

I love the argument some naive fans had about the game being boring and the fact that most soccer players faked injuries to stop time.  The truth is “The Beautiful Game” is just that: A game of intricate moves, fantastic passes and great goal-keeping.  To get a goal in the World Cup is truly an amazing feat! Are you reading this Rooney, Renaldo, Kaka, et al?

I predicted before the tourney began that there would be major surprises in the World Cup.  How many of you didn’t have England, Brazil, Italy, France, Argentina and others in your final bracket?  Did the soccer populace truly believe New Zealand, the USA, Uruguay, and Ghana would have nice runs in the World Cup?  They were all written off before the Cup started.

Congrats to Spain for emerging as this year’s winner.  While the Spaniards didn’t score a lot of goals, their defense was impeccable at all times.

As soccer continues to emerge as the “World’s” game, I hope FIFA grants the USA another bid for the World Cup in 2018.

Wouldn’t that be another dream come true?

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