World Cup Guide

You may have heard that there’s a soccer tournament about to get underway.

If you’re like me, your interest in the World Cup is at best peripheral. Soccer is a very minor sport, indeed, in the United States and, while three or four generations of American kids have grown up playing it, we’re still not all that good.

I’ll be mildly interested in watching the USA-England match and, if Team USA somehow manages to win, I’ll be somewhat more excited about the tournament. But Volokh Conspirator David Post, who provides a reasonably detailed “World Cup 2010” guide, doesn’t lay very good odds:

It’s even harder than usual to predict how our team’s going to fare – whether it will repeat the wonderful 2002 performance, in which it reached the quarterfinals, or 2006’s disastrous early exit. It thumped a pretty decent Australia team 3-1 last week in its final tuneup, and there’s some real world-class talent on the squad. But the back line is highly suspect, and if they’re as porous as they’ve been in recent matches it could be a depressing exercise. The first match (against England on June 12) could be a doozy – the English could end up cutting through that back line line the proverbial knife through butter; on the other hand, if the US can hold them off and get into some sort of an offensive rhythm, we could easily pull off an upset, or at least put in a performance that would give us enough confidence to carry us through the tournament a fair way.

It would be nice.  The problem is that, as an American, the “wonderful 2002 performance” was nonetheless a massive disappointment.  Since I have no investment in the pageantry of the World Cup, if we don’t finish first, we finish last.   And it’s incredibly unlikely we’ll finish first.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    I could care less about the chances of Team USA.  They will try their best, that’s all.  I love watching the World Cup for how all the other teams play, how their fans are so fanatical about their teams, and yes, the pageantry.  I spent most of June 2006 glued to the set (to the Univision Spanish broadcast, and I don’t even speak Spanish, the ESPN coverage was horrible!) and I likely will do it again this year.  Thank goodness the games aren’t played in Asia or I’d never get any sleep.