Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The US never has been and never will be a football country

Why have so many neutrals been supporting the USA in this World Cup?  There is a natural tendency to back an underdog, but remember that the United States contains 330 million people. 

Some people clearly think, deep down, that the greatest sport in the world needs to be endorsed by Americans, to have truly global credentials.  Let’s be clear, the fact that the United States has never taken to football is a reflection on that country's sporting predilictions, rather than the greatest game in the world.

The US took over 90 minutes to be beaten by a small European nation with an average World Cup pedigree and that has now been taken as some type of triumph.  It really isn’t.

Football has no need to proselytise.  It already is the world’s game.  It has no requirement to expand into any new territories, because the ‘new territories’ are the freakish exception, rather than the rule. 

Meanwhile, sport in the US is generally a poor spectacle.  ‘World’ competitions span one country, cobbled out of dreadful stop-start pass-times, brought to prominence because they allow television advertisers a great deal of time to flog their wares.  Baseball may have some merits, but gridiron?   

Let them get on with it.  Football doesn’t need the US, nor does it need Qatar.  It is a sport founded on tradition, where the allegiance of supporters passes through generations.  Its heartlands are in Europe, South America, Africa, parts of Central America and parts of Asia.  There, the faithful will not be dissuaded by the vagaries of a single tournament.

If you have been supporting 'that' country and you are a genuine supporter from elsewhere, you ought to have known better. It isn’t a football nation and it never will be.  Americans will always call the sport ‘soccer’.  They’ll always associate it with teenage girls.  They’ll continue to prefer their ridiculous pass-times.  Let them get on with it. 

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