Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
The following is a guest post by Dan Friedman, a former captain of the Cambridge University soccer team, a contributor to the New York Times soccer blog and a qualified New Jersey soccer coach. He is also the Arts and Culture editor for the Jewish Daily Forward. The opinions expressed are his own.
As Africa hosts the biggest sporting tournament the world has ever seen, the world is watching. Huddled around television sets in favelas and townships, villages and suburbs, towns and cities across the globe, billions will tune into FIFA’s World Cup 2010. By whatever name — football, calcio, futbol — soccer truly is the world’s game.
Across Europe, Asia and Africa, advertisers are falling all over themselves to endorse official products and to use players and logos in their spots. But not in America, the richest, and arguably most sports mad, country in the world. Here the desperate hype of those outlets that have the rights to cover the tournament barely makes itself heard over the NBA and Stanley Cup finals.
Still, despite the absence through injury of David Beckham — the only soccer player instantly recognizable to most Americans — the mouthwatering opening game against England on Saturday has garnered some attention. When these two teams last met — in the 1950 World Cup — the motley American team of semi-professionals pulled off an amazing upset in Belo Horizonte, Brazil against England’s self-styled “Kings of Football.”