Why you should be watching the World Cup
Detroit radio host and sports writer Pat Caputo has made it clear he is not a fan of the World Cup with his "3 most annoying things" article.
They are as follows:
1. The U.S. has no chance at winning.
2. There is too much injury embellishment -- or dives -- from the players.
3. There are too many own goals -- players scoring on their own team.
Let me offer this rebuttal. If you consider yourself a fan of sports at all, here are the top reasons you should be watching the World Cup:
1. The US is an exciting, legitimate underdog
The United States (men's team) is not known for advanced soccer prowess. There is utterly no arguing that. If you are watching this tournament just to see how the U.S. does, then OK, but realize you are approaching it in the absolute wrong way.
However, if that's what you're doing, then this is one of the most exciting World Cup teams to be following. The win over Ghana proved they aren't "dead men walking" through a Group of Death. They are a burgeoning team with promise -- and heart. They battled until the end against a skilled, fierce group from Ghana. It was pure excitement until the final whistle.
I can't wait to see what they can accomplish against the Portuguese team shelled by Germany. The world's interest in the U.S. men's soccer team is as high as it has ever been.
I'm not annoyed by that.
2. Every match is a battle for survival and world recognition
I do mean battle -- both physically and mentally. These are chess matches with some of the most exciting offensive (Costa Rica's amazing goals against a favored Uruguay team) demonstrations and demoralizing defensive (the aforementioned own goals) highlights. Remember Italy's own goal against the U.S. in 2006? It's kind of like a pick-6 in American football. It happens. It's exciting. It's part of the game, so embrace it.
3. No one is safe
Spain won this thing with authority in 2010. They're currently 0-2 after a stunning 2-0 loss to Chile and a crushing 5-1 loss to Netherlands. They have been eliminated.
To wit: FIFA ranks Spain at No. 1, Chile at No. 14 and Netherlands at No. 15. The U.S. is ranked No. 13.
4. Emotions run extremely high
When Germany was busy routing Portugal, Portugal's Pepe was red carded for an apparent head-butt to German scoring machine Thomas Muller. Muller was on the ground after Pepe's hand hit him in the face. The red card came out when Pepe bent down to say something to Muller, pushing his head against the German player's.
Cries were heard around the world about Muller's supposed embellishment while Pepe paid the price for retaliation. All he had to do was walk away and stay mentally tough, but he let Muller get the better of him both physically and mentally.
The referee made the right call.
Players have to control their emotions on soccer's biggest stage while they constantly test each other's mental toughness. The embellishment is all part of it. No one likes to see diving and embellishment, but as a spectator it's easy to look past it in this tournament that displays so much excitement.
5. It's pure beauty on the pitch
At the time of writing this, Costa Rica scored on a beautiful cross for an expert header to the back of the net, putting them up 1-0 over Italy.
It was artistry on par with a Barry Sanders scramble or Pavel Datsyuk breakaway.
You will see some of the most creative, beautiful plays in the World Cup, and not just goals. It's every minute of every game.
And it only gets better as the tournament moves along.
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