Football: The Global Game

The World Cup Around the World
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"THE POST-match spin-doctoring was world-class. If the US soccer team played with the precision and purpose that its post-match verbal assessments possessed then America might be soccer-mad by this morning with a stunning upset of Germany under its boots. Instead, the US side, looking as stunned as a pack of deer on the Jersey Turnpike at rush hour and as star-struck as 11 teenagers at a

Spice Girls show, was dominated by Germany in a 2-0 loss at the Parc des Princes. In American football terms, the World Cup Group F opener loss had the tone of a 24-0 NFL Sunday rout despite the hard-to-believe encouraging feelings the US came away with after a moderate second-half flurry staved off a 4-0 or 5-0 result. In defense of the US national team, it was facing the reigning European champions, legitimate World Cup favourites and its toughest first-round opponent in the Germans. But the confident Americans, led by coach Steve Sampson, led us to believe that they belonged in the same category as the Germanys, Brazils, Italys and Argentinas. By virtue of Germany's dominance - expected by everyone in the world except the Americans - US soccer is exactly where it was before the match: Neophytes in the world's sport with little respect from the powers." "New York Post".

"DESPITE JAMAICA'S 3-1 loss to Croatia in their World Cup encounter, scores of die-hard soccer fans shrugged off the disappointment with drinks at a popular night spot along Rae Street in Rae Town, eastern Kingston, near the city's coastline. But among those who took part in the community viewing of the match were some who were so upset that they didn't bother to stay behind to enjoy a party which had been planned to go ahead whether it was win, lose or draw for the Reggae Boyz. People went to Rae Town from all corners yesterday, decked out in the colours of the national flag. The pre-match period was like a soccer festival as the Jamaicans drank and conversed, predicting the result of the match. Most speculated that Jamaica would win; others danced in the streets in high spirits. When Croatia scored first, some stopped viewing the television sets. But it was back to business on the stroke of half-time, when Robbie Earle headed home for the Reggae Boyz. Fans kept punching the air with clenched fists. Some knocked pot covers together. Police later reported a shooting incident nearby, involving the police and gunmen. Elsewhere in Kingston many streets were deserted, but one vendor said her stock of Reggae Boyz T-shirts were selling like "hot bread". "The Gleaner", Kingston.

Compiled by Rupert Metcalf