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A few thoughts on the World Cup

Posted by Bob Ryan, Globe Staff  June 10, 2010 01:58 PM

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I'm not Mr. Soccer, Mr. Futbol, or anything else, but I know I will be in front of my TV set on Saturday afternoon to watch the Americans and Brits go at it in the World Cup, and if you're any kind of a sports fan, you'll be doing the same thing.

It's not necessary to be an aficionado of a sport to recognize an Event. Events transcend personal knowledge. The World Cup is the biggest sports spectacle outside the Olympics, and in the judgment of many, it's actually the other way around. Just because soccer will never seriously challenge the American Big Four does not mean we can't enjoy our participation in the world's most passionate tournament. To me, this should be self-evident.

Playing England is too good to be true. The Brits invented the sport, and they've got the richest league, but they just can't get it right on the world stage. They can't even find a qualified Brit to coach them. They're tried a Swede and now they've got an Italian. But the one thing they're sure of is that they are superior to the lads from the colonies. If we win this game, the Brit tabloids will be digging deep for the proper headlines. The word "Shame!" won't be expressive enough to describe the emotion that country will feel.

The world of international soccer is replete with plots, sub-plots and all sorts of intrigue. I love it. This is pretty much a litmus test of sports fandom. Get the chores done early and then sit down, pop open a cold one, and see if our guys can play with the minds of those old colonial oppressors. I can't wait.

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Bob is an award-winning columnist for the Globe and the host of "Globe 10.0" on Boston.com.

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