Only a few days removed from the wonderful conclusion to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and it’s somewhat strange to comprehend just how glorious that one month-long tournament was and is when it’s playing out. For several weeks, fans and casual sports fans alike come together to cheer for their respective nations, as well as their favorite players and teams they admire from afar. Patriotism is on full-display with a seemingly incomparable pride in one’s country. Flags are waved and worn, colors are as bright as the faces of the goal scorers and the energy around the world for this unique sporting event is palpable.
So, where do we go from here?
That is one of the critical questions to ponder, especially when considering the optimism of people from all over the world during the biggest tournament of the world’s most popular sport. Why do we need to keep waiting for events like the World Cup to witness so many of the great things and relentless, upbeat spirits of men, women and children from all over the country and the globe? The intensity of this past World Cup (for example) seemed to even trump the passion of the 4th of July when compared to watching the U.S. matches this year.
How can we bottle this exuberance to endure beyond one single day or month?
If and how this question can be answered may hold the key to (finally) rejuvenate the United States to its necessary, new level of hope for the future.
One can dream.
Thankfully, this is the perfect place to do just that while wearing red, white and blue.
I really wish I had been wrong in my World Cup Final prediction…
Back on June 12th, I wrote a post titled Mês de Ouro do Futebol! Within this article, there were lists of players and teams to watch for the 2014 World Cup, as well as a prediction of the World Cup Final. If you recall, I chose Germany and Argentina to play for the championship. It was a purely pragmatic choice, despite my love for the United States of America and the Dutch. As a long time fan of the Netherlands, there were many question marks for them entering this tournament. Put simply, they could only exceed expectations.
Last night, the Dutch lost to Argentina in a penalty shootout. Penalty maestro Krul was unable to be subbed in late and after Dutch defender Vlaar’s penalty was blocked to open the shootout, a paralyzing shock set in for those cheering for the Netherlands. While technically it was just the first shot, the momentum shifted like a tidal wave and it proved to be unrecoverable for the Oranje.
It was over.
A golden generation of Dutch superstars may never hoist soccer’s biggest trophy.
In a single word: devastating.
However, attempting to put this game aside for a slightly happier note today, Jimmy’s Daily Planet would like to offer a throwback this Thursday to a late night contest that happened a while back.
Escaping in 8-minute intervals may be what it takes for Dutch fans today.
Despite the World Cup ending for the United States of America in a tough loss yesterday to Belgium after 121′, the overwhelming support and patriotism on display from American fans all across the United States and parts of the world was sublime. Four years is a very, very long time to wait for the USMNT to compete for (not in) the next World Cup. However, it’s always a good time to celebrate a few of those who lead cheering sections for American soccer.
Here is the story of a few of these individuals:
“I believe that we will win!”
Argentina v. Switzerland will be a fascinating battle between a nation that was ranked as one of the best going into the 2014 World Cup (and not just for fancy, MacGyver-approved pocket knives) and the country next door to host nation Brazil led by one of the best footballers on the planet in Lionel Messi.
Both nations have played well enough to advance to the round of 16, but neither has necessarily dazzled with respect to the astronomical expectations each had entering the group competition. Can Xherdan Shaqiri make that definitive declaration to the world that Switzerland is no longer a force of neutrality, but a force to be reckoned with? Will Lionel Messi finally reveal a world-class performance he’s fully capable of against a highly-rated opponent during the sport’s biggest tournament while wearing baby blue and white?
The bottom line is that this match will be fun to watch.
Belgium v. United States is a rematch of a friendly most Americans have wanted to forget. The Belgians defeated the men in red, white and blue in a convincing 4-2 effort in Cleveland, Ohio back in May of this year. However, that was a friendly and the Americans proved to be anything but friendly to their World Cup adversaries in their three group matches. Since the Portugal game ended in a heart-breaking 2-2 tie, this game versus Belgium in the round of 16 is the U.S.’s statement game. And if Jozy Altidore makes it onto the pitch, it’s a fair bet he’ll be looking to make a statement or two of his own…
And that pregame speech for the Americans may go a little something like this:
“I Believe That We Will Win!”