The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Sunday, May 26, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

I've accepted the fact that soccer might never catch on in the U.S. I've accepted that by screaming at Jozy Altidore to do something other than jogging he will henceforth begin walking. I've even accepted that the only time I will see Freddy Adu on camera is during a quick pan of the bench.

But I cannot accept that the U.S. national team lost the Confederations Cup final to Brazil 3-2.

I know that seems hard to fathom. For starters you'll cite Brazil as one of the most talented teams in the world. A team filled with the likes of Kaka Robinho and Maicon. Heck the team crushed the Yanks basically a week before 3-0.

But here's where you'd be wrong: Brazil has changed and definitely not for the better.

For 90 minutes Sunday I watched a Brazilian team look nothing like its predecessors. For one the squad no longer plays the game in Joga Bonito style. Yes they still do some clever tricks and jukes but have you seen any Nike commercials lately advertising such play? Exactly. It's generally stopped as the Brazilians have begun to incorporate a more disciplined European style of soccer.

Secondly Dunga the team's coach doesn't actually move or yell instructions during matches. I've honestly begun to wonder if the Brazilian soccer team warms up with a game of freeze tag and that a running joke is to use the last tag on Dunga.

But in all seriousness journalists throughout the globe have been commenting about how little the Brazilian people like Dunga and the new soccer being played by the boys in yellow. I mean really could Dunga literally be getting less out of a team stockpiled with talent?  Brazil soccer has essentially become Lamar Odom's career in a nutshell.

ESPN commentator Alexi Lalas can spew about how giddy he is about American soccer all he wants but the fact is that the U.S. should never have been close in that game. Several Americans play in Europe — which is widely considered the mecca of club soccer — but only a select few make any noticeable contributions at the highest-tier clubs.

The team's star Landon Donovan failed to catch on in Germany three times. Adu got traded — from a Major League Soccer team. Altidore made no appearances for a second division Spanish club.

Yes the Brazilians rallied admirably in the second half but if anything the win can be attributed to the lack of a U.S. bench and to the team's endurance. Even with a shaky squad the win was America's for the taking.

Although there's still plenty of time until next summer's World Cup Sunday's result has to leave even the most dedicated Brazilian fans on shaky ground. They just barely beat the U.S. and that in itself must be hard to accept.


Contact Chris Hempson at hempson@email.unc.edu.


To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.