Euro 2008- Where is America’s e-vitation?

Posted on June 16, 2008

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Europe held a major soccer tournament and didn’t even invite the United States to be a part of it?  Unfathomable.  This is the kind of thing that won’t happen once Obama becomes president.

Don’t worry- I’m aware that Euro 2008 is only for European teams.  A cynic would say that this is European snobbery at its finest.  Only a European soccer fan could look at something like the World Cup and say to themselves: “This is a great tournament, but do you know what would make it better?  Fewer of these teams from other parts of the world.”  A glass-half-full person such as myself sees it as an opportunity for America to start its own every-2-years tournament.  Historically this is how most of our great clubs get started anyway, such as Free-Masons and the Cincinnati Reds.  Everytime the Euro tournament comes around, America will host Globo.  All the great non-European teams will be invited to a tournament which celebrates the richness of non-European soccer and the world’s pride at its shared non-Europeanness.  We can even invite a random MLS team to play and simulate the presence of Switzerland.  Why isn’t Sunil Gulati returning my calls about this?

In all seriousness, Holland’s drubbing of France remains the defining point of the tournament so far.  They’ve clearly been the best team in group play.  No other team has demonstrated the overall quickness, decisiveness and skill that the Netherlands have, and their game against France encapsulated all of this.  Whether France is an elite team this year or not, they are hardly a candidate for the kind of schoolyard dismantling they received at the hands of the Dutch.  Until someone steps up and beats them, Holland is the hands-down favorite to win the tournament.

On the other end of the spectrum, Sweden’s performance against Spain was a sad development.  Sweden is the historic home of my ancestors, so when they lose I take it as a personal attack on my genetics.   Sweden is also one of the few teams in Europe I can actually tolerate.  This is likely because as a country Sweden seems to have soccer in perspective- they’ll get into it, but if they lose, they’re a little busy doing polar bear swims and using their socialized medicine to lose sleep over it.  As for the match, the knock on Spain has always been that it has the soccer mentality of a white flag.  To their credit, Sweden stayed in the game after falling behind early, a development which has in the past given Spain trouble.  But giving up a winning goal in the 92nd minute means that Sweden lost a “Who wants it more?” game to a team that has always answered that question “Siesta time!”  That is not a favorable development if you’re a Swede.

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