Jealous aren’t we?
Apparently, many American association fotball fans are still bitter the United States lost to Germany in the final round of group play June 26.
ESPN.com is currently conducting a poll on its front page asking fans who deserved to win the Golden Ball, the World Cup’s equivalent for the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. The choices are the man who won the award, Argentina’s Lionel Messi; Germany’s Thomas Muller, who scored five goals for the championship side; Colombia’s James Rodriguez, who won the Golden Boot award for most goals with six, even though Colombia lost in the quarterfinals to Brazil; or “someone else”.
With almost 66,000 votes cast as of 8 p.m. Central, Messi leads with 35 percent. Muller has 31 percent, Rodriguez 24, and “other” 10. I’m sure many of the “other” vote was for U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, whose herculean effort vs. Belgium was the only reason the Americans even reached extra time. Had Howard not been stopping nearly everything in sight, Belgium wins 4-0 or 5-0.
That Messi won the award galled Brazil. Their hatred for Argentina is legendary. It may be the most heated rivalry in all of association football. The biggest fear going into this tournament wasn’t Brazil wouldn’t win, but Argentina would on Brazilian soil.
Imagine if the Soviet Union won the Olympic ice hockey gold when the Winter Olympics were held at Lake Placid. I doubt there would have been violence, but many Americans would have been incensed. Thanks to the Miracle on Ice, that spectre was mooted.
I’m thinking there is a lot of strong anti-German sentiment out there. Some of it is deep-seated, because Germany spawned Hitler and the Nazis, although an ignorant few have forgotten Hitler has been dead since 1945 and many of the Nazi leaders were executed after being convicted by the Nuremburg war tribunal. Some of the sentiment may come from South American expatriates who were upset the Germans beat Brazil and Argentina in the last two rounds. A lot of it, though, I bet comes from Germany’s 1-0 win over the Americans.
Given Germany beat the crap out of Brazil 7-1 last week, and drubbed Portugal 4-0 in the first group match, the United States should feel good about its effort against the eventual champion. Why the jealousy?
Personally, I believe Muller is the only person who deserves the award. He was the best player on the best team by far.