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Posts posted by BTHarner

  1. I wasn't even thinking about the political connotations, just the rarity of all-Arab WC matchups. Probably comes from the fact that Saudi Arabia vs Morocco in 1994 is the only men's WC that I have attended. I think Saudi Arabia-Tunisia in 2006 is the only other one to have taken place.

  2. That is actually Costa Rica in Group E, not Croatia.

    Saudi Arabia vs Egypt and Morocco vs Iran make for some interesting all-Arab matchups.

    Portugal vs Spain on day two.....sweet.

    Nigeria has qualified six times and been drawn in Argentina's group five of the six.

    Only two group phase rematches from the 2014 groups-Argentina vs Nigeria and Colombia vs Japan.

    Funniest moment of the draw was when Gary Lineker stated that Diego Maradona, while mixing the balls, was good with his hands. 



  3. In reality,  the issues the IOC faces are no different than they were when I started following the Games nearly 40 years ago. Economics, doping, corruption were just as rampant then as they are now.  The difference is back then you read a story in the next day's newspaper or watched a related feature on the evening news.  You were not bombarded with the constant flow of negativity prevalent in today's media.  Being hammered with views critical of something you enjoy does cause you to question if the time you invest in that interest is being wisely spent.  The loss of interest in these forums is a result of this.  

    There is also the simple fact that our tastes change over time.  I remember when this time of year was all about the NFL, it was my life from August to January. Now, I seldom if ever watch. It has nothing to do with the issues that polarize opinions about the league, I just simply have had my fill of it, the game just does not seem as interesting as it once did. 

  4. 5 minutes ago, Rob. said:

    Coming second to Spain and losing to Sweden is not really comparable to buggering up concacaf qualifying which seems almost designed to guarantee US participation. The US' non-qualification still looks just as bad.

    It's easy to finish second in a group to Spain when all the other teams combined have one WC appearance. I think you underestimate the level of competition that now exists in CONCACAF, shocking given that  CONCACAF teams won the groups that included England at the last two WCs.

  5. I guess the USA's non-qualification doesn't seem so bad now that the four-time champs have crashed out. Their WC record since winning in 2006 is abysmal. Finishing last in their group in 2010, then another first-round elimination in 2014, and now sitting home to enjoy "Un Estate Italiana" in 2018. I'll miss their anthem before the matches, but little else.  After all that went on in 2006 (De Rossi elbowing Brian McBride, the gift penalty against Australia, and Materazzi pushing Zidane over the edge), I can hardly contain my joy at what has befallen them since.

  6. Just to respond to a few of Durban's points.

    1) The world will see plenty of Pulisic's talents on the field for Dortmund and wherever else he plays in the future. He is a prodigious talent. He also makes me feel old because I saw his dad play indoors for the Harrisburg Heat.  It is a source of regional pride that someone from Central PA could make it big on the world stage.

    2) Speaking of indoor soccer, Canada's participation in Mexico 86 was really remarkable given that many of the players were playing in the MISL.  I remember reading about how FIFA banned Tino Lettieri's stuffed parrot, which he kept in the goal as a good luck charm while playing for the Minnesota Strikers.

    3) I do not feel sorry for FOX. They knew well that the only team guaranteed a spot in the World Cup is the host, which was known at the time of the bidding in 2011. They will take a hit next summer, no doubt. However, they have the rights through 2026, and a  World Cup likely headed to North America.  They will be fine in the end as this should more than make up for the US absence in 2018 and a 2022 Cup held during football season.

    4) The impact on MLS cuts both ways.  It's role in developing players for the US will be called into question, yet it's reputation for developing players in Latin America and making CONCACAF much stronger as a whole has been acknowledged. Actually I take perverse pleasure in the fact that the league which is belittled by many in the US had two of its players- Romel Quioto (Houston/Honduras) and Roman Torres (Seattle/Panama) score the goals that sealed the Americans fate,

    I agree with LatinXTC's statement about the American men's team.  I have always just sensed an arrogance through the years that they have not earned the right to display, in contrast with the women who have earned the right to be arrogant, but remain rather humble (except for Hope Solo). I would be very upset if the women would miss their World Cup, as they almost did in 2011.  The men, however, I was over it almost instantly.  I can understand the outrage of many fans as any soccer fan born after 1976 probably doesn't remember a World Cup without the US, but I remember 1982 and 1986. I also remember that nations such as England (1994), and France (1990 and 1994) have missed World Cups (albeit in the 24 team format), these things happen sometimes, especially as the competition gets tougher. US Soccer needs to take this as a wake up call and make the necessary changes moving forward or risk a repeat four years down the road.

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