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Is This Too Much to Ask from a World Cup Final?

Half-time: score tied 1-1

End of regulation: 2-2

End of overtime: Somebody wins 3-2

Also, it would be nice if Germany doesn’t play Hack-a-Shaq with Lionel Messi.

Nobody disses a Zidane!

But World Cup finals, like 1970s Super Bowls, usually turn out awful, like 1994′s 0-0 tie at the Rose Bowl that went to penalty kicks, in which the Italian star Roberto Baggio missed the entire goal from 12 paces away to hand Brazil the championship. (Here’s video: he didn’t even come close.)

Or the 2006 final in which the most respected veteran, Zinedine Zidane, got himself ejected at the crucial moment for pointlessly going all Bob Hoskins on an Italian away from play. (Video: you deserve to watch this again. It’s great. I can’t believe I got up early enough to watch this live. It was one of the all time best moments of TV watching.)

Schweinsteiger takes revenge upon Messi

So, judging from history, the final will probably consist of 120 minutes of scorelessness followed by penalty kicks in which Germany’s World Cup record setting scorer Miroslav Klose whiffs and falls down on the ball, breaking his hip.

And then needing just one penalty kick score to win the World Cup, the great Messi decides instead to hit Bastian Schweinsteiger over the head with a folding chair, and gets a red card.

Mass brawling spreads from the field to the stands to the streets. Soon all of Rio, from the favelas to the yachts, is aflame.

Blatter: “Dammit, Messi, now the Qataris want their bribes back!”

A panicked Sepp Blatter orders his motorcade to make a run for his solid gold private jet to fly him back to the FIFA Headquarters Bunker in his hollowed-out Swiss Alp, but is carjacked enroute by Vin Diesel and a reanimated Paul Walker.

The fighting in the stadium between Germans and Argentines ends only when, in an unexpected turn of events, a 125-year-old man (who has been quietly managing a Radio Shack in Rosario for the last 69 years under the name Señor Hilter) struggles out to midfield and delivers a galvanizing speech calling for peace between his two nations, so they can unite to invade Uruguay.

I’d watch that.

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121 Comments to "Is this too much to ask from a World Cup Final?"

  1. Don’t forget there’s a 3rd place game on Saturday, between Brazil and the Netherlands. That might be a good game. Brazil will have its captain Tiago Silva back (I think), and Dutch captain Robin Van Persie may be more fully recovered from his stomach ailment.

  2. Mr. Anon says:

    With all due respect, Steve, (and I have enormous respect for you)……………

    We’re Americans………………we don’t give a s**t about soccer.

  3. Well, the history teaches that 1) Germany won’t easily fold under pressure unlike Italy 2) Big Stars who are vain about their looks, especially about their coiffure, might fold under pressure and mess up the crucial penalty shot ( like Baggio and David Beckham) 3) Often times Argentinian goalie succeedes in super saves in penalty shoot out.

    Miroslav Klose doesn’t look like an overtly self conscious metrosexual poser, neither does Messi, so I predict they’ll both score in the inevitable (?) penalty shoot out – anyway I’ll root for the under dogs, so Go Argies!

  4. Jefferson says:

    What I learned from watching the 2014 World Cup is that Mario Balotelli is extremely overrated as a football player.

    Would he even get much media attention in Italia if he wasn’t Black ? If Mario Balotelli was Bianco, he would be seen as nothing special.

  5. Nick Diaz says:

    The evidence is overwhelming at this point that Sailer is a hard-headed imbecile. I wasted time of my life typing multiple paragraphs explaining how the 1994 World Cup final was a BEAUTIFUL game that displayed highly technical defensive soccer at the highest level of play, and he just regurgitates like a broken record the same dumb shit again that has been addresed and dismissed about how awful that game was because it had low scoring.

    Sailer, when will you understand that no one in the World gives a shit that soccer is a low scoring sport except you and a few other Americans? How entertaining a game is has nothing to do with the amount of scoring. In fact, too much scoring makes the game less interesting as it takes away from scoring being something special. No one cares when they score in baketball because it happens all the time.

    But you keep repeating like a moron: dur…dur…soccer is low scoring! Dur…dur…that makes it boring”.

    Soccer is VASTLY more popular than all American sports COMBINED. Put football, basketball, baseball and whatever other American sport combined, and they do not even approach the popularity of soccer. This World Cup was watched by some 4 BILLION people. That outnumbers the number of people who watch the Superbowl 20 to 1.

  6. Tom Regan says:

    Cognitive dissonance experiment for Monday at the office/school:
    When the bien-pensant soccer evangelist starts enthusing about the World Cup final, or bemoaning what they’re going to do with their nights now the World Cup is over, mention how you found it interesting that even in a world where whites are a small and rapidly shrinking minority, the World Cup final was between two almost all-white teams. Watch their enthusiasm drain away.

  7. I second what Nick Diaz said above. Seppos have no clue about soccer. If y’all had your way it’d be a network reality show called “Extreme Soccer League” where buff steroided players are encouraged to kick each other in the nuts for ratings.

  8. You’re missing out on the Argentinian commando strike on the Falklands, knocking out the Mount Pleasant airbase (making retaking the islands impossible – we haven’t the naval power any more) and timed for an hour before kick-off tomorrow. The Argies will be fired up by this news and on-pitch fighting will have begun well before penalties.

  9. Daniel says:

    @ Nick,

    You cannot expect Americans or anybody else, for that matter, to respect soccer when they resolve tied games with penalty kick shoot offs. That is akin to resolving a tied baseball game with a home run derby, a tied basketball game with a free-throw derby or a tied football game with a field goal derby. See how stupid idt is? The penalty kick resolution is so stupid that soccer fans the world over should hang their heads in shame.

    My suggestion on how to resolve tied games after regulation and overtime play is to remove one defender from each side, every 15 minutes, until the final goal is scored. Removing a defender makes it more likely that a goal will be scored while still preserving the essence of the game.

    Now, go, hang your head in shame.

  10. @Anonymous Nephew

    The fighting between Germany and Argentina in the stadium ends only when 125 year old Hitler, who has been managing a Radio Shack in Rosario, unexpectedly struggles out to midfield to give an eloquent speech calling for peace between his two nations, and war on Brazil.

  11. Georg says:

    @Nick Diaz

    Hello Nick,
    worst is that Steve wrote this post after the 7:1 !
    There are rumors that Germans scored so high
    to do a favour to Steve.
    He is so ungrateful :=)

  12. no one in the World gives a shit that soccer is a low scoring sport except you and a few other Americans?

    That is totally untrue. The English and German soccer commentariat often talk about “boring” 0-0 games in a way that Americans would never talk about the NBA or NFL. There was also a lot of positive attention in England about how the goal totals have started to edge up in the Premier League and the WC this year. Everyone wants more goals, they just don’t want American style changes to get there. The odd thing is that soccer was not a low scoring sport 60 years ago. Scores of 8-3 were not uncommon, and the Germans won the 1954 cup 3-2 (just like Steve wants). Europeans are more tolerant of low scores because individual games are not as important as they are in most American sports. In the context of positioning yourself in a tournament or trying to win the league table, low scores or ties, can actually be exciting. A tie can be a huge moral victory, or a disaster, in the context of trying to gain points on your rivals. A result is a result. It becomes a problem only in individual knock-out games, which are very few in soccer – only the finals of most tournaments and the knock-out round of the World Cup.

  13. SFG says:

    While I want to root for Germany for reasons that will largely remain obscure, an Argentina victory will give us much better Hitler parodies.

  14. @Peter Akuleyev

    Okay, so the thing about soccer is that it’s designed to be played at the mass level with countless sandlot games and hundreds of professional games around the world each week. The simplicity of the game works well at the bottom of the pyramid because it’s cheap. When you get to the very top of the pyramid, maybe the rules don’t work very well for a giant TV spectacle that Americans tune into every four years. But, in the big picture so what? Tens of millions of people are getting healthy exercise every day playing soccer and they love the sport enough to put up with World Cups that are less than a wholly optimized viewing experience.

  15. @Steve Sailer

    Soccer is a lot like golf, most of whose viewers have played the sport and can appreciate how skilled the professionals are. Neither is a sport that has been wholly revamped to make hyper-exciting television, and, on the whole, that’s a good thing.

  16. Is this too much to ask for a World Cup Final? | Reaction Times says:Website

    […] Source: Steve Sailer […]

  17. dearieme says:

    @Georg

    I like the wee Hilter ‘tache on your emoticon, georg.

  18. doombuggy says:

    I see Nick Diaz showed up to string some extreme statements together.

    Soccer is VASTLY more popular than all American sports COMBINED. Put football, basketball, baseball and whatever other American sport combined, and they do not even approach the popularity of soccer. This World Cup was watched by some 4 BILLION people. That outnumbers the number of people who watch the Superbowl 20 to 1.

    Note here that the European leagues and the NFL are somewhat equal in wealth generation. Another reminder that the world is largely filled with people who have no money. So why again should we import more of them?

  19. Daniel-

    “My suggestion on how to resolve tied games after regulation and overtime play is to remove one defender from each side, every 15 minutes, until the final goal is scored. Removing a defender makes it more likely that a goal will be scored while still preserving the essence of the game”

    This would not work, and you don’t seem to have really understood football enough to be making suggestions. What do you think a ‘defender’ is? Is it somebody who is defending, or somebody whose job title is ‘defender’?

    Supposing a few minutes before the whistle blows for full time, one of the managers takes off a striker and puts on a defender in his place–sometimes this happens due to injuries and for other reasons. Then, in extra time, the ‘defender’ who has been put on as a striker simply drops back into a defending position. The referee tells him ‘you can’t do that, your team was supposed to send a defender off.’

    To which the player replies ‘ I am a striker, but right now I’m helping out in defence.’

    How on earth is the referee supposed to ‘prove’ that he is not a striker?

  20. Hunsdon says:

    Anyone who doesn’t like the things Nick Diaz likes—-like soccer, or ‘futbol’—-is an idiot. Thanks for clearing that up.

  21. This is your strangest post since T-Paw.

  22. Hacienda says:

    I missed out on the German Panzer blitzkreig of Brazil. But that had to be fun to watch. The steely German faces. The inner schadenfreude of great teutonic discipline pummeling Brazilian mambo silliness. The busty Catholic Brazilian women in tears. Only Turkic Ozil seemed to have any mercy for which he was eaten up by the blond German goalie.

  23. Jeppo says:

    What the headlines will (hopefully) being saying Sunday night:

    GERMAN BLITZKRIEG ROLLS OVER HAPLESS ARGIES
    Angry Rioters Respond By Torching Buenos Aires

  24. Luke Lea says:

    Must say, I too am a big fan of Zinedine Zidane’s head butt. It was as if to say, some things are more important than a world cup. Soccer is just a game.

  25. Luke Lea says:

    re: “The English and German soccer commentariat often talk about “boring” 0-0 games . . .”

    Admittedly I never saw a soccer ball when I was growing up (not sure I even knew the game existed) and only became aware of the sport when my daughter played in high school (Baylor, a private school in Chattanooga with some of the nation’s best female teams through the years). It was only then that I gained an appreciation of what a good game looks like. It has little to do with score, everything to do with the quality of play displayed on a particular day. A great game is when two outstanding teams are playing at the very top of their game: all out attacking and great defense, great passing, fantastic shots, fantastic saves, few mistakes, and a close score that goes right down to the wire.

    I feel the same way about football. Those two low scoring games between Alabama and L
    su several years ago for instance were two of the most memorable and enjoyable in many decades of viewing.

  26. Jerry says:

    We will have to stay in the office downtown so that we can watch the game later, at a bar; it starts at 4am here in Hong Kong. And due to the subtropical climate, it’ll still be insufferably stuffy outside.

    One of the German players said a couple of days ago that during half-time against Brazil the team agreed in the locker room not to humiliate the Brazilians, not to go for a double-digit win. This admission itself was a further back-handed humiliation in itself, too.

  27. G. I. Joe says:

    @Mr. Anon

    So we don’t give a s**t about your obscure and weird sports.

  28. peterike says:

    Nick Diaz is one of those people that deliberately pushes out a silent-but-deadly on a crowded bus and then takes pleasure in everyone else’s discomfort. A scold, a killjoy, a frantic little man in a sailor suit, he waltzes in with his spittle flecked lips and sputters his grandiose philippics for all the world to hear, and by “hear” I mean chuckle at derisively.

    In fact, too much scoring makes the game less interesting as it takes away from scoring being something special.

    We’re talking about soccer, Nick. Why are you talking about your sex life?

    And Nick, I’m glad you’re all on board with “popularity” being the measure of all things. I guess that means we need to slam shut the border already because a great big majority of people want that to happen.

    As for low scoring games, I suppose it’s possible that there are excellent 0 – 0 games that have been played. But then there are dreadful games like the recent Dutch – Argentina game where almost nothing of interest happened for what seemed like nine hours, followed by ludicrous penalty kicks.

    As for Zidane’s moronic headbutt, well, he’s Algerian, and as such is limited in his ability to control his adolescent acting out. You can’t really blame the guy. It’s genetic.

  29. At least it isn’t the spanish tiki-taka to entertain the viewers this time round.

  30. Nick Diaz,

    So the 1994 final was a thing of beauty for knowledgeable purists. Wonderful. That doesn’t contradict Steve’s point in that it was a massive failure in its assigned goal of capturing the interest of a sizeable portion of US sportsfans for whom it was a colossal bore.

    A 3-2 score for Brazil at the half and 4-4 at the end of play finally ending up 6-5 at the end of overtime might not have thrilled lovers of defensive soccer but it probably would have encouraged a lot more US viewers to start following the game no matter how crude purists like you would have regarded all those gooooooooooooooool’s.

    In other news, ZZ’s headbutt was a thing of beauty, the timing and execution of which was the single most interesting moment in that world cup (though the Croatians were the most dramatic and expressive divers I’ve ever seen).

  31. Sebastian says:

    Would it be too much to ask that the next Stupor Bowl consist of the score being tied 14-14 at half time, 31-31 at full time, and somebody winning with a field goal on the last kick of the game?

    Well, yes, it actually would.

  32. @Nick Diaz

    In partial defense of Sailer, the soccer experts I follow on Twitter were disappointed and bored by the 0-0 semifinal.

  33. @Daniel

    Why does soccer get criticized for this and not international hockey?

  34. @Steve Sailer

    They seem to have improved the camera work in soccer recently, so you get more closeup replays from different angles. Some of the dribbling is tough to appreciate from the wide shots.

    Golf has been pretty fancy with the camera work for as long as I can remember, but the commentators are the opposite of soccer commentators.

  35. With all the homosexual narcissist crap, it seems Imelda Marcos was ahead of her time.

    “Putting on a mask on all the real problems…”

    Doesn’t that sound familiar.

    Imeldization.

  36. poolside says:

    As a soccer fan, I get disappointed when teams in big matches play defensively and refuse to attack.

    The semifinal between The Netherlands and Argentina was a perfect example of how, as the match wound down, both teams seem content to play for a draw and go to penalties.

    But I recognize that in many respects, it’s a cultural thing.

    In an American sport, most teams in that position would be pushing to score, attacking as recklessly as possible because they want to make something happen.

    In soccer, teams from Europe and South America have a more fatalistic view. They want to minimize risks and will accept a loss on penalties rather than give up a late goal. Losing by being aggressive is worse than losing due to some strange stroke of fate or God’s will.

    In fact, it’s not unusual to see players visibly praying on the touchline, something they would be ridiculed for in American sports.

    Playing defensively doesn’t necessarily make for the best television, but it’s an accepted practice around the world.

  37. Matra says:

    the 1994 World Cup final was a BEAUTIFUL game

    No it wasn’t. Steve is correct about that match.

    There were three reasons for the boring conclusion to USA 94.

    1) The Italians weren’t interested in playing. They obviously felt inferior and so played a very defensive game.

    2) Brazil were hopeless. I seem to recall everyone in the room where i was watching laughing at a hopeless attempt on goal by one of the brazilians (Cafu, I think). It is possible to break down a good defence but not when your forwards are incompetent and, possibly, out of steam.

    3) It was played in southern California. At noon. In July. One of the people i watched the match with was an Irish soccer coach and when the players came out he said they are going to have to take it easy due to the heat. Sure enough they didn’t look too energetic. The most represented league in the 1994 final was Italy’s Serie A where most matches are played in fall and winter with a disproportionate number of teams in the north of the country so they are not used to such conditions. Ever since Mexico 1970 matches have been scheduled to suit European TV.

    A fourth possible reason is simply that by July most of the players have had about two games a week since the previous September, even August, with only a brief respite just before the World Cup begins. A lot of them (apparently including Messi this year) are running on fumes.

    Why does soccer get criticized for this and not international hockey?

    The same with the way the US team qualified for the next round despite losing their final match. I’ve been astonished by the number of Americans (all of them conservatives, of course) who can’t figure that out or just ridicule it as “Un-American” or “socialist” for rewarding failure. Yet when an American sports team “backs into the playoffs” they appear to understand it. Maybe they don’t but are afraid to ask. A few years ago a team (Seattle) made it into the NFL playoffs despite a 7-9 record. Did Middle Americans need an explanation involving crayons to understand that?

  38. Georg says:

    @Dave Pinsen

    @Dave Pinsen
    “”They seem to have improved the camera work in soccer recently,””
    Not at all!
    This penomenon is just different style of camera work.
    German style is more wide shots, the English prefer
    closups.
    Other countries will have other/mixed/what ever preferences.
    This world cup is Brazilian style I guess, maybe influenced by FIFA.

  39. Lazy says:

    “We’re Americans………………we don’t give a s**t about soccer.”

    Well, I do like some of the soccer “fans.” Then again, that’s what gets me to athletic events.

  40. e says:

    @Dave Pinsen

    The sophistication in televising NFL games is very much responsible for the growth of interest in football over the decades. Hockey still suffers from a viewer’s inability to follow the puck, even with large screen televisions.

    At least with 2 and sometimes all 4 of golf’s majors, a half-way knowledgeable viewer can appreciate the golf course itself as the ultimate accomplished foe.

    Nick Diaz–try not to take it personally that Americans don’t care much –or not at all– for viewing soccer. It’s just a game, and most of the time, quite a boring one. If I were emotionally invested in a team and actually in attendance at a World Cup match, maybe the experience would be different. (BTW, yes, I’ve seen a handful of professional games in person–couldn’t get interested.)

    I say let the rest of the world keep soccer to themselves, for if it ever did become popular in high schools and colleges here, we’d beat the shyt out of every nation for the rest of time and THAT would bore the rest of the world.

  41. DPG says:

    Wow, this post was epic.

    Re: 0-0 games

    Yes, even soccer fans are often critical of 0-0 games. If you were an astute viewer, you’d notice that during some of the games, especially the tactically stifling ones like the semi between Netherlands and Argentina, fans will whistle when the ball gets played backwards too often. Whistling is the equivalent of booing in soccer. It’s the fans’ way of criticizing the teams for playing too conservatively.

    That said, soccer fans can appreciate a skillfully played 2-1 victory far more than Americans can appreciate, say, LSU beating Alabama 7-6. American sports fans, in order to get excited, generally require a roided black guy to beat an opponent with a 5 second burst of sheer athleticism, i.e. every running back and wide receiver, Lebron James, Barry Bonds, etc.

    The Spurs’ passing performance in the NBA finals is the closest thing to a high level soccer game that I’ve seen in recent American sports.

  42. Libs say the idea of ‘model minority’ is ‘pernicious’ but didn’t they vote for Obama as the ‘model minority’ ideal of what blacks should be? And don’t they prefer the small minority of black homosexuals over the straight black population because homosexual blacks are seen as ‘less threatening’?

    Indeed, homosexuals have become like the ‘model minority’ ideal for the elites. They are more into ‘progress’ through style and fashion than class rage or mass unity. Homosexuals are more about ass unity.

  43. Mr. Anon is correct. When you hear an American chatting respectably about World Cup, say with the proprietor of his favorite ethnic restaurant or his wife’s jeweler, he’s just being polite.

  44. Lex says:

    Golf on a minefield with players equipped with crosshairs and laser beams might get exciting.

  45. “Sailer, when will you understand that no one in the World gives a shit that soccer is a low scoring sport except you and a few other Americans? How entertaining a game is has nothing to do with the amount of scoring. In fact, too much scoring makes the game less interesting as it takes away from scoring being something special. No one cares when they score in baketball because it happens all the time.”

    You know, Nick D. Ass, you’re a perfect spokesman–or pokesman–for soccer. Like soccer players run around a lot, you sure bitch a lot.

    Despite all the action in soccer, there’s almost no scoring. Similarly, despite all your bitching and fuming, there’s almost no point.

    PS. And yeah, basketball would be far more interesting if the hoops were 50 ft up in the air, and there were only 5 successful shots throughout the entire game.
    Yeah, football would be a lot more interesting if the score was something like 7-0 or 0-0 in most games. Boxing would be lot more fun if, despite all the punches, only 2 landed.

    Okay, I’m being some facetious.

    In some ways, I can see the wonders of soccer. I do think it is a kind of a great sport, and I have nothing against people liking it–though I must say it bores me to tears.
    But many Americans are just more into stuff where things sort of add up over time. But maybe it’s because Americans are more into short-term or instant gain. They see an action and want to see dividends right away. They ask WHERE’S THE BEEF? American sports is like the gold rush where everyone runs to mine for gold and expects to see some right away. Or it’s like the oil rush in Texas: the promise of digging a hole in the ground and having black gold gush up.

    Soccer is like digging for gold with the knowledge that none may be found but you do it anyway out of faith, commitment, dedication, and etc. As a way of life.
    And maybe such attitude is more closer to the reality all over the world where most people never expected to find success right away or ever. Success was a long shot, so people just learned to carry on and struggle against the wind. But they never gave up since they had to keep struggling to survive. And by chance, maybe they might stumble on something big.

    America wasn’t much different in reality but the mythos of America says just about anyone can live the dream, find his piece of paradise, enjoy his great freedom, pursue happiness and find it, and etc.
    So, Americans want to see results right away.
    In contrast, soccer is about faith. Even if you, as player or audience, don’t expect much scoring, you have faith that things may somehow work out and a miraculous score will be made somehow.
    Scoring in soccer is like praying for the ‘hail mary’ in football. It’s a long shot, it’s a matter of faith, and that’s part of it is understood, which is why when a score is made, it’s like manna from heaven.

    It’s a different kind of mind-set than the kind that informs so much of American culture that is so rags-to-riches-like. American sports are controlled by man. Soccer is played in the spirit that one needs a miracle to win.

  46. How about American soccer where 6 runners must only use their feet, 2 runners can use their feet and hands, and 2 runners must only use their hands. But hands cannot be used to score.

  47. DPG says:

    I’d also note that one of the criticisms of the Spurs is that they’re kind of boring relative to other good basketball teams. A Tim Duncan highlight reel consists of a perfectly executed high-low pass for an open 3, a 10 foot jumper banked in, and a lay in after a nice pick and roll.

    On another note, I hear a lot of Americans say things like “If Lebron and our best athletes played soccer, we’d dominate.” Well, probably. But it wouldn’t be Lebron. Lebron cramped up after playing 25-30 minutes of a basketball game. There’s no way he could play 90 minutes of consistent, high level soccer. In addition, I’m not sure his center of gravity is low enough to be able to control, dribble and pass the ball in tight spaces surrounded by defenders. In soccer, you can’t pick the ball up, take four steps (yes, Lebron gets away with travels) and swing your elbows into defenders to clear out space.

    I’ve long held that the athletes that would really make good soccer players are point guards. Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Tony Parker. Having “vision”, being able to understand the spacing of the players around you and anticipate their movements, is probably the most important skill (apart from a certain requisite amount of agility/athleticism) in a soccer players. Interestingly, the Spurs team was built around Tony Parker (from soccer power France), Manu Ginobili (from soccer power Argentina), Boris Diaw (another from France), and Tim Duncan, one of the most cerebral players in the NBA. Danny Green is more of a pure shooter, who’s there to take advantage of the others’ passing. Kawhi Leonard is really the only stereotypical American athlete of pure physical giftedness.

  48. Maybe those who really like soccer don’t focus so much on scoring as the on the dynamics.

    It’s like when great teams clash, each side know the other side so well that it’s hard to gain an advantage or decisive upperhand. So, even though there’s not much scoring, one can watch all the movement, speed, coordination, and stamina–and counter-movement, counter-speed, counter-coordination, and counter-stamina–as a clashing of equals. Suppose two great armies fight and neither side scores a decisive victory. Even if there isn’t much in the way of awesome scoring, there’s still a lot of action to marvel at. It’s like the trench warfare in WWI was sometimes about inches of territory, but there was sure a lot of action, and it’s been of great interest to military historians. That was like a soccer game that went back and forth without any side gaining any kind of decisive advantage for a long time.

    Chess and Greco-Roman wrestling at high level are similar to soccer. They may be boring to most people, but for those in the know, it’s just exciting to watch top competitors–who know all the tricks, strengths, and weaknesses of the opponent and know that the other side knows the same about them–go head-to-head. Paradoxically, ‘nothing’ seems to be happening precisely because so much is happening. Both sides are good enough to defensively neutralize the best offensive charges of the other side.

    Maybe the thing with Americans is they are used to winning and trouncing opponents. It’s like what Patton said. Americans love to win and will not tolerate a loser. Americans easily won so many wars by whupping ass. Though Civil War was grueling, even that was a total decisive victory for the North. Americans whupped Mexicans and Spanish. Americans were on the decisive winning side of WWI and WWII. And Americans like to see sports that way. They like a game where one team decisively wins over the other team. But soccer usually doesn’t provide that kind of clear feeling of winnership as too many games are low-scoring or end with 0-o or 1-1 scores. There’s penalty shots but that just doesn’t seem very satisfying.

    But then, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Iraq War turned out to be drawn out soccer matches, so maybe there’s something to be learned from soccer. Americans sure can’t win like they used to.

  49. Venator says:

    Yes, an American would watch that.

  50. iSteveFan says:

    But World Cup finals, like 1970s Super Bowls, usually turn out awful, …

    Just to quibble a bit, but the 1970s Super Bowls were generally pretty good. They had the two memorable Steelers-Cowboys matchups that were highly competitive. It was the mid 1980s onward through the mid 1990s that the NFC totally dominated, and blowouts were routine.

  51. Sailer, when will you understand that no one in the World gives a shit that soccer is a low scoring sport except you and a few other Americans?

    I don’t know, Nick, I like soccer just fine the way it is, but there were changes made about 20 years ago because FIFA decided it was too low-scoring or defense-oriented or something. Remember? Instead of two points for a win and one for a tie, the scoring was changed to three for a win and one for a tie to encourage attacking and scoring.

    If you watch the English broadcast of the 1990 final between Argentina and West Germany (thanks, Youtube!), at halftime the host says, “Occasionally, world football ain’t that great, really, is it?” The one commentator agrees that the game was not “a game for spectators as such” (at 2:56). The other commentator goes on to call Argentina’s defensive style “negative” before stating, “If Germany win, football will win. We [England in the semifinal] had a difficult game with them, but at least both sides really attacked, and I think it was probably one of the best games of the tournament.”

    By the way, Steve, Argentina finished with 9 players on the field after one player received a straight red and another got a red after first being cautioned for dissent.

  52. @DPG

    Steve Nash played a lot of soccer for fun during off-seasons. In general, though, outside of point guards and the occasional small shooting guard like Allen Iverson, wouldn’t most NBA players only have a chance at goalie? What position did Olajuwon play at home in Nigeria?

    In general, American sports don’t provide enough opportunity for average sized men the way soccer does. NFL running backs can be short, but they have to be wide. Heck, golfers these days tend to be at least 6 feet and around 200 pounds. The top ranked American tennis player lately is 6’9″.I imagine short wiry American guys who are extremely agile now tend to go into X-Game type sports.

  53. @Matra

    The 1994 Rose Bowl final was only 81 degrees:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_FIFA_World_Cup_Final

    That’s one reason why Pasadena was chosen out of the whole country for the Final: low humidity and temperatures aren’t necessarily super high in July, although the Coliseum in South Central has even nicer weather, but it’s in South Central.

    But 81 is still scorching for European soccer players, just like the Summer Olympic Marathon is usually way too hot for good times.

  54. M_Young says:

    “The fighting in the stadium between Germans and Argentines ends only when, in an unexpected turn of events, 125-year-old Señor Hilter, who has been quietly managing a Radio Shack in Rosario, struggles out to midfield and delivers an eloquent speech calling for peace between his two nations, and war on Uruguay.”

    Tour de force…piece de resistance, Schwerpunkt, olé olé olé.

  55. Svigor says:

    Soccer is VASTLY more popular than all American sports COMBINED.

    And big macs are VASTLY more popular than good steak, Howard Stern is VASTLY more popular than a hard news show, etc.

    I second what Nick Diaz said above.

    Birds of a feather. If I had my way, I wouldn’t watch soccer. And I do, so I don’t. I don’t care what changes they make, or don’t, either. Really seems to bum you guys out that many Americans aren’t interested in soccer.

    Hello Nick,
    worst is that Steve wrote this post after the 7:1 !
    There are rumors that Germans scored so high
    to do a favour to Steve.
    He is so ungrateful :=)

    The funny thing about that is that the take-home point was how awful the 7 to 1 final was. If the sports press wanted to play it that way, who are we to stop them?

  56. I love the Beautiful Game.
    I also love Havin’ It My Way and things that are built Ford Tough.

    I live my life on my own terms. You could say that I “Just Do It”.

  57. You know football, compared to your throwball, has a higher scoring average per game?

    (If you compare total scores to only one team in pointyball and don’t count field goals or any scoring other than touchdowns.)

    It’s The Beautiful Game, you know. A lot of you might not know that. I’m probably just more sophisticated and sensitive to billion dollar advertising campaigns than you.

    The Beautiful Game really is beautiful when you think about. I also got to say that I’m Lovin It with the new McDonald’s menu. And the new Transformers movie really is More Than Meets The Eye.

  58. Danindc says:

    I’ve enjoyed the World Cup and have since 1990. What I can’t stand is the flopping and fake injuries. Have some self respect pussyboys.

  59. I didn’t use to like soccer, or futbol as we fans of The Beautiful Game call it, but then the largest corporations on the planet like Disney-ABC-ESPN, McDonalds, Visa, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Emirates, Sony, Budweiser, Castrol, MoyPark, Yingu, Johnson and Johnson, and KIA Motors spent billions of dollars trying to convince me to like it and, I gotta tell you, I started to like it.

    I can never quite put my finger on why I started to like the most heavily marketed sporting event on the planet. I think it was the cosmopolitan sophistication of The Beautiful Game that attracted me.

    It feels so underground and authentic! It’s like how BMW really is, if you think about it, the Ultimate Driving Experience.

  60. e says:

    The AFL is responsible for taking an already beloved NFL and transforming pro football into the National Pastime, stealing that title from baseball.

    The offensive game is simply more exciting football. That doesn’t mean defensive giants can’t win. Think of the boring Tampa Bay Bucs that won the Super Bowl–a horrid offensive team, but a defensive team that was so good it often gave the ball to its offense deep in an opponent’s territory and all the offense had to do was score 3 field goals to win. The older Ravens, pre-Joe Flacco, come to mind. I won’t say the Steelers because they actually had good offenses to go with their defense.

    The point is, the NFL can withstand having a couple of great defensive teams with mediocre offenses, can put up with an occasional Super Bowl team arising from such defenses, but were more teams like those old Bucs, America wouldn’t be happy with the NFL.

    However, what usually happens in a division where a team dominates others with its defense is that general managers counter by signing high-powered offensive players and by hiring coaches to come up with new offensive strategies. The league helps that along by tweaking the rules as well.

    When offenses become too overpowering, teams draft defensive stars and the cycle repeats itself.

    Result: Americans love the NFL.

  61. @Nick Diaz

    Jeepers, Nick, for someone writing in defense of low-scoring games (and Harvey Haddix pitched one of the best, never forget), you sure seem intent on running up the score of points against Steve. All of which were irrelevant, as, other than a brief mention of “scorelessness” in a hypothetical match, he never alluded to scoring at all.

    Can someone explain that low scoring might not be a problem per se, but might lead to more matches ending in a draw, which in a knock-out like the World Cup, means deciding results by the equivalent of batting practice, or H-O-R-S-E.

    But at least that’s an improvement on drawing lots, which is what they used to do.

  62. HEL says:

    Why is is that so many soccer fans spaz out like little girls whenever people mock the sport? It’s bizarre. Steve’s sports posts regularly bring in people whining about sports generally, or basketball or football in particular, and nobody ever throws a hissyfit in response. The funny part is, as various other have pointed out, the sort of things non-soccer fans whine about are mostly the kind of things soccer fans whine about too, albeit less aggressively. The 2010 World Cup drew an enormous amount of justified criticism for the excessively conservative/defensive tactics. This touchiness kinda reminds me blacks, actually. Amongst themselves they’ll acknowledge their numerous problems, but if any non-black ever points these things out, oh no!, we gotta circle the wagons!

    I’ve watched hundreds of games from soccer/football/hockey/basketball each, and the reality is that soccer has much a greater standard deviation in terms of how entertaining the games are. The best soccer games are magnificent, but there’s a non-trivial proportion of them are boring in a way that other major sports almost never are. (I exclude baseball from the analysis cause I don’t watch it.) The general slowness is actually part of the appeal–it makes the overt action more exciting. And you have to learn to be interested in near chances, rather than actual goals or even shots. Still, soccer also has more common and longer swathes where very little is actually happening, and high-stakes situations cause teams to shut the offense down in ways that never happen in other sports. These are quite reasonable criticisms.

    Though I guess the real reason why so many soccer fans are hysterics just occurred to me: for many American soccer fans, they view being a soccer fan the way other people view being a fan of their particular team. Following the sport as a whole is their tribal identity. No one in America gives a shit about being perceived as a basketball/baseball/football/hockey fan, but not so for soccer. Being a soccer fans makes me sophisticated, sophisticated like a drunken third world peasant with an elementary school education! Don’t you deny it!

  63. @HEL

    It doesn’t annoy me that my posts on golf bring out comments derisive of golf. You either get the appeal of golf or you don’t, and most of the criticisms of the game from people who don’t get it are quite reasonable.

  64. Sam says:

    Could Steve enlighten us on the HBD aspect of soccer?

    Tried looking through David Epstein’s The Sports Gene but there wasn’t too much. I’m thinking in terms of the ideal body type, etc.

  65. @Enemy of the Empire

    I imagine Löw will start Klose in the Final, just like he did in the Semi, and that means Klose will be substituted for in the second half and won’t be eligible to kick in the penalty shootout.

  66. @Sam

    My commenters would be far more expert than I am. In general, soccer seems to accommodate a variety of body types. Lionel Messi is 5’7″ and kind of wide; Cristiano Ronaldo is 6’1″ and well-built, like a somewhat smaller version of Tim Tebow; Zlatan Ibrahimovic is 6’5″; and Neymar is 5’9″ and slender. Ronaldo looks like the kind of guy who piles up huge statistics as a high school and maybe college quarterback, but isn’t quite tall enough to make it in the NFL.

    Soccer is like baseball used to be, but even in baseball big galoots have come to dominate. At least in baseball the amateur draft goes on for dozens of rounds because you can’t just take one look at somebody and tell if they are MLB material. In contrast, the NBA only bothers to hold two rounds of its draft because most of humanity is too short to make it in the NBA. The NFL is in between with about 7 rounds (?) because much of humanity isn’t large enough for the NFL.

    Olympic sports have become weirdly specialized by body type too, which means that a lot of Olympians look kind of funny. So the Olympics as a whole are open to a lot of body shapes, but specific events are not. Ronaldo would be normal looking for a pole vaulter or a decathlete, but those events stand out these days because the competitors still look like old fashioned all-around athletes.

  67. Jefferson says:

    “Libs say the idea of ‘model minority’ is ‘pernicious’ but didn’t they vote for Obama as the ‘model minority’ ideal of what blacks should be?”

    Not many White liberals got behind Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton when they both ran for president. I wonder why ?

  68. @Dave Pinsen

    International hockey doesn’t have as big a following from the annoying SWPL faction.

    And they tend to score more often.

  69. Brutusale says:

    You’re so right about Olympic athletes, Steve. I missed it when bobsledders went from Willie Gault-sized to middle linebackers!

  70. Sam says:

    @Steve Sailer

    I’m a big fan of soccer but haven’t been able to find any particular body type either. Whenever I try to think of one body type that could be typical I’m reminded of another that fits just as well. I guess soccer is really diverse in this respect.

    I know you’re not fluent in the game but what about mental abilities? I remember that in Basket blacks do well because they excel in those split second decisions but football is not nearly as fast. On the other hand the most appealing players to me when I started to watch NBA was Jason Kidd and Steve Nash because they most resemble the most entertaining/aesthetic aspect of soccer which is the playmaker.
    So I wonder how much IQ matters in soccer. Maradona never seemed that bright and the most aristocratic of football players, Totti, was known for being a bit ditzy.

  71. @Sebastian

    The best Super Bowl in the last few years was in 2008. The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots with a score of 17 to 14. That is a total of 4 touchdowns and one field goal, which is roughly like a 2.5-2 score in a soccer game.

    All the Super Bowl scores since that game:
    Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23
    New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17
    Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 25
    New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17
    Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31
    Seattle 43, Denver 8

    As I recall, all of these games were exciting, except for last year’s Seattle-Denver debacle.

    For the sake of comparison to soccer, let’s scale those final scores to soccer scores by dividing them by 7 and rounding to the nearest half point (can’t round them too much):
    4-3.5
    4.5-2.5
    4.5-3.5
    3-2.5
    5-4.5
    6-1

    I don’t think anyone wants soccer games to have 80+ scores (as in basketball), but a final score where each team scores 2-4 points on average would give the viewers a better appreciation that skillful offense is being rewarded.

    Also, no Super Bowl has ever gone to overtime.

    Another point of interest: the National Hockey League is always tweaking the rules to encourage more scoring, but their goal is to attract American fans. Soccer doesn’t seem to be as worried about that.

  72. James says:

    Steve, Cristiano Ronaldo is not built like Tim Tebow at all. Ronaldo has little mass and is not broad shouldered like Tebow.

  73. @Steve Sailer

    If I had to guess, I think most kids who would have the physical potential to be great soccer players in the US go into football. And most of those kids are probably excellent football players in high school, and average football players in college. Some of them probably play in the NFL. But if they had concentrated on soccer from an early age, they could have become superstars. But that’s all just a guess.

  74. @a Newsreader

    Many great soccer players, such as Neymar and Beckham, are too gracile to be NFL players, other than kickers. They’d simply get broken. That strikes me as, on the whole, being in favor of soccer.

  75. @a Newsreader

    The most memorable World Cup game I’ve watched, leaving aside embarrassments to the sport like Baggio’s and Zidane’s, was England’s 3-2 quarterfinal win in 1990 over Cameroon with supersub 38-year-old Roger Mila.

  76. @Sam

    We’re biased in the U.S. because we’re most exposed to British soccer stars, and soccer has been more downscale in Britain than in other countries. But yeah, famous soccer players don’t seem all that bright.

  77. Jones says:

    @Sam

    Blacks are quick and fast physically, but they tend to have slower reaction times than other races.

  78. @Steve Sailer

    That’s interesting. How much diversity in body types is there in soccer? Perhaps the US suffers from a dearth of “average” players, those role player types who do their jobs and allow the stars to take risks. I really don’t know enough about soccer to say whether stars like Neymar and Beckham tend to mix it up in the physical part of the game, or whether they tend to shine in situations where they don’t get hit as often (e.g. free kicks, corner kicks, brakeaways, etc.).

    Hockey example: Wayne Gretzky was pretty slight, but he was protected by his far bulkier teammates.

    I bet a lot of high school football players would be as lanky as certain soccer superstars if they didn’t train for and play football. These kids don’t make it into the NFL, but they play football because they’re good enough for high school football and that’s what you play if you want to date a cheerleader.

    It’s not very hard for teenage boys to put on significant mass in the weight room and look nothing like typical soccer players. All it takes is heavy squats and a lot of milk.

  79. Sebastian says:

    many Americans are just more into stuff where things sort of add up over time. But maybe it’s because Americans are more into short-term or instant gain.

    To use a movie analogy, America sports fans are like the fans of high body count action or horror movies, while other countries sports fans are like fans of plot heavy dramas. Some people can see “Vertigo” and think it’s a brilliant film while other will respond with “The body count was just way too low! It was all build-up and no pay-off!”

  80. Hacienda says:

    @Steve Sailer

    The top ranked American tennis player lately is 6’9

    —————

    They used to call it the “goon menace in tennis” when tennis transitioned in height from the Borg McEnroe era to Becker, Ivanisovich. Players under 6″ could win majors and even 5’7″ could win tournaments. No more.

    I thought tennis was left for dead, but did a search on Google and found tennis is enormously popular outside the US. Much bigger than golf actually. It’s the top non-team sport in the world by far. And about 5 overall. Don’t really understand what’s happened to this sport in the US.

  81. Eric says:

    @Daniel

    How about no offsides in extra time?

  82. Peter says:Website

    @Steve Sailer

    In general, American sports don’t provide enough opportunity for average sized men the way soccer does. NFL running backs can be short, but they have to be wide. Heck, golfers these days tend to be at least 6 feet and around 200 pounds. The top ranked American tennis player lately is 6’9″.I imagine short wiry American guys who are extremely agile now tend to go into X-Game type sports.

    Consider baseball. Players used to be average-sized, maybe a bit larger, but today most of them are big men. For instance, of the 25 players on the New York Mets (chosen merely because it’s the closest team to me), only three are under 6 feet tall, and they are 5-10, 5-11 and 5-11.

  83. Sebastian says:

    My commenters would be far more expert than I am. In general, soccer seems to accommodate a variety of body types.

    What separates the top soccer players from the rest is not physicality or a certain body type (or at least not physicality of the sort Americans are used to) but (1) the ability to read the game and (2) skill, which is more a mental thing than a physical one.

  84. DFB says:

    @Steve Sailer

    You can win with different body types in soccer (within reason). Most of Germany’s squad is well over 6 feet tall tall and kind of brawny without extra “padding”. Spain, which dominated the last cycle, is mostly little guys in the 5-7 to 5-9 range. But most elite soccer players, Messi and Neymar notwithstanding, tend to fairly brawny 6-foot + types, especially the forwards and centerbacks.

  85. gu says:

    @Steve Sailer

    Wouldn’t Ronaldo get crushed if he ever played QB? Most QBs are much more massive than him.

    I would peg him as a middling WR or as a rather unagile CB.

  86. DFB says:

    @James

    Was Cristiano Ronaldo benching from a young age and taking PEDs like Tebow to increase his bulk? I doubt it.
    I bet in many respects Ronaldo would be faster and more agile than Tebow. But that’s not the point. The point is skill. Tebow is an excellent athlete but lacks skill for his chosen position in his sport.
    Whereas Ronaldo is a an excellent athlete and has great skill for his sport.

  87. gu says:

    @Peter

    “The top ranked American tennis player lately is 6’9″”

    American generally compete by being serve bots so, that’s no suprise.

    Genuine contenders are between 6’1” and 6’3” though.

  88. DFB says:

    @Sam

    No, West African do well in basketball because they’re built for it. They have longer arms and bigger hands, in addition to more explosive muscle fiber and lower body fat. All of these factors in combination confer an enormous advantage in getting rebounds, getting your shot off, blocking others’ shots, getting steals, dribbling, and making fast cuts to the basket. Also, the game, particularly in the U.S., is structured to favor the great anaerobic/poor aerobic capabilities of West Africans with lots of time outs and other breaks in play.

  89. gu says:

    @Sam

    Not taller than 6’5”, not shorter than 5’6”. Not too massive (drains endurance), not too frail (strength matters). The shorter you are, the more athleticism/talent is needed to compensate. Should have a respectable 40 yard dash, but beyond that it’s diminishing returns for many (unless they have talent).

    Messi is fairly agile/quick is outrageously talented and very clutch. His balance is phenomenal too.

    CR is a burner (he’s fast), solid body but nothing special, good skills on the ball and merciless scorer.

    Ibrahimovic is also implausibly skilled and physically imposing.

    I haven’t watched enough from Neymar but his speed is certainly impressive and his skills are fairly obvious.

  90. The problem with soccer is that unlike most American sports an inferior team can play conservatively and end up with a 0-0 tie and win on PKs. Or a team can get ahead 1-0, then go in full defensive mode and squeak out a win.

    In baseball, you can’t “sit on a lead”, you have to pitch the ball to the opposition for 9 innings no matter what the score. In basketball, you have to shoot every 24 seconds, in Football you can try to sit on a lead and ‘grind out the clock’ – but that can easily backfire, and once the other team gets the ball, you have to stop them. In hockey, you can play defensively but good luck on trying to sit on a 1-0 lead.

    And almost no football team gets ahead 7-0, and then goes into defensive mode and tries squeaks out a win. (And no, I don’t care about the 1 in 1000 team that did so).

    It probably be more interesting if, after the score is tied in regulation, soccer teams played the next 5 minutes with 11, the next 5 minutes with 10, the next 5 with 9 an so on, until someone scored. Certainly better than PKs.

  91. Hunsdon says:

    Rugby. Rugby’s where it’s at, in terms of professional sports. It avoids the set-piece battle aspect of American football, and if you take a dive, everyone just laughs at you. Very limited substitution, long games with lots of time spent moving around. Not for everyone, but I enjoy it. I should probably get back to watching it one of these days.

    New Zealand haka

  92. Hunsdon says:

    Further to my last. Scotland v. USA at rugby, last month.

  93. Lurker says:

    Skyislander – They may be boring to most people, but for those in the know, it’s just exciting to watch top competitors–who know all the tricks, strengths, and weaknesses of the opponent and know that the other side knows the same about them–go head-to-head. Paradoxically, ‘nothing’ seems to be happening precisely because so much is happening. Both sides are good enough to defensively neutralize the best offensive charges of the other side.

    Which put me in mind of this:

    World Stare-Out Championship

  94. James says:

    @DFB

    I don’t think Tebow took PEDs and there’s no evidence of it. Tebow is a fervent Christian who publicly announced he was a virgin.

    The point here isn’t skill. Steve said that Ronaldo is built like Tebow. Tebow is 6’3″ and almost 240 lbs.

  95. Jack says:

    “Genuine contenders are between 6’1” and 6’3” though.”

    Yes. The 6’8 tennis players can overpower mediocre players with serves, but they never seem to be able to win majors. The best players need to move and return better than the 6’8 guys can.

    Lacrosse, which is obscure in much of the country but gaining popularity rapidly among youth, seems to select for 5’10 to 6’2 guys with both strength and speed. Kind of like hockey.

  96. John says:

    @Peter

    That would put the Mets at above average height, but not as “big men”. Most of the players hover around 6′, 6’1, 6’2. That’s a bit tall, a bit above average, not “big men”. 6’4″, 6’5″ and up is what could be considered “big men”, height wise.

  97. Anonymous says:

    Would it be too much to ask that in the next Super Bowl the center snaps the ball to the quarterback on the first play from scrimmage making a fool of himself?

  98. Dumbo says:

    The only good thing about the end of the world cup is that the constant and annoying soccer-bashing by Americans, and particularlt by iSteve, will end. It’s unlikely that Americans (or iSteve) will ever get soccer. Then again, I care very little about American football or golf. So all is well, to each his own.

  99. Mr. Anon says:

    “G. I. Joe says:

    @Mr. Anon

    So we don’t give a s**t about your obscure and weird sports.”

    Neither do I. I consider football and basketball to be the opiates of the masses.

    I’m glad to see that you resist American cultural imperialism……………Mr. G.I. Joe.

  100. Mr. Anon says:

    “peterike says:

    Nick Diaz is one of those people that deliberately pushes out a silent-but-deadly on a crowded bus and then takes pleasure in everyone else’s discomfort. A scold, a killjoy, a frantic little man in a sailor suit, he waltzes in with his spittle flecked lips and sputters his grandiose philippics for all the world to hear, and by “hear” I mean chuckle at derisively. ”

    Nick Diaz is the soccer of isteve commenters – interminable, boring, and pointless.

  101. Mr. Anon says:

    Dumbo says:

    The only good thing about the end of the world cup is that the constant and annoying soccer-bashing by Americans, and particularlt by iSteve, will end.”

    Not to mention the endless gassing on by American SWPLs about how awesome the World Cup is. American interest in soccer is little more than status-whoring.

  102. For those who have not seen it, check out the hilarious twitter parody of Salon that I honestly can’t tell the difference from the real salon account.

    Twitter.com/salondotcom

    It is so well done that I wonder if Patton Oswalt is doing it bc it reminds me a lot of his twitter war with them last year. It is very, very well done and has me laughing hard.

  103. Anonym says:

    Is it really that surprising that SWPL, who are almost never jocks, like soccer? The big American sports (NFL, NBA) generally require huge size or height to be competitive at the top level. Soccer is the sort of sport where a guy who is 5’7″ can be the best in the world in 2014. The height and builds of the players are a lot more representative of the average male, or at least the average male in his teens or twenties. This has a lot to do with the lack of timeouts, the need to run around the field, and the fact that the ball is on the ground most of the time where everyone can reach it with their feet and extra height makes it harder to change direction.

    There are still a lot of attributes that the top players have that put them so far to the right of the bell curve that it makes it impossible for the rest of us to compete with them, but they aren’t really obvious ones like height and size.

  104. G. I. Joe says:

    @DFB

    “No, West African do well in basketball because they’re built for it. They have longer arms and bigger hands, in addition to more explosive muscle fiber and lower body fat. All of these factors in combination confer an enormous advantage in getting rebounds, getting your shot off, blocking others’ shots, getting steals, dribbling, and making fast cuts to the basket. Also, the game, particularly in the U.S., is structured to favor the great anaerobic/poor aerobic capabilities of West Africans with lots of time outs and other breaks in play.”

    Only because a certain ethnic group dominates the sport in USA, it doesn’t mean that it also possesses the best physical qualities. We know very well that US whites regularly vacate sports that US blacks enter in big numbers and then invent various genetic reasons for their dominance.

    The most important physical quality for basketball is height and US blacks are currently only moderately tall by European standards (and they have been falling more and more backwards, because Europeans have already caught up on the 50-years’ advance that USA had in this regard). And in comparison with the tallest European nations, even differences in arm span are quite negligible. Furthermore, at 200 cm, you really don’t need any extraterrestial leaping ability to reach the basket.

  105. Sam says:

    @Honesthughgrant
    “The problem with soccer is that unlike most American sports an inferior team can play conservatively and end up with a 0-0 tie and win on PKs. Or a team can get ahead 1-0, then go in full defensive mode and squeak out a win.”

    I guess this is one of those examples where an American will interpret something, that is considered a strenght by soccer fans, to be a disadvantage. Part of the appeal of soccer is the idea of the “smash and grab”. Take the a now legendary soccer match like Barcelona vs Inter in the Champions League semifinal. Inter gets a red card and the coach decides to defend the entire game by simply shooting the ball away every time and give Barcelona the ball. It was a breakthrough in tactics because Inter went with keeping their defensive shape and ended up with a measly and recordbreaking 13-15 % ball possession. It was amazingly tense to watch and some of the best games in soccer are when a small team grabs a goal out of nothing(a counter, long shot, corner/free kick) and decides to defend. Then you have one long assault on the other team. Like powerplay but for 60-70 mins or so. If soccer was a high scoring game then it would clearly favor bigger teams who would have space for their star players to shine. Look at Costa Rica who were probably the most likely team to not qualify from their group at this World Cup because they were in the group of death. They had 2-3 players known players at most but through incredible defending and tactical disciplin they went to the quarterfinal and went out on penalties. One of the great World Cup stories of all time.

    @DFB
    I get that blacks of West African descent have a physical advantage but I recall reading that they had a mental one as well. I think it was from a Sailer article.

    @a Newsreader
    The good thing about soccer is also that different body types are in demand depending on the style and fashions of the time. In early 2000′s creative and slight central midfielders were starting to go extinct. Instead teams sought out big strong, athletic midfielders(often black) that followed in the mould of the French national team.By 2008 Guardiola would take over Barcelona and build his dynasty team around very small Spaniards essentially rehabilitating the type of players from an earlier period. And Guardiola was the best example of one of those players who fell behind times in the 2000′s and retired into coaching.

  106. @Steve Sailer

    The German national players do seem fairly bright, on the whole. And Klinsmann, who of course comes from the same soccer tradition, has even said he takes IQ into account when selecting for the US national team. Germans seem ahead of the curve at realizing that tactics, training and preparation can beat a team of superior natural athletes.

  107. For all this talk about tactical defensive brilliance, it is good to remember that the point of the game ultimately is to score, and that the team with the most goals wins. This is why they have to go to a penalty shoot-out to decide the match.

    But if tactical defense really is the point of the game, perhaps a solution to tournament matches that end in ties (esp. 0-0 ties) “a.e.t.” is to have a panel of judges to award the victory based on skill exhibited during play.

  108. poolside says:

    Soccer doesn’t HAVE to be a low-scoring game. As we saw in the group stages of the World Cup, these teams are capable of scoring goals at a higher clip when they push players forward and play more aggressively.

    It’s just that when the stakes are high, the tendency to play very conservatively and hope for the best is the route many managers take.

    Last night’s mid-season MLS matches featured scores of 3-3, 4-2, 4-1 and 3-1.

  109. e says:

    I hear Brazil lost. I’m glad. Didn’t Nick Diaz say he lived in Brazil for a while?

  110. Georg says:

    A constant
    in this (and similar) thread discussions is the bashing of soccer by
    some Americans. They obviously do not understand it, so they should
    not watch nor make silly proposals to “improve” it.
    What is the real problem? Is there too much soccer on TV during
    World Championship? Do those narrowminded provincialists
    fear soccer will take over America?
    Do not fear: US will never adopt a mass sport/game where the have to
    compete worldwide.

  111. Matra says:

    Steve Sailer: Steve Nash played a lot of soccer for fun during off-seasons.

    He seriously considered a career in soccer instead of basketball. At 6ft 3 he’s not too tall to play soccer at a high level. His younger brother, Martin, played professionally in low tier leagues and is currently an assistant coach.

    Someone above mentioned being surprised to learn that tennis is still big outside the US. Actually it is bigger than ever just about everywhere, though especially so in Europe. The only places where it is no longer as big as it was during the early 80s are the US, Germany, and possibly Australia. I heard one of the commentators saying that the US is the only country in the world where women’s tennis gets better ratings than that of the men. I’m guessing that is due to a lot of black people tuning in just to see the Williams sisters. (There are only two non-whites in the men’s top 20 – one half black Frenchman whose father played Steve’s favourite sport, handball, professionally and one Japanese).

  112. Another great thing about being a fan of The Beautiful Game ™ is that we finally get to cheer for white people — while still feeling all Diverse and self-satisfied. It’s amazing, we get to cheer for white people and nobody calls us a racist. Not sure how soccer, or futbol as we fans of The Beautiful Game ™ call it, gets away with it — but golf, motorsport, tennis, and baseball really should ask them for tips

    (Just don’t tell anyone about the cheering for white people bit.)

  113. I like soccer, but I consider a match of two defensive teams playing a goalless draw usually boring. World Cup finals usually sport two defensive teams (nobody willing to risk anything), so they are usually boring even with the odd goal here and there.

    This World Cup final is so far highly enjoyable in spite of the goallessness, though, because at least the Germans play offensive style and the Argentine counterattacks are also very good (and at least as dangerous as the German attacks). There at least two or three clear scoring opportunities for the Argentines, and at least one such opportunity for the Germans. Even though there are no goals, this is exciting.

  114. Colt says:

    @Dumbo

    Yes, you’re absolutely right. Americans will never be able to meet the cognitive demands of a game played and enjoyed by millions of Third World morons and will thus never “get” soccer.

  115. “Is it really that surprising that SWPL, who are almost never jocks, like soccer?”

    I don’t think they really like the game. They like the brand. It’s like most SWPL are not homo and surely would not enjoy a lot of homo stuff, but they like how the whole homo thing has been branded as ‘hip’, ‘cool’, and ‘progressive’.

    Also, the socio-political worth of a thing is judged not only by how much your side likes it(or is supposed to like it) but how much it is disliked by the other side.
    Since the ‘evil racist homophobic cons’ are seen as being against ‘gay marriage’, SWPL fools feel they must like the homo agenda and all its brand even more.

    In a way, Ann Coulter did a great thing for soccer among SWPL. Before she opened her mouth, no one really knew or cared about what Conservatives thought of the sport. But since Ann opened her mouth and soccer has been branded as the ‘game that conservatives hate’, it’s become more popular–at least as a brand–among Liberals. But do they really really like it as a sport? Do most conservatives really hate the sport? Probably not. I’v always been live-and-let-live neutral about it.

    It’s the same thing with Nascar. Many conservatives have no use for it but they have a fondness for its brand as the ‘sport disliked by Liberals and ignored by the NY Times’.

    Anyway, the impression that I got from Alt Right-sphere is that some guys on the Right have a soft spot for soccer since it is still a substantially white game.

  116. @Honesthughgrant

    The problem with soccer is that unlike most American sports an inferior team can play conservatively and end up with a 0-0 tie and win on PKs.

    Well, such inferior teams are usually not much inferior. A real shitty team needs a whole lot of luck to do that. Have you seen matches between a real shitty team and a real good one?

  117. “Well, such inferior teams are usually not much inferior. A real shitty team needs a whole lot of luck to do that. Have you seen matches between a real shitty team and a real good one?”

    Yeah OK. So if you’re really bad enough, you can’t grind out a 0-0 tie and win on PKs. But that doesn’t mean that an inferior team can’t beat a better team by doing it.

    Anyhow, I’m glad Germany won. It was a 1-0 game, but a well played and exciting one. It was certainly better than a 7-1 blowout.

  118. Sebastian says:

    The problem with soccer is that unlike most American sports an inferior team can play conservatively and end up with a 0-0 tie and win on PKs.

    You seem not to know very much about American sports if you think that they do not have upsets where inferior teams beat superior teams. Buffalo beating New England in the NFL for example. That’s part of the appeal of sports in general. If the “superior teams” always beat the “inferior” ones then there would be no point in playing the games.

  119. Sebastian says:

    “Is it really that surprising that SWPL, who are almost never jocks, like soccer?”

    The insinuation there is that the sort of people who like NFL or NBA games are “jocks”, which is a crock. The typical American sports fan is an overweight lard-ass who watches too much TV. Of course that’s largely true of sports fans in general, but it seems to be predominantly fans of the American sports who imagine that sitting on their ass watching football and basketball makes them some sort of virile, masculine “jock”.

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