The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


July 2, 2014

Column: U.S. results hardly worth celebrating

ENID, Okla. — I told myself I would not write any more columns about the World Cup. What I really should have told myself is to learn to do what others have done: not listen to me.  With that, here are some final (maybe) thoughts and memories about the World Cup.

Progress? Many have gushed over the level of progress the U.S. team showed in this edition of the World Cup. Progress must be a synonym for stagnation for some folks, considering the U.S. was eliminated in the round of 16 in 2014, just as it was in 2010.

Winning is overrated. High-fiving following a loss to Germany was troubling enough, almost as troubling as the fact winning one out of four games somehow equates to a great run. Congratulations USA soccer, with that winning percentage you now are the Milwaukee Bucks of World Cup.

Freeze frame. This past weekend brought some much needed rain. It also meant interrupting the satellite TV signal during the telecast of World Cup soccer. Funny thing was it took several minutes before I realized the screen had actually frozen.

• Most boring. A poll taken prior to the U.S. match versus Belgium on Tuesday revealed 70 percent of Americans were watching the World Cup “not closely” or “not at all.” And a plurality called the sport the “most boring to watch.”  The underlying wisdom of Americans will always win out.

Get tough … like a Belgian. After the U.S. lost to Belgium, several analysts and commentators opined Belgium displayed something the U.S. needed to show: toughness. You know your team is in trouble when the Belgians are considered your paradigm of toughness. Belgium, after all is France lite. As one media colleague opined, General Patton is spinning in his grave at the very idea.

Wasted effort. It was alleged by German magazine Der Spiegel that the team from Cameroon threw its games at the World Cup. They were considered such a non-factor that it was the equivalent of the Jacksonville Jaguars conspiring to ensure they would not make the NFL playoffs last season.  Would anybody have noticed?

The Beautiful Game? Beyond the alleged Cameroon game-fixing allegations, we were treated to a player known to be a serial-biter taking a chomp out of an opponent’s shoulder and at last count the flops-to-goals ratio stood at roughly 2,127 to 4. But rest assured, FIFA will remedy matters once it extricates itself from the apparent fact their awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar is so rife with bribery that its main sponsors are threatening to boycott. 

Yes, the World Cup is not over yet, but, with the U.S. out, we can get back to more important things like obsessing over college football uniforms and clearing the lint from the dryer vent.

Ruthenberg is sports editor at the News & Eagle. Contact him at

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