Argentina 4-0 USA.
You know what the problem with this scoreline is? This.
Stuart Holden. Aly Wagner. Alexi Lalas. All former US internationals. All current Fox Sports pundits. Every single one of them talking and talking and talking for the past five days about this game, making the hype for it ratchet up and up and up and up until it got to epic proportions leading up to the moment tonight where all three of them picked us to beat Argentina.
That’s called overhyping something that will not deliver.
I knew from the moment Argentina beat Venezuela to set up this match that we were going to lose it. I just did. Argentina are vastly superior to us in every way when it comes to the sport of football/soccer. They are arguably the best team in the world at the moment (I’m not entirely sure I think those FIFA rankings are right.) and they have arguably the best player of all time on their roster, Lionel Messi. Now if you know me, you know I prefer Cristiano Ronaldo, but that doesn’t mean I discount Messi’s talents for a second. He’s extraordinarily gifted and can do things with a football that I can’t believe sometimes. Trying to tell an entire country that we’re going to beat a team like that, not that maybe we’ll beat them, or that you’ve got to go into this knowing the gulf in class between the two teams? That’s just hurting the game in this country. I’m sorry, but it is.
I am sick and tired of these sort of highlight games turning into an event for American soccer. It certainly does on Twitter. So many people I follow who have absolutely nothing to do with sports were tweeting about it. And in a way that’s great. But all the overhyping of this match makes people think we’re better than we are, and so all these people on Twitter think we’re better than we are and we’re going to beat Argentina, and it just makes it worse when we get our asses kicked. I am so frustrated with people who only watch these highlight games turning into “EXPERTS” who know what’s wrong with the team or the formation or the coach or anything. You don’t have a clue, assholes. Try watching every game. Did you watch the SnoClassico? Do you even know what it is? How about how we’re doing in the Hex? What about that? Huh? About the only thing that makes me more angry when we’re playing a game is the tweets from Americans actively cheering against our team. Oh, we’re playing Argentina tonight? Then vamos Argentina! Fuck off. I don’t care if you prefer Germany or Spain or Italy or Portugal or England or whoever ahead of us. Be fans of theirs. That’s fine. I’m a fan of Spain and Wales. It’s not always good or easy, but it’s fun. It means I have a interest in tournaments like the Euros beyond just watching great games. But when my team, my country, is playing, I cannot imagine cheering for anyone else.
Now to the game itself. Messi was Messi. Of course he was going to score that gorgeous free kick goal tonight. He doesn’t miss many of those. But from minute one of this game, Argentina punched us in the mouth and didn’t stop. They out-classed us throughout the whole game, even the small moments when we had the ball, it still felt like Argentina was completely in control. They thoroughly deserved this game. We looked nervous, we were shaky, and we kept giving away the ball. It was a pitiful performance, and in no way did we deserve a goal, let alone the one shot that the scorers gave us before rescinding it. It was definitely not the performance that I would have liked to have seen, and I’m one hundred percent sure it’s not the performance they would have liked to have given. But it’s just a game. It’s just a game. There will be another one.
In fact, there is, on Saturday, versus the loser of tomorrow’s Chile-Colombia game. We’ll probably lose that game too. And that’ll be okay. You know why? Because the Copa America Centenario came to the USA this summer. It brought with it every South American nation’s national team. There were some other CONCACAF teams involved too, Mexico the most prominent. And even if we lose on Saturday, and I think we probably will, we’ll still have finished fourth. FOURTH. Better than most of South America. Better than Mexico. And isn’t being better than Mexico really the goal all the time?
Speaking of being better than Mexico, we didn’t quit. Mexico quit after Chile went 3-0 up on them in their quarterfinal, and they lost 7-0. We didn’t quit tonight. Yeah, Argentina got four, and that’s what they deserved probably. I think the scoreline reflects their performance. But we worked and worked and worked. We made mistakes, we gave them plenty of gifts, but we didn’t quit. And I’m proud of them for that. That’s about all I’m proud of tonight, but I’m proud of that.
I’d like to close by sending best wishes to Ezequiel Lavezzi, who tumbled over the advertising boards and landed hard, fracturing his arm. No one likes to see a player get injured, especially not a player of his quality and especially not like that. I hope the injury is not too serious, though they did say he’s having surgery in the next few days, and that he recovers soon.