U.S. interest is near an all time high with a men’s team that is maybe even more than competitive, ESPN has gone all out in supporting the event promoting it like it is the number one sports spectacle in the world, and the world has decided to lay an egg during what should be a showcase of the sport. Sure it's also another excuse for Americans to engage in betting on sports. There are a bevvy of great attacking players and teams playing... defensively... WTF.
And then you factor in the vuvuzelllas pushing potential fans away, I’m surprised the ratings have been as okay as they have been. Such is the story for soccer in this country—this is nothing new. Though there has been a spike in people looking for online betting tips.
In the old NASL, the first ever goal scored, during the first game on a network contract with ABC was during a commercial. No replay. The game ended 1-0. Newcomers never saw the goal and many never watched that sport again. Seems soccer can't stop shooting itself in the foot in this country. I believe the first MLS telecast was a dull 0-0 tie. If it wasn't enough of them since then have been. See half the world cup games for a comparable “ennui.”
Good news is the players should adjust to the ball, the vuvuzellas (and in places the altitude—which only enhances the 5% faster ball), and also be forced to attack more. So the tournament should improve. Just a shame it’s started so badly.
Ten things I like about North Korea (in the World Cup)...
1. I can't think of Kim Jong Ill without laughing. If he wasn't a bloodthirsty dictator he'd just be some comic relief midget in a bad James Bond movie.
2. I feel I have to root for their soccer team to advance because if they don't I'm worried some of these players will never see the light of day again. They'll just go back to North Korea and become soaps.
3. The actors that are Chinese Nationals that have been hired as fans. I wish somebody would hire me to go watch the world cup.
4. The crying striker. This dude bawling at the North Korean national anthem:
Backstory on this guy. he's the one player on the team that doesn't have to live in North Korea. He plays professional soccer in Japan (guessing he doesn't have to split his earnings with his country men). He drives a hummer.
5. They trained at a public gym in South Africa. Yeah, they basically showed up to the World Cup and got Gold's Gym memberships. Wonder if they got personal trainers as part of the membership. Perhaps, their coach walked into the wrong building and just couldn't say no. High pressure sales.
6. They showed the fighting spirit against Brazil as though they were playing for their lives. You have to admire that spirit. Unless, their lives did depend on it.
7. The coach is in constant contact with his magnificent leader via a secret piece of technology that allows him to wirelessly talk to North Korea. As they don't have cellphones in North Korea it's not a blackberry. Some have hinted that it is some sort of ESP Kim Jong has designed.
8. The fact that Kim Jong Ill gets his steinbrenner on with the national team. That in itself is comical. I wonder if they have a North Korean version of Seinfeld where televison worker number 312 works for Kim Jong Ill and a North Korean version of Larry David imitates the great master with camera shots only of his back. Probably not huh?
9. After the incredible showing against Brazil, for the first time in ages North Korea decided to live telecast the Portugal-North Korea game. Normally, they don't for fear of the country looking bad if they lose. Course when the final score was 7 - 0, the question that needs to be answered is when did they pull the doomswitch on the broadcast.
10. Okay, as much as i worry about he safety of the North Korean national players it's kind of nice to see them get thumped and already be eliminated two games into the world cup. Boo dictators, communism, midgets with bad haircuts, thick glasses, and ESP.