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Dec 9, 2005

International relations start with a round ball

Barely had Australian soccer fans a moment to puff their chests out in “We're going to Germany” pride than the US coach Bruce Arena admitted he really hoped his team drew the Socc

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Barely had Australian soccer fans a moment to puff their chests out
in “We’re going to Germany” pride than the US coach Bruce Arena
admitted he really hoped his team drew the Socceroos in their group, as
he believed his team could kick Australia around the park any day of
the week.

Naturally, local commentators bristled
but it turns out we’re not the only ones in the international football
community struggling a little with the presence of the world’s
favourite super power in the sport.

Not surprisingly, it’s the Brits who are least enjoying having to share
their favourite stage with the USA. Having finally had enough of
American taunts about soccer hooliganism, The Guardian’sSteven Wells went to the States and dug around in the American sporting backyard.

It’s a telling read. You kind of get Wells’s take early when he writes:
“That’s the wonder of American sports. There are fistfights, showers of
beer (and faeces, canned dog food and coins), portable toilets kicked
over with opposition fans inside them, knifings, deafening verbal
abuse, full-scale riots, cars set alight, disabled fans stripped and
their clothing destroyed, players puking because they’ve breathed in
the pepper spray used by police to dissuade two sets of fans from
kicking the sweet bejesus out of each other – and not a single
hooligan in sight. Amazing when you think about it.”

The “getting to know you” element of soccer goes both ways though. USA Today
has trouble believing that Germany’s national coach, former star Jurgen
Klinsmann, is living anonymously in Southern California, only months
out from the big event in his homeland.

It’s going to be a fun ride all the way to Germany.

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