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Theodore Dalrymple
Notes on the World Cup « Back to Story

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There are so many unexpected things on last World Cup!GPS tracking
You always post a good and interesting article. I am going to save your page for the next time.
To Kenny: Your statement is incorrect. Whilsy the English League clubs have a high (or total) proportion of foreign players, no such situation exists with the English National side. All the players are 'English'.

Good article nonetheless.
Dear Doc ,
The mixed French team looks a lot like the French these days , following 50 years of intense immigration . These new French players however , never refused to sing the national anthem : you got this wrong. Football in France has always been a conduit towards cultural integration : initially , Poles and Italians, then Algerians ( Zidane ) and Africans.This national team is more corrupted by money than tempted by any kind of multiculturalism. ( multiculturalism supposes some culture)
SoberHorseThief July 21, 2010 at 9:27 PM
I'm rather surprised to find a man whose well-known (and proper) contempt for this soccer thing to insist on calling it a silly name likely to be confused with real football. Well, I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree.
When one has football (American), baseball,basketball, tennis, golf,hockey and the Fox News Network, who needs shin-kicking headball? I have never watched more than ten minutes of soccer at a time in my 84 years. And until the winners get to moon the opponents' side of the stadium,that will remain my limit.
Interesting comments, and alas, in the case of England, all too true. The cause of England's failure, though is relatively simple to identify; it's the persistent failure of the players to adopt, or the manager to impose upon them, a collective, mutually supportive, pattern of play.
The Premier League is indeed the most exciting to watch, with fast end-to-end play. But club teams rely on their players having intimate and intuitive knowledge of each others play, and on knowing that if they lose the ball after a few passes, they will get it back after a few more. Neither of these conditions apply in international football.
The current manger established a simpler pattern in the early stages of qualifying, with great success. The team reverted to the 'rush upfield' mentality in the competition, with the inevitable result.
Oh, and the Germans, as with all sports, introduce their youngsters to football with basic skills coaching, almost unknown in the UK.
Thomas McGonigle July 21, 2010 at 12:39 PM
The good doctor might have gone on to note that baseball, the national sport in the US is played with equal passion in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and hopefully once again in Cuba and maybe in China... of course it is well played in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela... it doesn't produce the thugs that soccer seems to produce as does American football and basketball... but that takes one into racial areas that are very uncomfortable...though one notices that baseball seems a but more genuinely integrated
Oh, and Neil is way off base. The "diversity" of the German team has been really overblown. Most of the stars of the German team - Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Mueller, Neuer, etc. - are very German. A lot of the "foreigners" ( Boateng, Gomez, Khedira) have German mothers, making them more culturally German than the typical immigrant on the French, English or American teams. And Klose, Trochowski and Podolski - the "Poles" - would have been German citizens if this was 1936 (true fact - all 3 are from what used to be Prussia).
Just a few comments about the true Germans.
1. Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Mueller etc.: How more German a last can be?
2. Podolski etc.: About 10 % of the Germans have Slavic last names. Players of Slavic and in particular Polish origin have a long tradition in German football. In the 1920s half of the German national football was Polish speaking.
3. And about the mid-eastern origins: Funny, but Germany has become an immigration country. We do not take the most intelligent ones. But at least they can play football ;-)
Actually, Americans are no longer that indifferent. The World Cup drew more viewers than the NBA or the NHL finals - and sports bars in Boston, NYC and Philly were packed for every USA game.

And soccer - a word the English coined in the first place - should be perfectly acceptable to everyone.

Otherwise very good article.
Dear Theodor,
You missed this one: none of the German team would qualify as true Germans. They all had East European or mid-eastern origins
Soccer is considered an un-American, even European, game.

With football, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf and NASCAR, Americans don't have much interest left for soccer.
Maybe the German team has more of an emotional attachment to the game because as German citizens playing for the German national team they have a cause. Or maybe just because they'll have better luck with the Fraulein when they get home as winners. The English players on the other hand have no emotional attachment as they are not Englishmen playing for the national team, just a bunch of foreigners playing for money. And I guess money doesn't buy you love.
Having been in and among Americans recently, the interest in the World Cup and Dutch football did amaze me. Several Americans even knew the names of former Dutch football players, and told me they wanted 'my' national team to win.

Being too uninterested in football, no idea whether the Americans also are interested in all these other well-known football nations.

A remark that stuck: regarding sports 'we' Americans want to be the best in the world.

It'll be interesting to see what happens if/when America becomes a 'real' football-loving nation, and if the team will reflect America's social problems.
Peter Kovalszki July 20, 2010 at 9:54 PM
Valid observations, doc !

By another doc.