If nothing else, this should be at least foolishly entertaining. 🙂
The conventional wisdom said the United States could not beat Portugal. The conventional wisdom said the United States could not beat Mexico.
Now the conventional wisdom says the United States can’t beat Germany.
I’m willing to give the conventional wisdom a third strike, but after that, it’s out.
You may say I know nothing about soccer. That’s not true. I know something about soccer. Just less than your typical six-year-old boy in the typical soccer-mad country. 🙂
What I do know something about are those rare tournaments where the conventional wisdom collapses, and if what’s been going on in the World Cup isn’t that, I don’t know what is.
It’s not chaos because the U.S. is in the quarterfinals. It’s chaos because the U.S. is ranked closer to the remaining evil stepsisters than the real Cinderellas.
Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the time difference. It’s something.
Two of the eight teams remaining have world rankings of fortieth or lower. What business does South Korea have beating Italy?
Only two top ten teams remain. One is a traditional underachiever (Spain) going against a whole country (South Korea). If they have any choke in them, that will be cough time.
The other (Brazil) is facing what is at least on paper the toughest quarterfinal match.
If Brazil beats England, well . . . .
But if they don’t, I don’t find it inconceivable if the U.S. beats Germany that they could win this. Not because they’re so great, but because it’s a broken tournament.
Unlikely, for sure. Ridiculous, perhaps. But not completely lunatic, like it would have been a week or two ago.
What does the U.S. have to do to win?
First, they have to pray real hard England manages to beat Brazil.
Then the seventeenth-ranked team in the world has to first beat the eleventh-ranked team in the world, Germany, a team considered weak by German standards. That doesn’t sound impossible for a team that has beaten two top ten teams already.
Next, they play the winner of the underachiever vs. gross overachiever homey game. A case can be made for a win against either.
Presumably, either Brazil or England should be able to beat the winner of the Battle of the Cinderellas (Turkey-Senegal).
If the US finds itself against Brazil in a World Cup final, OK, conventional wisdom gets a fourth strike. Now we’re in fantasy land.
But playing and beating any of the other possiblities is not.
I grant you, even under the best scenarios, the U.S. winning is still pretty far-fetched.
But far-fetched is infinitely better than “maybe next milennium.” Enough to root for, at least.