Bill Simmons, ESPN.com’s “The Sports Guy,” whose interest in soccer was taken as evidence that the sport had become mainstream, takes time out
from following the latest NBA free-agency news to write a 4,500-word column on all things World Cup.
He sums the World Cup this way: "It's the single best sporting event we have by these four measures: efficiency, significance, historical context and truly meaningful/memorable/exciting moments. You know … as long as you like soccer."
Simmons, who realized he was hooked big-time when he started texting buddies in horror over the news that Ricardo Clark would start over Maurice Edu against Ghana, says the USA blew a great opportunity to advance to the semifinals and might have plateaued "a little like a 47-win NBA team that everyone knows can't make the Finals." The USA's problem? "We scored five goals in four games: two on hustle goals off second chances, one on a penalty kick, one on a brain fart by England's goalie, and [Landon] Donovan's goal against Slovenia, which came with the help of a mistimed defensive play. Not a single "WOW!!!!!!!!!" play among them."
Here's his take on ... Lionel Messi: "Dustin Hoffman in "'All The President's Men.'" Diego Maradona: "Still, when you're a bizarre hybrid of Ozzie Guillen, Mark Madsen and Shooter from 'Hoosiers' multiplied by four, if Colin Farrell gained 85 pounds to play you in a sports movie and wore discount Italian suits … how can you not love Maradona to pieces?"