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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Finally, US fans might fully embrace World Cup

George Scione

I finally sat down to watch an entire Red Sox game on TV Sunday night. I’ve caught bits and pieces on NESN at the bar or diner, but as soon as I hear that voice, my stomach turns.

Yes, that voice. ...

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I finally sat down to watch an entire Red Sox game on TV Sunday night. I’ve caught bits and pieces on NESN at the bar or diner, but as soon as I hear that voice, my stomach turns.

Yes, that voice.

Sadly, I have to thank ESPN for broadcasting this Yankeees-Red Sox clash. And a good one, it was – including Mookie Betts’ first hit in his major league debut and a Red Sox victory, which put the hometown team within six games of the American League East-leading Toronto Blue Jays.

Normally ESPN only serves one purpose in the house. It’s good for football – NFL and college games, as well as fantasy and analysis shows. Otherwise, turning off the non-stop LeBron James coverage is pretty easy.

Surprisingly, the cable network that barely acknowledges the NHL – one of the United States’ four major sports – has me hooked lately. Thanks to some additional football coverage this summer.

OK, it’s futbol in Europe, South America and parts unknown to U.S. isolationists. Here it’s known as soccer, and the coverage has been phenomenal. So has the action – upsets, low-scoring games, high-scoring games and penalty kicks.

Ahhh, World Cup soccer.

Unfortunately, biting and diving – likely making Mike Tyson and everybody in the Montreal Canadiens organization smile – have also been highlighted.

Sure, the last two we can all do without, but on the whole it’s been a great showing over the last two-and-a-half-weeks.

And, for U.S.-rooting interests, who would have thought the Round of 16 would include the Stars and Stripes and not England, Spain, Portugal or Italy?

That’s right, four of the world’s premier soccer countries are not represented in the sport’s premier tournament. A tournament held in higher regard for national supremacy than the Olympics could ever dream of.

Now, ESPN brings the next phase of World Cup. The Knockout Round.

No ties need apply in this round. It’s the perfect stage for Americans, who complain of draws meaning something, to fully embrace the tournament.

That’s right, it’s win or go home. Truly the American way.

George Scione can be reached
at 594-6520 or gscione@
nashuatelegraph.com. Also,
follow Scione on Twitter
(@Telegraph_BigG).