Brief thought exercise: does the United States even ‘deserve’ to win the World Cup?

This is all pretty much a moot point, since assuming the United States will beat Belgium and Argentina in its next two games is a wide stretch. But … think about it. Anything is possible. There’s a lot of consternation around legitimate soccer fans this time of year, especially those based in the United States — they view the ‘World Cup fever’ as a bunch of swaying bros at the local big-screen joint, screaming when it seems appropriate to scream. The next big global soccer event will be Euro 2016; the theory goes that you won’t see any of those bros out in full for that. The next extension of this theory goes something like this: if the United States was blessed enough to win a World Cup, wouldn’t most of our citizens essentially forget about it within a week? (There are questions about our superficiality, yes.) If a nation such as Argentina were to win, wouldn’t that mean the world to some of its citizens?

So, insofar as a nation can actually be “deserving” of winning a global championship in anything, does the USA really even “deserve” to win the World Cup? Wouldn’t it kind of be lost on them, collectively? Kind of like giving a fancy piece of jewelry that you worked hard to design … to the wife of a billionaire. The resonance just isn’t there.

Then again, we’re talking about soccer, and as soccer goes, always remember this:

“[The U.S.] should have lost against Ghana and they absolutely should have won today,” said ESPN commentator and left behind U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan of the two American performances. “They deserved to win, but in soccer ‘deserve’ doesn’t get you anything.”

Deserve doesn’t get you anything.

So let’s play the games and see who wins, right? Including the United States. And please, don’t claim I’m not patriotic for my home country — I am, and tremendously, but in other ways. In this specific context (that being international soccer), I think sometimes stopping and having a bit of perspective is helpful.

Ted Bauer