With the rise of the internet and satellite television, seems like there’s been a surge of interest in international soccer in the United States the past decade. But is that really applicable to the mainstream American sports fan?
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I don’t think so. Not there yet, and probably never will be. The cultural sports divide is just too wide to overcome in this country. It’s akin to the NHL failing in southern cities. Also why the MLS will never be more than a minor league sideshow.
(USA got jobbed in 2002 against eventual runner-up Germany - 3:52)
You might hear commentators say that a good soccer rivalry is like a war. But what about when the two sides are officially at war? That’s what’s going to happen on Wednesday in Shanghai as North Korea takes on South Korea in a World Cup Qualifying match. You call Mexican soccer fans lobbing bags of urine at US players a “bitter rivalry”? Nice try - next time try kidnapping thousands of citizens.
The match is supposed to be a home match for North Korea, but it was moved after the government refused to let the South Korean national anthem play or flag to be raised. North Korea are the surprise leaders in their qualifying group after beating the United Arab Emirates 2-1 on Saturday, and a win against their rivals would put them in the driver’s seat for their first berth since 1966, when they knocked out Italy in arguably the best upset in World Cup history.