World Cup Digest: Swiss didn't miss

Congratulations to Switzerland. There was nothing neutral about their scoring the first major upset of the World Cup, knocking off tournament favorite Spain 1-0.

A lot has been said about the lack of scoring in the World Cup. But the drama may well be kicking off with that result.

One thing I wanted to do with this digest was open it up to you, or to folks around the community (or even country) who wanted to share World Cup thoughts or experiences.

So today, I do that in two ways. First, thanks to Ashley Kolka, a Louisvillian currently transplanted to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she’s teaching and doing graduate work. She passes along this stunning work of journaling and photography from Jessica Hilltout. Even if you’re not a soccer fan, this work is worth a click. [Amen Road Book — Check it out here.]

And next, I turn the blog over to Lisa Hornung, a web editor at the C-J, who talks about the atmosphere at Molly Malone’s for the U.S. World Cup opener against England last week.

As I walked down Baxter Avenue Saturday to watch the USA vs. England game at Molly Malone’s, I was thrilled to see a small parade of fans wearing American flag bandanas with the Stars and Stripes draped over their shoulders like overly patriotic Supermen. They were marching up and down the street, blowing horns in anticipation of the big game. How fun!

Even during the Olympics, Americans don’t get that excited about supporting their national team. Sure, we watch and enjoy, but we don’t wear our love for our country’s team on our sleeves (though we should).

Inside Molly’s, the place was packed with soccer fans. We had to take a table outside, in the upper deck. In the sweltering heat, chants of “USA!” were enthusiastic. We enjoyed some ribbing from England fans, and geared up (read: drank beer) for the game. After days of Facebook friend comments disparaging the sport and saying how boring it is, it was nice to be surrounded by other fans who know that the game is about a lot more than just the score.

(Photo above by Dana Rieber features a group that wanted to make sure everyone knew which team was best at Molly Malone’s on Baxter Saturday: Scott Hubner, Sam Quintas, Cody Whitaker, Andrew Schwartz and Chris Whitaker)

We were discouraged by the early goal by England’s Steven Gerrard, but Clint Dempsey’s goal brought us back from the brink. As my friend Sarah Stone said, “Hey, a garbage goal is still a goal!”

My colleague and friend Brett Dawson has been in England on vacation, and he reported that there is a lot of anti-American sentiment over there. He said that before the game, the TV sports announcers implied that the U.S. team should know our place and not even bother against glorious England.

What they forget is that several of our players make their living in the English Premier League, including the Man of the Match, goalie Tim Howard (Everton). And our single scorer of the game, Clint Dempsey (Fulham). Also, Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhamption) and Stuart Holden (Bolton). The rest of our team plays in the MLS, the German Bundesliga, the Italian Serie A, and top professional leagues in Scotland, France, Spain, Mexico and others.

Unfortunately, the only chance for USA and England to meet again this year would be in the final game, and the likelyhood of both teams getting that far are slim. But for right now, we’re even. That’s right, England, EVEN. Mathematically, that means were exactly equal. At least until Friday.

Thanks to all for contributing, and for anyone else who would like to, your thoughts, images or anything else is welcome. Feel free to email me at ecrawford@courier-journal.com. Read all of the World Cup entries from this blog by clicking here.

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