In 1990, when the US qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 40 years, I didn’t have cable so I couldn’t enjoy TNT’s ramshackle coverage. So I followed along with the New York Daily News. There were no recaps, highlights, or columns, just the scores printed in agate type on a page of sports miscellanea tucked in between the baseball box scores and the horse racing form. 24 years later the World Cup is the biggest story in the country and being watched by more people than the NBA Finals.
Let’s take a look at how the German, American, Portuguese, and Ghanaian media are previewing the Group of Death’s dying day.
The New York Daily News (above) wins the front page of the day with its inspiring headline backed by a fiery Jermaine Jones. Look into his eyes and see George Washington’s tactical genius, Huck Finn’s adventurous spirit, Horatio Alger’s can-do attitude, Teddy Roosevelt’s drive, Babe Ruth’s power, Chuck Yeager’s courage, Mohammed Ali’s confidence, Mike Tyson’s fury, and Michael Jordan’s swagger.
The New York Post luridly leads with a comparison of an All-American woman and Teutonic beauty.
The Chicago Tribune lamely leads with a wet towel story questioning our love for soccer. But at least they’re talking about the game.
The New York Times finds room for a story on Mormon athletes and a teaser pic for a story on ESPN’s Men in Blazers, but nothing for USA-Germany.
Checking in on America’s soccer heartland, the Seattle Times highlights local star DeAndre Yedlin as part of its exhaustive coverage.
Jermaine Jones looks like he’s ready to explode from the confines of the Oregonian front page.
German-Americans are the largest ancestry group in the United States, which makes Jurgen Klinsmann a natural leader for the USMNT. But back in his homeland he’s a traitor and a national obsession. Their papers today ignore the teams themselves to focus on the man won the World Cup for them in 1990 as a player and almost brought it back as a manager in 2006.
Hamburger’s Morgenpost plays on the traitor angle by demanding that the German team go for the kill and send him packing to his “home.” They call it a “firecracker” of a match between past and present German coaches.
The Neue Westfalisch is one of many German papers who ignore the squads that will actually do battle on the pitch in favor of harping on the Jurgen Klinsmann-Joachim Löw relationship.
Bild channels vintage Mad Magazine for a front-page only a 12-year old would find funny. In a double entendre gag, a battered and bruised Klinsmann is warned that the stars on the pitch will leave him seeing stars above his head.
Die Welt dreams of a happier time when Klinsmann was the manager and Joachim Löw his assistant with their touching photo of the identically-dressed pair from 2006. Fittingly, Klinsmann has ditched the designer duds routinely rocked by Löw in favor of the All-American-Dad-look of sneakers, khakis, and polos.
The Mannheimer Morgen has Mirslav Klose threatening his old coach “Jungs” with the little head that helped him equal the record for most World Cup goals.
Over in Portugal, A Bola poetically acknowledges that they are left chasing honor but needing divine intervention. O Jogo says that while faith moves mountains “praying is not enough” for the “miraculous blowout” needed to advance.
Ghana’s Daily Guide is gripped by the national team’s payment scandal. Well beneath numerous stories about the money mess you’ll find Asamoah Gyan vowing to “put Portugal to the Sword.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Graphic assures Ghanaians that their Black Stars will be on the ‘war path’ against a Portugal side weakened by a half-strength Ronaldo. The paper wants the players to put aside thoughts of money by thinking of their supporters back home.