As the streets that once held thousands for watch parties are swept clean, and the inevitable myriad articles blaming everyone and anyone for the U.S.’s loss are Tweeted, this is a sad day for U.S. soccer fans. Those of us who follow the team closely are slightly less saddened, however, knowing that the Yanks will take the pitch again in September against the Czech Republic before the 2015 Gold Cup is here. However, for millions of fans who tuned into the World Cup to watch the U.S. and who may have gotten sucked into other matches along the way, this may be the end of their soccer journey.
This is the part of the World Cup where things get more like the soccer we are used to seeing – scoring drops, matches go into extra-time and penalties, and teams seem a step slower after four excruciating matches most likely in nasty heat and humidity. While the drama of who will win the World Cup is there, that may not be enough for casual fans to remain committed to the tournament as they had been previous.
These fans would be foolish to quit on this tournament at this point, however, and here are eight reasons why this World Cup is still must see TV:
1. The drama of Brazil needing to win the World Cup is almost physically apparent.
In the second half of their match against Chile and into extra time, the pressure on the Brazilian players to win was apparent. The fans had quieted and the players looked tense, making simple mistakes and running with their heads down after every blunder. This is a team whose nation is placing all of its hopes and desires on them – a loss means another embarrassing World Cup defeat on their home soil and the citizens have to go back to face economic and geopolitical debates. Can this team handle these immense pressures and win the trophy?
2. Can Germany confirm that it is the juggernaut we always assume they are?
For all the press they receive, this German team has some weaknesses, including those exposed by Algeria in the round of 16. They are a bit slow in the back and they have interchangeable forwards. Under Jogi Low, they have rolled to the semifinals and finals of tournaments, only to be knocked out. Is this the year they can affirm their dominance?