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RED, WHITE & THROUGH: MEDIA CALLS U.S. TEAM A "FAILURE"
Published June 22, 1998
Iran's 2-1 World Cup victory over the U.S. yesterday has members of the U.S. media weighing its impact on the state of soccer in the U.S. Calling the loss a "nightmarish end" to U.S. Soccer's "dreams," USA TODAY's Marco della Cava writes that the loss "calls into question the quality of U.S. soccer, despite a growing professional league and innumerable youth organizations" (USA TODAY, 6/22). In Atlanta, Mark Bradley: "Time to see American soccer for what it is -- a rickety enterprise that lacks leadership and purpose" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 6/22). In N.Y., Mark Cannizaro calls the loss "an embarrassing, disgraceful World Cup failure," adding that the U.S. "played a terrific, aggressive game ... and they still lost" (N.Y. POST, 6/22). In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton: "U.S. soccer blew it big time yesterday" (STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/22). In Detroit, Charlie Vincent writes under the header "Crying Shame: U.S. Soccer Is A Wasteland Again" (FREE PRESS, 6/22). Soccer contributor Paul Gardner writes in USA TODAY: "As things stand, the American player is just not ready for the top level of international soccer. The culprit here is college soccer and the whole college atmosphere. There are still too many players around who have spent too long languishing in the sterile churches of the college game" (USA TODAY, 6/22). In N.Y., Filip Bondy writes that the U.S., "with its developmental programs and its ritzy training facilities, with its first-class travel and [MLS], was a well-meaning, leg-churning disappointment" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/22). SLOW DOWN, MEDIA PACK MENTALITY: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes that the U.S. team "has absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about" (N.Y. POST, 6/22)....In Chicago, Bernie Lincicome: "Losing to Iran will do exactly for soccer what beating Brazil did earlier this year. It will not cause one fresh fan to demand to know the difference between a sweeper and a striker" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/22). U.S. SOCCER QUOTEBOARD: U.S. midfielder Cobi Jones: "It's not a disaster for U.S. Soccer, it's a disappointment for U.S. Soccer" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/22). USSF President Alan Rothenberg called the loss a "bitter disappointment" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/22). Rothenberg: "I don't think [Coach] Steve [Sampson] was to blame. The players were to blame" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/22). Sampson: "I think those who understand the game will not view this as a step back for American soccer. I hope they remember this is an American team that played to attack. No American team has ever done that" (USA TODAY, 6/22). Rothenberg, on whether Sampson will be retained as U.S. coach: "When the tournament is over, we will sit down and talk about it. But I can't fault anything Steve or the players did tonight" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/22). More Rothenberg: "I have been criticized for predicting that we wouldn't make it to the second round. Well, here we are. It's going to take some time. I've set a target of 2010 for the United States to win the World Cup. It's going to take a dozen years" (L.A. TIMES, 6/22). EATING CROW: ABC's Brent Musburger, who called the U.S. team "atrocious" during last week's loss to Germany, made this pregame prediction: "3-nil, the U.S. all the way, baby!" At halftime, Musburger asked for "some mustard for my crow" (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 6/22). TEHRAN UP THE COVERAGE: During halftime of yesterday's Iran-USA match, ABC had planned to air live footage from Tehran showing Iranians reacting during the game. However, ABC News' Gillian Findlay reported: "We spent the first half of this game in a restaurant watching Iranian fans go crazy when they saw their team score a goal. We've been trying to feed those pictures to you for the last number of minutes now and we are being told by Iranian censors that we cannot. ... The authorities here are clearly very nervous. For weeks, ABC Sports has had an agreement with Iranian TV [and] Iranian authorities to provide some live coverage here during the World Cup. Yesterday, we were told that agreement was cancelled." Findlay said the authorities "are very clearly worried about" the celebration in the streets. After a commercial break, ABC showed video from a Tehran restaurant with Iranians celebrating the team's first-half goal. Musburger: "During the commercial break, the censorship curtain was raised a little" (ABC, 6/21).