U.S. TEAM BIDS ADIEU TO CUP THEY MAY HAVE RATHER PASSED ON
Team USA's 1-0 loss to Yugoslavia in France "concluded
a couple of tumultuous weeks at the World Cup for the U.S.
team, which had been shaken by several players' public
criticism of Coach Steve Sampson, mass lineup changes and,
of course, disappointing defeats," according to Amy Shipley
of the WASHINGTON POST. Forward Eric Wynalda: "This was
terrible." Midfielder Tab Ramos: "The whole thing was a
shambles." Shipley: "With a few exceptions, players seemed
careful not to voice overly negative opinions. U.S. Soccer
Federation President Alan Rothenberg ... advised players
during a pregame meeting not to make statements they would
regret" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/26). In N.Y., Mark Cannizzaro
calls the U.S. team a "rudderless, bickering, embarrassing
emotional wreck" (N.Y. POST, 6/26). In Boston, John Powers
writes the World Cup ended for the U.S. team "with finger-
pointing and second-guessing and bitterness" (BOSTON GLOBE,
6/26). Header over Bonnie DeSimone's game report in the
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: "U.S. Players Save Best Shots For Sampson"
(CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/26). USA TODAY's Marco della Cava calls
it a "disastrous tournament for the Americans" (USA TODAY,
6/26). The AP's Ron Blum calls it an "utter, total wreck of
a World Cup" (Mult., 6/26). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's
Stefan Fatsis writes that as the team "faltered, dissension
mounted, sending bad vibes to the U.S. public." But USSF
President Alan Rothenberg said, "We are inching forward as a
world soccer power. It's a long, hard struggle to get to
the top" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/26).
OTHER REAX: ESPN's Jeremy Schaap: "In virtually every
respect, this World Cup was a dismal failure for Team USA.
Battered and bloodied, it was finally put out of its misery
Thursday night" ("SportsCenter," 6/25). On ESPN SportsZone,
Team USA member Brian McBride writes that while the
tournament was "terribly disappointing," he stressed the
"positives" of aggressive play (ESPN SportsZone, 6/26). But
in Detroit, Charlie Vincent writes, "Not many people in the
United States care enough to get upset" (DETROIT FREE PRESS,
6/26). In DC, William Gildea: "The long and the short of the
U.S.'s disastrous 1998 World Cup is that the U.S. federation
picked the wrong coach" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/26).
IT'S A FINE, FINE DAY FOR A REUNION: Sampson said
Friday in Paris that he would levy "significant" fines
against the players who complained (AP/WASH. POST, 6/26).