Total war, total soccer. The World Cup is on, Germany beating Costa Rica as I scribble. Watching the Germans for the first fifteen minutes reminded me of this brief essay from 1986 by Henry Kissinger on soccer and character. Read it all, but here are a few sentences on the way the Germans play. (A note to young people: once upon a time there was a West Germany and an East Germany, now there is just one.)
"West Germany, a finalist today, is, with Italy and Brazil, the most successful team of the modern era. West German soccer entered the postwar era with no particular legacy. Postwar Germany’s newly professional soccer being as novel as the frontiers of the state it represents, it could adopt total soccer with a vengeance. The German national team plays the way its general staff prepared for the war; games are meticulously planned, each player skilled in both attack and defense. Intricate pass patterns evolve, starting right in front of the German goal. Anything achievable by human foresight, careful preparation and hard work is accounted for."
The USA plays the Czech Republic on Monday at Noon.
I make no prediction other than to say that given our talent as a team, combined with the American character, we should advance.