ESPN continues to properly capture the World Cup sentiment in their ads leading up to the opening ceremonies.
Every four years, if you’re a football fan, depending on where you live and which country is hosting the World Cup, you may find yourself waking up at odd hours of the night to catch your country playing.
Such is the spirit of ESPN’s newest ad, which does a nice job of capturing the experience of football lovers from all over the world and from all walks of life.
Whether you’re going to be waking up at 3 a.m., taking time off work, or just straight up making up excuses to extend your lunch so you can catch a full game during the day, I think you’ll be able to appreciate the essence of this newest ad.
An astonishing void: official history ignores football. Contemporary history texts fail to mention it, even in passing, in countries where it has been and continues to be a primordial symbol of collective identity.
I play therefore I am: a style of play is a way of being that reveals the unique profile of each community and affirms its right to be different.
Tell me how you play and I will tell you who you are.
Soon after Jurgen Klinsmann announced the final 23 players that will represent the United States at the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, he addressed his team.
One would expect this setting to “feel” livelier given that the present group has just been accepted into a select group of elite players that get the privilege to represent their country in the world cup. However, the scene looks more somber in nature—almost as if Jurgen is addressing the players that got cut.
Check it out:
I’m so excited to have 23 guys here going to Brazil and to rock the boat. — Jurgen Klinsmann
Rock the boat you did, Jurgen. Now you just need to rock our worlds with the choices you’ve made.
In spite of his world-class football experience, I always knew there was something fishy about Jurgen Klinsmann. There was always an aroma that was slightly unsettling. Something that told me he had the potential of breaking my poor, little fútbol heart and now he’s made good on it.
With the recent announcement of the final US Men’s World Cup roster, Klinsmann did the unthinkable: he left Captain America, Mr. Landon Donovan himself, off the squad.
While I haven’t been keeping up with Donovan’s physical fitness and whether he’s World Cup capable, I do think that it’s a mistake to not include Donovan in the squad that will represent the US in one of the most meaningful World Cups in history.
Every World Cup is meaningful, I know, but everything fútbol related always means a little more in Brazil.
On the eve of this year’s tournament Klinsmann has chosen to ignore the significance of Donovan’s presence in favor of youth and inexperience.
Donovan has been the cornerstone of US soccer credibility for as along as I can remember. Not only is he the top talent this country has ever produced, he’s been fearless in his representation of a country that is still in its nascent stages of fútbol sophistication and talent.
With Landon on the pitch I always believed a little more, even if he wasn’t playing well. He was the bravado of the stars and stripes and it’s saddens me to think we won’t see him sporting the nation’s colors come anthem time in Brazil.
I’m thankful to Landon Donovan for giving me the single biggest sports thrill of my life. The goal against Algeria in 2010 will forever be etched in my mind and in my heart. I suffered through that game wondering what ill will the gods had against us that so many things were unjustifiably going against us.
Cooped up in my old cube, irresponsibly streaming a game during work hours, I watched, hoped and prayed that the US would somehow, miraculously pull off the win to qualify for the next round. What I felt once that wish materialized was nothing short of thrilling and it started with a Donovan run and ended with Landon sending one into the back of the net.
A goal that stirred such high levels of emotions that the Mexican announcers calling the game got lost in the fairy tale story happening before our eyes and somehow described what we had just witnessed in way that fit the moment.
Todo el corazon, el espirtu Americano se ve reflejado. Que gol! … El que siempre esta cuando lo necesitas.
Translation:All the heart and spirit of America is reflected in that goal… [Donovan] The one that’s always there when you most need him.
I literally and proudly shed a few tears at my cube in 2010 and I still get emotional every time I think about that moment, or when I watch the replay on YouTube.
But It wasn’t just that moment in time that warrants my praise and indebtedness to Donovan’s place in US fútbol history.
Donovan has proudly carried the US flag on his back and on his chest when there was little to be proud of. He’s represented our country like a champ despite always being outmatched in big games. He did it like every other great futboler who’s ever laced them up for his country and because of it he’s earned our collective respect and support.
Captain America they call him and rightfully so because he’s earned international respect through the defiance of the American spirit in a less than “American” sport.
So, yeah, maybe Klinsmann has made the “right” decision by not taking Donovan to Brazil, but the right decision doesn’t necessarily equate to the best decision.
Inspiration and experience are hard to come by and they’re elements that are desperately needed in the group of death. Is there really no value in having Captain America on your bench while Cristiano Ronaldo and Schweinsteiger loom on the horizon?
As fans, our feelings and our connections to the past often cloud our objective assessment of what we’re watching. I suspect this may be one of those episodes. I do believe, however, that Jurgen Klinsmann has just made it a little easier for the rest of us to judge his coaching by removing the strongest tie most of us have to any US soccer player.
We’re bound to be less forgiving, much like Jurgen was with Donovan’s “capabilities” for this year’s tournament.
If leaving Landon off the squad is our best chance against Germany, Cristiano’s waxed eyebrows and our nemesis, Ghana, then Jurgen’s boys better get out of the group stage. The players selected better outperform themselves and the shadow of the best US player in history.
On the world’s biggest stage against two of the top three teams in the world, in the mecca of fútbol, even if we had lost with Donovan on the field, I can at least tell you that it would have been done with heart, pride and courage.
For the sake of my country, I hope Jurgen proves me wrong and emerges a genius with a team that goes deep in the tournament. If not, I will forever loathe the decision to leave out the most significant player and our best emotional chance to back up our newly developed talent.