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McCollum's Column: World Cup frenzy even on the beach

Posted: June 23, 2014 - 6:03pm

Normally, the Redneck Rivera is strong SEC Country.

You see folks with gear from all SEC teams on their cars. There are SEC tents along the beach, and folks wear various caps and T-shirts.

But this year’s beach vacation had a World Cup flavor.

It’s the first time I’ve seen soccer jerseys represeting different countries worn on the beach and in restaurants.

It has reached a fever pitch.

Folks are gathering in cities throughout the United States for World Cup watch parties.

Friends who have it never cared a flip about soccer are admitted to World Cup watching — and cheering and yelling at their television sets.

Especially Sunday, when the U.S. were seconds away from defeating Portugal and advancing to the round of 16 when the Portugese got a extra-time goal and forged a tie.

For a 2-2 tie, which could be considered both a victory and a defeat, was pretty exciting.

And I’ve never seen Americans get in such an emotional frenzy for a contest against Portugal.

The U.S.-Portugal match drew a record 25 million viewers on American television.

Now, the U.S. and Germany are tied for the lead in their group. They play Thursday, and the teams just have to tie each other to both advance, which will provide an interesting twist on ethics and strategy.

One of the interesting aspects of the World Cup is nations, some considered Third World, that don’t make a significant impact in any other sport can have a chance at victory against larger countries and world powers.

Where else do countries such at Ghana, Cameroon, Uraguay and Costa Rica move into the mix for a world title?

When else have U.S. partisans gotten so ignited after a win over Ghana?

It’s a rough sport, a colorful sport and a sport that has had its share of corruption at the top of FIFA, the controlling organization.

For right now, it’s a watched sport.

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or david.mccollum@thecabin.net or follow him on twitter @dmaclcd)

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