Monday, September 10, 2007

Their Glorious Leader

Dear Aaron,

Whenever a World Cup rolls around, I always look forward to seeing the different styles of play. Each nation takes a unique approach to the game. Sometimes the differences are slight, but nonetheless different.

Usually, a nation's approach can be traced to their history and culture. Now that the Women's World Cup is here, let's take a look at some of the teams. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about North Korea, aka the Democratic Republic of Korea, an inaccurate moniker if I heard heard one. So, we'll start with them.

The North Koreas are all about teamwork. Every player is technically strong, they move the ball as a group, the defend as a group, and individual flair is pretty much non-existent. They seem to have taken advice from Major Frank Burns, The MASH doctor who said, "Individuality is fine as long as we are all doing it together."

Anyway, North Korea, in my opinion, will never win anything outside of Asia for that very reason. Without someone able to step up and take over in the big moment of the big game, you won't be successful at the World Cup level. For all I know, stepping up and taking charge might be against the law. That little guy, the dictator of North Korea, Whatshisname Kim, probably doesn't like it. And North Korea is competing for him, or at least that's what they say. Every press conference in 2003 began with the translator explaining that the team is trying to please "Our Glorious Leader."

And that's another competitive problem. If the players aren't able to play for themselves and for each other, they won't be at their best.

The U.S. will struggle a bit. There will be nerves and that strange mixture of adrenaline and expectation that will come to a head at kickoff. But adrenaline and expectation are better than fear and dread.

Bottom line: USA 3, North Korea 1. Kristine Lilly will not let this team lose the opener.

When I think of more, I'll write.

You Know Who

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