The United States will have a presence at today's semifinal World Cup match between Brazil and Germany. It won't be the U.S. National Team on the field, but American referee Mark Geiger. FIFA selected Geiger to be on the officiating crew of the high-stakes match. It's the first time a U.S. referee has been used this late in a World Cup.
After a wrenching loss to Belgium ended the U.S. team's World Cup run, fans are still touting the play of goalkeeper Tim Howard, Photoshopping his head onto U.S. currency and even (briefly) dubbing him Secretary of Defense on Wikipedia.
In Tuesday's game, Howard set a new World Cup record by making 16 saves. The mark dates back to at least 1966, when organizers started keeping records of that statistic. He was elected man of the match in the 2-1 loss.
Ante-millennium America was ho-hum about soccer as a sport, because it is a game with: nonstop motion, international players, loose rules and corruption, low expectations of scoring and an imprecise ending.