Posted by Jeff Bradley
JOHANNESBURG -- I have seen the future of this World Cup and it is beautiful. I was in Soccer City Stadium on Sunday night to see Argentina slice Mexico apart, moving the ball beautifully about the field, stringing passes together, mixing in the right amount of power and grit. A brilliant show it was, complete with their Carolina blue-clad, dancing, singing, streamer-throwing fans.
Earlier in the day, I'd watched on television as Germany, with 20-year-old wunderkind Thomas Mueller leading the way, made England look like a U-12 rec team, chasing shadows all afternoon. Anyone who wants to run out the tired cliché about the Germans being rigid and boring certainly hasn't watched this version of Die Mannschaft.
And with the U.S. on its way home, there's really no reason left to cheer for an underdog here in South Africa. Let the best teams keep on winning so the soccer will shine.
No bracket busters, please. May the best teams win the rest of the way, so we can see a final four of Brazil versus Ghana (make Africa proud) and Argentina/Germany (too close to call) versus Spain. A final with Brazil taking on Argentina/Germany/Spain is about as good as a soccer fan could ask for. Cinderella stories at the World Cup are fun for a while, but when the stakes get highest, I think it's best to root for the teams that believe the most in their ability to play, not so much the teams that believe in their ability to survive.