So, with the locale for Monday’s water-skiing competition between the U.S. and Ghana drenched by more than 13 inches of rain since Friday, which has triggered a flood warning, evacuations and a sinkhole, this begs one obvious question:
Is the extreme weather some sort of divine punishment for Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s assertion that the Americans’ chances of winning the World Cup are next to nil?
On the subject of precipitation, criticism has rained down on Klinsmann from some Americans accustomed to hearing coaches in their mainstream sports to hedge or flat-out fib about the prospects of contending for a title. The U.S. is no bottom-feeder in soccer, but it’s a team devoid of dynamic stars in a tournament overflowing with them. Klinsmann, like it or not, shoots as straight from the lip as Messi does from the leg extending from his hip, and an objective evaluation would reach a similar conclusion.
There was a Miracle on Ice, so anything is possible on grass. But devotees of any team that carries steep odds just to escape its group ought to swallow a dose of realism.
That said, the U.S. could steal a win in Brazil, and the slippery conditions today make soaked Natal the most probable scene of a crime. Wet footing figures to more negatively impact Ghana, which relies disproportionately on speed, plus longer passing that could be compromised by a skipping ball. (The forecast calls for about 40% chance of in-game precipitation.)
A postscript on Klinsmann: The remark over the weekend about scheduling his date of departure for home after the championship match was widely perceived as backtracking from his previous statements.
The comment more likely suggests that this transplant from Germany is learning about American sports culture, in which rose-colored glasses are the preferred eyewear for coaches. Of course, it also simply might mean that, if the U.S. is eliminated, he plans to hang around for the remaining matches.