Two-Minute Drill

Agostini: Americans finally getting a grip on World Cup

ragostini@modbee.comJune 27, 2014 

Reading time, two minutes:

• Americans are starting to get it about the World Cup. You writhe in agony over a tie (Portugal) and wave the flag after a loss (Germany).

• Team USA out-stared the Group of Death with a truly scary weapon – the deep-set haunted eyes of Clint Dempsey.

• Soccer fans celebrated after the 1-0 loss to Germany. We haven’t seen that many happy faces after a loss since the Heat were dethroned by the Spurs.

• Portugal-USA was the most-watched soccer game in the nation’s history. Ronaldo even provided an encore – the goal on Thursday that clinched the USA’s advance.

• Tiger Woods has been listed as the favorite at next month’s British Open by people who did not watch him play this week.

• Woods’ return was blemished by off-target tee shots. Wait a minute. He misses fairways when he’s healthy.

• Michelle Wie danced and partied after she won the U.S. Women’s Open. Imagine that – a 24-year-old golfer acting her age.

• For those who think Wie’s win was overdue, consider: Hall-of-Famer Annika Sorenstam won her first major at 24.

• The Giants’ Tim Lincecum is the second pitcher to win two World Series rings, two Cy Youngs and throw two no-hitters. The first (drum roll, please): Sandy Koufax.

• It would be at least polite if the Dodgers wave as they blow by the Giants.

• The Giants are slumping because much of their lineup were Fresno Grizzlies a month ago.

• The A’s trailed Boston 6-1 with two outs and no one on in the eighth last Sunday. They didn’t lose until David Ortiz’s homer in the 10th. That tells you why the A’s are so good.

• Sandy Barbour will step down as Cal Athletic Director. The cheering in the distance comes from countless Ol’ Blues.

• Some of the criticism of Barbour was unfair given the thankless challenge she confronted, but: When your football team loses on the field and in the classroom and your address is Berkeley – and you chose the coach – you’re not long for that job.

• New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver received a standing ovation at this week’s draft. Somewhere, former commissioner David Stern wondered, “Why didn’t they love me?”

• The Warriors, minus draft picks, stood pat. It was quiet, too quiet. The Kevin Love Saga is not over.

• The Kings acquired another 2-guard in Michigan sharpshooter Nik Stauskas. Sooner or later, the Kings will get that pick right.

• We’ve reached another weekend. Sound the Johnny Manziel warning sirens.

• Uruguay’s Luis Suarez was banned for four months after his third biting of an opponent. He’ll have time to be fitted for a muzzle.

• Suarez, the Liverpool star, has scored five goals in the last two World Cups only to be eventually banished in both. He’s dizzy from all those headspins from “good guy” to “bad guy.”

• Argentina soccer legend Maradona dismissed Suarez’s bite as “incidental contact.” Sure, if you live on Mars.

• Just because I’m in a futbol mood: Franz Beckenbauer.

• Analysts can’t figure out why teams from North, Central and South America have performed so well at the World Cup. Could it possibly be those foot-pounding, screaming partisan crowds?

• Mexico opens its knockout stage Sunday against Netherlands. Our neighbors wouldn’t even have qualified for the World Cup without an assist from the USA. Just a “Gracias, Estados Unidos” will do.

• Go figure: The USA meets Belgium on Tuesday while England, Spain, Italy and Portugal watch.

• I’m off for the next two weeks. When I return, my shots will be on-frame.

Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at or (209) 578-2302. Follow him on Twitter @ModBeeSports.

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