Tequila Mockingbirds

Hey, it's the Mexican Hanukkah, or something. I looked it up on Wikipedia - because I was in the mood to be lied to - and apparently we're commemorating the battle that started the French losing streak. I thought it was the Prussians, but nope. Mexico. It's French people that should be drinking heavily today, not Mexicans.

By "Mexicans," of course, I mean "college students." Cinco de Mayo is authentically Mexican like Columbus Day is authentically Colombian. It's almost as embarrassing as St. Patrick's Day.

Wow...I'm in a bad mood. You know what usually cheers me up when I feel like this? Good old Jamie Trecker.


....nope. Now I'm even more perturbed.

My gosh. This means our victory over Ghana might be tainted.

Last week on the Galaxy supporters board in which I loiter, someone dredged up a thread from before the 2006 World Cup where BigSoccer user Autogolazo transcribed an interview where Bruce Arena had this to say about the African entries in the World Cup. Read it and weep.

Well, he was right. Only one African team even made it to the second round. Problem was, they stepped on Bruce's face to get there.

And now we find out they were TANKING? Jesus, Mary and John Holmes!

A quick doodle through Google shows that the Brazil second round game is Miller's likely culprit.

More detail from the author on his blog and in a Spiegel interview from September.

Ghana's FA made a lot of noise at the time, I've heard nothing about any follow-up. Maybe Hill's return to the news will remind them.

There are two really disquieting aspects about this. First of all, aren't fixed matches supposed to benefit the underdog? Brazil was a fairly solid favorite to win the whole tournament. How much money could they possibly have made betting on them to make it through the second round?

Worse still - far worse - was that the US couldn't get in on this action and have Ghana tank a game earlier. Hell, whatever it would have cost in bribes, we could have made it back the next game. I'm sure we could have accepted money to lose to Brazil, too.

But no - Bruce Arena thought Ghana were no match for our skill and experience.

This probably isn't a decent matter for joking. Brian Glanville, in recent editions of "The Story of the World Cup," hints darkly that Colombia was bribed or intimidated into throwing their games in 1994. Glanville didn't exactly follow up that theory with a whole ton of evidence, apart from the circumstances of Andres Escobar's death.

Which would pretty much make the post-Shot Heard Round The World era of US Soccer into an Ashlee Simpson Saturday Night Live jig. Which is why the lack of evidence bothered me, and which is why I threw out my pre-1994 copy of Glanville's book. You have more accusations of other Cups being fixed - although I think Ollie could tell you that Havelange is nuts. When they fixed games back in those days, it was pretty obvious - Argentina-Peru, 1978; West Germany-Austria, 1982. So extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and Glanville never came through.

Hill might not, either, but Ghana's apparent failure to follow through on legal action argues otherwise. If Hill is right, they've certainly gotten a good deal more devious about fixing World Cup games than in olden times.

And here we are, reading about other countries benefiting. Sunil, how are you going to bribe your way to hosting another World Cup if you can't bribe the team into the second round?