World Cup 2010 Round of 16

Jun 23, 2010

Financial Times sports columnist and soccer author Simon Kuper was online from Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa to take your questions about the U.S.'s future in the World Cup, the Round of 16 playoffs and all your World Cup questions.

Related: Former U.S. National Team member Ben Olsen discusses the U.S.- Algeria game.

 You predicted the USA will rise to be one other dominant soccer powers. Has that era arrived, or do we have to wait another decade or two?

Also, what explains CONMEBOL's success? Does the Euro-press hype machine create a bias towards believing the European players are better. Many of the best players in Spain are from South America. Is the EPL missing the boat?

I know you're interested in how the cultures of nations affect their soccer success ... so how about the U.S.? Do you think the slow, gradual improvement by the national team could eventually bear fruit?

It's a big enough country that getting a larger purchase on public interest would seem to set us up for future success, right?

I think -- and I emphasize think, because the numbers seem confusing -- that there's no way the U.S. can play Germany because Germany will either win their group or not qualify. So, of Ghana, Serbia and Australia, who should the U.S. be afraid of?

In Ben Olsen's video chat earlier, he mentioned a European style of play and a Latin style of play. He suggested that, as the US is a melting pot, a hybrid style might be best for us. What are these two styles? Should the US favor one style over the other?

Which country would gain the most from winning this World Cup? Would Argentina get a huge boost? And is there any hope for Ghana, realistically?

Which team is flying under the radar that you think can win?

Hi Simon, Loved your book for so many reasons and thank you for doing the chat today.

Can you comment briefly on the English performance thus far, especially as it relates to some of the arguments you laid in the book about the high expectations and historical under-performance of the English National Team at the World Cup.

It seems that this year is a perfect demonstration of what you described in the book. Thanks!

Someone joked on Twitter that the USA is now officially a soccer nation because they were shafted by a bad call against Slovenia.

More seriously, there has been some really shaky officiating in this year's tournament (seemingly more so than in 2006). How can FIFA rectify this?

(LAST QUESTION)

Do you think the MLS will see any noticeable, sustained uptick from the US progressing through the Group Stage?

In This Chat
Simon Kuper
Simon Kuper is a sports columnist for the Financial Times and the author of a number of books focusing on global soccer culture and economics. His most recent book is the highly acclaimed "Soccernomics", which he co-authored with Stefan Syzmanski.
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