Monday, March 17, 2008

Canada may play a part in the next Soccer War

When us Yanks think of one country hating another country, we almost always think about other countries hating the United States. Which is part of the very arrogance that makes us so hated. Despite our conceit, the fact is that much of the intercontinental hatred on this earth flows between nations we don't so much as think twice about.

Stick Guatemala feelings about its northern neighbor Mexico in this category. How else can one explain Guatemala losing by five goals to Canada in an Olympic qualifying soccer match? A result -- in a match which was insignificant to Guatemala -- that made it virtually impossible for Mexico to qualify for Beijing by burying them far behind Canada in the tie-breaking goal-differential category. (Lest anyone think Canada legitimately beat Guatemala by five goals, please remember that soccer is a very low scoring game which is not played on ice.)

Mexico did their best to get the last laugh, but their 5-1 dismantling of soccer minnow Haiti came up one goal short, and their Olympic dreams have been quashed.

While Olympic soccer doesn't carry the same kind of passion that World Cup soccer does, Guatemala and Mexico hail from the same geographical region that brought us 1969's Word Cup qualifying match triggered Soccer War. The hundred hour battle between El Salvador and Honduras left 4000 dead and 100,000 displaced.

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