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June 25, 2010


World Cup in America

Diana Ross at the World Cup opening ceremony, 1994

Now that the US team has done well enough to advance to the next round, it's time for World Cup fever to sweep America! We like sports that we're good at. The game against Ghana tomorrow afternoon (2:30 on ABC!) is probably going to be the most watched soccer game yet this year.

The first time I remember being aware of the World Cup was in 1994, when it was hosted here in the US. In doing some research about that year's tournament, my friend T-Rock happened upon the description of the opening ceremony, which was held in Chicago. Here's the Wikipedia entry. It keeps getting better:

The opening ceremony of the World Cup was held on 17 June at Chicago's Soldier Field. Numerous dignitaries attended, including US President Bill Clinton, Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl and President of Bolivia Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. The ceremony was emceed by Oprah Winfrey.

In addition, Daryl Hall, Jon Secada and Diana Ross gave musical performances. Ross was also supposed to kick a football into the goal from the penalty spot at the end of her performance, with the goal then splitting in two as part of a pre-orchestrated stunt. She kicked the ball wide to the left, missing the goal, but the goalposts were collapsed anyway in accordance with the stunt plans.

From the American perspective, the most important aspect of the 1994 World Cup is definitely the video for Daryl Hall's horrific theme song, "Gloryland", which plays sort of like a 9/11 tribute video combined with a Disney World ad. It also features segments from the opening ceremony, which demonstrate that even a serious sports country like the United States is powerless to resist creating a big ridiculous Eurotrashtastic explosion of kitsch when planning a soccer-related gala event:

You can watch just Diana Ross's failed penalty kick and exploding goalposts here. For future reference, don't stage the crescendo of your globally televised soccer event around a 50 year-old diva scoring a goal.

categories: Celebrities, Culture, Music, Sports
posted by amy at 12:08 PM | #

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Wow, Hall and Oates, huh? I'm having a hard time figuring out how 1994 can look so cheesy. Wasn't it just yesterday? And Jorge Campos' day-glo goalie outfit! Ha, I had forgotten all about that.

Interesting, '94 World Cup also ended with a superstar missing an easy goal, when the Italy-Brazil Final went to penalty kicks and Italy's Roberto Baggio missed the final kick, costing his team the championship.

I plan to be glued to the TV today to see US take on the Black Stars of Ghana. They eliminated us from the tourney last time around, so hopefully we will kindly return the favor, and in a little less nail-biting fashion.

Posted by: ORStylee at June 26, 2010 7:21 AM

I remember that penalty kick that Baggio botched in the Italy-Brazil final-- it's probably the most wildly melodramatic sports moment I'd ever witnessed. Being American, I was unaccustomed to professional athletes openly displaying that kind of agony. Or that elaborate a rat tail.


Posted by: amy at June 30, 2010 7:40 PM

That video made me want to move to Canada more than anything that has happened since the reelection of George Bush.

And exactly: 1994 wasn't that long ago. How could it look so tacky today?

Posted by: T-Rock at July 1, 2010 1:20 PM

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