US SoccerUS Soccer

Manya's Musings as Group Play Draws to a Close

Manya Makoski is laid up with a broken leg suffered while playing with her USL W-League team, but if you’re going to break your leg, you might as well do it right before the World Cup (as long as you are not actually ON the World Cup Team of course). The injury knocked her out of this summer’s Nordic Cup, but it did give the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team standout a chance to watch as many World Cup games as she wants.
She checks in from her couch on her thoughts on the World Cup so far.

Franz Beckenbauer is right about the amount of cards being pulled out in this year’s World Cup (averaging about five per game!). “Der Kaiser” knows his soccer, and considering the Germans have never been ones to pull out of tackles, I have to defer to “His Kaiserness.” Mystery yellow cards are being thrown at players in almost every game.

Dutch forward Arjen Robben received a yellow card for supposedly diving. I didn’t even need to see an instant replay to know that the defender got a nice chunk of his leg as he sped past. Maybe Robben got the card because his teammates (who were complaining about him being a ball hog), put a bug in the referee’s ear to get him off the field. Highly unlikely, I know, but the Dutch have never known for their team chemistry.

Despite two questionable red cards (I don’t care if they were warranted, as a fan of the USA, I am outraged!), our boys did what they needed to do against Italy. Team USA kept their dream alive with a draw against what looked to be a pretty ruthless Italian squad. Okay, it was an own goal by defender Cristian Zaccardo that gave us the tie (See: ways to score an own goal #6 - trying to clear the ball with your shin guard).

An unpredictable Ghana (who made history by winning their first ever World Cup game) is up next for the USA and I will temporarily become an fan of Italy when they square off against the Czechs. Hopefully, Italian Head Coach Marcello Lippi has a shrewd tactical plan to keep Zaccardo away from their own goalmouth.

Embarrassed by their worst finish since 1962 at the 2002 World Cup, emerging favorite Argentina team made a statement with their 6-0 win over Serbia & Montenegro. Even former superstar Diego Maradona (complete with bling-bling around his neck and wearing his own jersey…who does that?) was going crazy in the stands for his home country. I can’t decide which made me laugh the most, watching Maradona’s wacky celebrations in the stands, or hearing one of the commentators compare Argentinean forward Carlos Teves’ strength to that of a “little fire hydrant.” As I’m on the short side at 5-3, I hope I don’t ever get compared to a “little fire hydrant.” Or really, any sort of fire hydrant.

Ronaldo was pretty much a non-factor again in the Brazil vs. Australia match. Two shots on goal isn’t going to get you the Brazilian World Cup goal record. Okay, never mind the record. Two shots on goal isn’t going to keep you on Manya’s “Favorite Players to Watch” list. And let me tell you, that's a highly exclusive list. I fear that the Australian fan dressed in a kangaroo suit might stand a chance against Ronaldo in one-v-one.

I was excited to get a couple of e-mails from some fans. (This means I no longer have to go to bed at night worrying whether anyone actually reads my journals). I was especially happy to receive one from future Arizona State Sun Devil Hannah Messick (for those who don’t know, that’s my Alma Mater; sure feels weird to say that… did I really just graduate college?). All Sun Devils must think alike because like me, she thought the Dutch kits were exceptionally “sweet-looking.” To quote Hannah, “Nike definitely did a quality job of incorporating KNVB's colors, history, and style into two uniforms.” Well done Hannah, with diction and vocabulary like that, you will graduate from the Journalism School at ASU in no time.

Another fan, Corey McBeth, thinks that I’m hilarious. Thank you Corey for helping pump up my self-confidence. I think the rule is that anyone who says I’m hilarious gets their name mentioned in the column. My goals are just to give my fans something to laugh about, maybe think about, and maybe even complain about!

As always, keep’em coming. I welcome your opinions, thoughts, and musings on what has certainly been a highly entertaining World Cup so far. Email me at

Play on!