AUTHOR: Jim Geraghty

LENGTH: 274 words

THESIS: Americans have "World Cup fever," but only when we do well.

TERM BY WHICH GERAGHTY INDIRECTLY REFERS TO SOCCER: "The International Tiddlywinks Championship Final... USA vs Russia"

AMERICA'S SECRET WEAPONS: "some corn-fed tall kid from Iowa and a scrappy kid from Brooklyn"

RUSSIA'S SECRET WEAPONS: "a pair of the finest genetically-engineered mutants that former Soviet bioweapons labs can produce"

WHY A POST-CHAMPIONSHIP PROFESSIONAL 'TIDDLYWINKS' (AKA SOCCER) LEAGUE WILL FAIL: "No one at the bar cared about the sport, we care about watching Americans beat other countries with everything on the line."

THE LAST WORD: "If Team America is good, like in 2002, Americans will tune in and watch. (Tying England seems like a good start.) If they’re bad or ‘meh,’ like in 2006, the interest will die down quick."