Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up
NBCSports Header Logo

Wherein I compare Olympic soccer to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

The Olympic Torch Makes Its Final Journey Across London Towards The Opening Ceremony

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Replica Royal Barge The Gloriana, carrying the Olympic flame, moves off from a barge containing giant Olympic rings on the final day of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay on The River Thames on July 27, 2012 in London, England. The Olympic flame is making its way through the capital on the final day of its journey around the UK before arriving in the Olympic Stadium tonight for the Olympic games’ Opening Ceremony. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Women’s soccer and the Olympics? Yes, please.

In fact, can we have seconds? Especially after that highly entertaining crackerjack of a match Wednesday, a U.S. win replete with drama, burgeoning superstars (Alex Morgan will soon rule the world) and plenty of quality soccer.

But men’s soccer is always an oddity, falling squarely into that gray area squarely between “meaningful event” and “useless gimmick.”

I suppose it’s a little like that goofy Oscar Mayer Wienermobile that way; the old staple of Americana is clearly a commercial device, but if you strip it down to the core, you could call it dependable transportation that does take a fellow where he needs to be.

And like the Wienerrmobile, Olympic men’s soccer just doesn’t look right as it rolls down the thoroughfare.

That’s because it’s a clear second fiddle to World Cup soccer. Most soccer supporters know so and more or less dismiss Olympic men’s soccer.

But if you’re a little new to the peculiar nuance of Olympic soccer, the New York Times story this morning is a great place to get caught up quickly.

It’s also a good catch-up on the oddity of Team Great Britain and what a difficult, complicated marriage of convenience that thing has been.

(More: “Injured” Gareth Bale pulled out of Olympics, then made stunning recovery)

The NYT piece ends in the oddest of places, where FIFA boss-man Sepp Blatter and I actually agree on something – a truly jaw-dropping turn. In the World Cup and the European Championships, the UK nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) compete as separate nations, of course. But the IOC recognizes the UK countries as one.

From Jere Longman’s story in the Times:

However these Games turn out, they might be Britain’s last Olympic soccer appearance for the immediate future. There is some appetite to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but qualification would be required. And many, including Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s president, doubt whether the four constituent countries could muster sufficient and collective enthusiasm to do so.

Then he quotes Blatter as saying “I don’t think that’s likely.”

Gee, Sepp, ya think?