I am currently polishing my book about the eight World Cups I have covered, enjoying memories from Barcelona in 1982 to the American rally against Algeria in 2010 on a goal by – now here’s a name from the past -- Landon Donovan.
The bulk of the book needs to be turned in by July 1 so it can be published next May, before the World Cup in Brazil.
However, the last chapter is just sitting there, unfinished and unresolved. Right now it looks like the editor could be waiting for the final chunk of copy in late November.
Our Lads are currently in the middle of six finalists from their region. The American team plays its two final qualifiers, against Jamaica in Kansas City on Oct. 11, and in Panama on Oct. 15. But if the Yanks finish fourth, they will have to play a home-and-home series against New Zealand, the winner from the Oceania Football Confederation, in November.
After watching the Americans once again look inadequate in a friendly against Belgium on Wednesday night, I don’t see them dominating their Concacaf region. Jurgen Klinsmann’s team plays his home nation of Germany in Washington, D.C., on Sunday at 2:30 PM in good old RFK Stadium.
The Germans have not called in regulars from Bayern Munich or Dortmund, who played in the Champions League final last Saturday, but I think reserve players from the Bundesliga could infiltrate the American defense.
This generation – at least the version assembled and coached by Klinsmann – is clearly not working out. After watching the defense bumble against Belgium, I am extremely nostalgic for stalwarts of the past.
Whatever Donovan has left, can you imagine how he could open up the field with his speed and experience?
As of now, the last chapter in my soccer book is sitting there, awaiting a conclusion.
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.