By the way, how do you spin Beckham’s reluctance to actually talk to the local media after his Olympic snub? Why, you let the subject-shy Beckham still get his facetime on camera with an “exclusive interview” with the team website wherein he dictates what questions are asked):
The game of the week locally: German fans will gather at Alpine Village near Torrance, while those of Italian descent will live and die with their team at the Italian American Club in San Pedro for Thursday’s decider between the two nations.
American soccer fans in general have embraced the tournament to a greater extent than ever before:
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — The European Championship’s viewership is up big from four years ago.
The average audience in the United States was up 82 percent for English-language broadcasts through the group stage. The 24 matches on ESPN averaged more than 1 million viewers. For Euro 2008, the games were watched by an average of 552,000 people.
“We’ve done well. In certain games that we’ve played even when they’ve not played well, they’re battling … showing a togetherness, which is obviously important, we’ve got character, we’ve got a lot of young kids in the team with a lot of pace and they’re all performing.
“The manager is making the right changes at the right times and coming up against a good Italian tomorrow with players like (Andrea) Pirlo, I’ve obviously played with him, he’s one of the most exceptional passers I’ve ever seen.
“But then we’ve got Stevie G (Gerrard) who, again, is one of the best midfielders I’ve ever played with so, we’ve definitely got a chance of beating them. I would hope we do and then we come up against the Germans in the semifinal, which would be nice.
“It’s a proud time for our country. If our team does well in international competition it would be great for our fans.
“I’m sure they’ve got a huge amount of respect for each other — they are two of the best midfielders in the world,” Beckham added about Pirlo and Gerrard. “Whoever plays well is going to set up the team to win the game.
“There’s a lot of players in this game that can win it, players like forward (Antonio) Cassano, I played with him before, he’s a dangerous player. Players like (striker Mario) Balotelli, he is what he is, he’s a goal scorer and he’s been exceptional for Man. City and he scored a great goal in the last game. And we’ve got Wayne (Rooney) and other players who have been playing well like (Danny) Welbeck.”
Classy Keane: Robbie Keane salutes a fellow Irishman who lost his life in Poland at Euro 2012 after scoring against Vancouver Saturday at Home Depot Center (Photo by Robert Mora, courtesy LA Galaxy).
Said Robbie Keane after the game to reporters:
“It was for a young fan who went to Poland , 21 years of age, he drowned. It was very, very sad. I called his father today to send my condolences, send my thoughts to him and his family. Irish people are very close and stick to each other through good times and bad times. He was a big soccer fan and it was a shame, it was just a bit of respect really. I may give (the) shirt to his father, if he wants it.”
Onto the game:
Last Saturday the Galaxy sat dead last in the Western Conference with 11 points from 13 games.
“We could have gotten more goals, but I don’t want to be greedy, at this point,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “I think we are slowly becoming a good team. And, I think that inside our locker room we understand what it takes to become a good team. It was an important week for us. We are back in playoff contention. And, there are going to be a lot of difficult games ahead. Next week, we play, probably, the best team in the league right now in San Jose . We have a lot ahead. Hopefully, our guys have learned a lot in the first 16 games. We’ve learned enough to get us through the next 18.”