Norway embraces Association Football setting up Scandinavian rivalry at AF

Norway loves AF! Your turn Sweden

Norway loves Association Football – the sport and the blog! The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation has run a story on Americans embracing soccer and watching the World Cup in record numbers. The piece, titled “Amerikanrnes VM-interesse tar av (The Americans Interest in the World Cup Takes Off)” picks up a quote of Max’s from today’s Agence-France Presse story about Americans embracing soccer and puts it together with a link to the AF post of videos of Americans celebrating the Donovan goal. This is a bit of a breakthrough of our own as America’s (and the world’s – go Jakarta Globe!) interest in Association Football is also taking off.

The entire AFP story is worth reading and the broad interest in the growth of soccer in America (and AF’s contribution to that analysis!) reinforces my view that the sport may be on the verge of a breakthrough. Nearly as many Americans watched the USA v England game (17 million) as did game 7 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Celtics (19 million). President Obama called the US team to congratulate them on winning the group and reported that the West Wing erupted in cheers when Donovan’s late winner went in, temporarily interrupting a meeting with General David Patraeus. President Clinton is in South Africa and has “fallen in love with soccer at my very advanced age.”

We love the love from the Norwegians, but it does set up a good spirited Scandinavian rivalry here at AF.You see, both Max and I are engaged to wonderfully loving and understanding women. Max’s fiancee is half Swedish. Two of my fiancee’s bridesmaids are half Norwegian. I’d say score one for me and Max has got some work to do to get the Swedes to step up. Knowing what I do about the intra-Scandinavian rivalry, I expect a “Who Loves Association Football More” arms race culminating in the final battle royal in January 2011 with a John Arne Risse vs. Freddie Ljungberg smackdown at our wedding reception. Your turn Sweden!

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