Cup showing true colors in The City

The last week or so, our streets have been showing their true colors. The World Cup has brought out the worldly side of The City, with soccer fans wearing their national pride on their sleeves.

And it doesn’t seem to matter where they have to go to catch sight of the world’s biggest sporting event.

In North Beach around lunchtime on Monday, Italians are cheering and congratulating one another on Italy’s 2-0 victory over Ghana.

On Tuesday, late in the lunch hour, a crowd has congretated around the doorway of a tavern on Second Street, some on their toes, others straining their necks to see even a glimpse of Brazil’s opening game against Croatia.

On Thursday the English decend on Lower Haight to hold their collective breath, as England played its second match of the World Cup. Thankfully, for it seems as if the fans of England are waiting for the worst, England defeats Trinidad and Tobago on two late goals. They also get to see star Wayne Rooney play the final 30 minutes without further injury.

While it did not go well for the United States during its opening World Cup game — the Americans were thrashed 3-0 by the Czech Republic — the tournament serves as a reminder of the diverse makeup of the Bay Area, usually brought together in sport under the colors of the Giants or the 49ers. Not this week.

Brazil, although uninspired so far, remains the favorite, with Argentina also considered. The lackluster play of the English has made the European team most likely to make a run at the final a complete tossup.

No matter what your nationality, if you get a chance, be sure and check out the best player in the world, Brazil’s Ronaldinho, if for no other reason than to watch him defy several laws of physics and gravity when he has the ball at his feet.

With the World Cup’s pool play scheduled through Friday, the game the world calls football will kick it up several notches when 16 teams will be left to play one-game eliminations, much like the NCAA Tournament. Imagine The City’s streets when these games are contested.

WHILE I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION: There are those who watch NASCAR for the crashes, those who watch gymnastics to see somebody take a tumble, those who watch the downhill for the wipeouts.

Well, it you want to watch the best in the game of golf taken to their knees catch a bit of this U.S. Open.

The agony of defeat in any sport is a spectacle, but this week’s U.S. Open is something special. The best in the world reduced to hacking and grimacing.

There’s a better than 50-50 chance the winning score will be over par, and that will only come after one golfer has his game crushed less than all the others by the toughest U.S. Open course on record — Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

» Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins, Victor Santos and Ian Snell of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Enrique Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacks have taken the mound against the Giants at some time durng the last two weeks and given the Giants fits.

Young pitchers all with bright futures, sure, but no Greg Maddux, no Roger Clemens, no Johan Santana, no Roy Halladay. Now, I don’t know about you, but these are not guys I’m scared of when I look at the pitching probables. Let’s face it, the Giants are challenged offensively —Moises Alou and Pedro Feliz aside. We can only imagine their offensive woes when they face a top-flight pitcher.

If the Giants can somehow put together a couple of weeks of consistency, with pitching and defense keeping them in ballgames, look for general manager Brian Sabean to do everything in his powers to bring in another offensive weapon.

Tim Liotta hosts the weekend edition of “Sportsphone 680” on KNBR (680 AM).

SF Examiner
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