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Today in the World of Sports…

I was somewhat crushed Saturday when the United States lost in extra time to Ghana. With the 2-1 loss, the Americans’ last two World Cup defeats have been to Ghana. My hope was for the U.S. to make it to the knockout stage. But, once we advanced out of the group stage Wednesday, my American attitude emerged. I began to think the quarterfinals or semifinals were practically a given. The only positive I can walk away with from the Ghana game was Landon Donovan’s penalty-kick goal – and, that is pushing it. Sadly, the United States did succeed at conceding early goals. After four minutes into play, Ghana took a 1-0 lead on a poor defensive play from midfielder Ricardo Clark, who was later subbed out in the 31st minute for Maurice Edu. The 27-year-old Clark also was at fault for allowing Englishman Steven Gerrard’s score five minutes into the first half. Overall, you cannot blame one individual for the failures of a squad that lacked an offensive punch.

To become a truly respected team in World Cup play, the United States needs an international superstar. Every traditional powerhouse has one. Germany has Miroslav Klose, Argentina has Lionel Messi and Brazil has Kaka. Plus, these squads have a handful of other players that could fill the role of a superstar.

With soccer being a second- or third-tier sport in this country, the United States may never land a superstar who is admired at the international level. If only Freddy Adu had lived up to the media hype placed upon him five, six years ago….

According to ESPN, Saturday’s Ghana-U.S. match is the most viewed World Cup game in our nation’s history. It had 14.9 million viewers in close to 9.5 million households. The previous record was held by the England-U.S. meeting on June 12, which had 13.1 million watching. My thoughts are that ESPN is always breaking records that were set only a few weeks prior. It happens nearly every NFL week with Monday Night Football. Television ratings mean almost nothing to me. And, no, that is not the Arrested Development fan in me.

It was only a matter of time before Mike Freeman, national columnist for CBSSports.com, wrote a piece on the Jaguars’ struggles in Jacksonville. Primarily because Freeman lived on the First Coast while writing for the Florida Times-Union, I respect his opinions on this topic more than other national writers. He declares that “the Jaguars represent the official end of the small-market experiment the NFL launched some 15 years ago.”  Freeman, who has written for the New York Times and the Washington Post, opines that in two or three years the Jaguars will move to Los Angeles.  It is tiring to hear of the constant Jaguars-on-the-move talk, but, at least, Freeman did it with a respectful tone. “Jacksonville is a beautiful town full of good people hungry for football but hurting in their pocketbooks. No amount of begging for Jaguars fans to buy tickets can change those facts,” Freeman adds.

Mark Brunell, a three-time Pro Bowl selection at quarterback with the Jacksonville Jaguars, had planned on filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy last Friday at Jacksonville’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In numerous real-estate investments, Brunell, along with former Jaguars Todd Fordham and Joel Smeenge, had to default on loans. Having earned almost $52 million during a 15-year NFL career, the 39-year-old Brunell is an example to upcoming professional football players. Save your money, especially in this economic climate, and do not invest too much. I think Brunell, a Super Bowl champion last year with the New Orleans Saints, filing for bankruptcy has no bearing on what Jaguar fans think of the long-time Jag.

If you did not get emotional after seeing Bubba Watson win his first PGA Tour event Sunday at the Travelers Championship, after sinking a par putt on the second playoff hole, something is surely wrong with you. I would recommend seeing a doctor, stat.

How long will it take before FIFA establishes instant replay for the World Cup?


Richard Miller is a national broadcaster for Jacksonville Jaguars’ home games on Sporting News Radio.  Additionally, starting on July 10, you can hear him on AM 1530 as the host of Inside the Game. The program airs from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Currently, Richard is writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2010.

Follow Richard’s daily blog on The Jacksonville Observer and on Twitter @MillerOnSports.

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