Even after falling behind in the shootout, the English side kept its cool and won the shootout and the game. A less prepared team would likely have crumbled under the pressure.
No matter who you’re rooting for, soccer’s quadrennial international showcase offers all the typical attractions of a major sporting event — manufactured personal narratives! Tepid rivalries! Nonsensical rankings that defy historical context — as well as a few rarely found in domestic competitions. What sets the World Cup apart? It’s operatic and emotional on purpose.
It is also the biggest competition for the most popular sport on Earth, a sport played terribly by millions of American children. As such, it provides young players and their parents with a way to learn about soccer. Over three million of those players live in the United States, and most of them are coached by their parents.