Complain all you want about how sports in the U.S. are run, but the playing fields aren't always greener on the other side.
In Europe, FIFA, the soccer federation, is dealing with problems associated with the 2022 World Cup's timing and venue. For one, after awarding the World Cup to Qatar, those running FIFA wonder now if it'd be better to play the games in winter when it will be cooler — only that's when all the European leagues are operating.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are better known for their verbal fights and occasional border clashes, but for the first time since 1976, they battled on a soccer field in Kabul.
Some 6,000 rabid Afghan fans cheered on their team, clad in red uniforms. There were horns, flags, and face paint. It looked like any soccer game in the world, except for all the riot police, snipers, and Blackhawk helicopters passing overhead periodically.
Ahmad Mirwais, a 27-year-old tailor, was one of those lucky enough to score a ticket.
Afghanistan's soccer players dance to celebrate beating Pakistan, in a friendly match played Tuesday in Kabul.
Credit Rahmat Gul / AP
Soccer fans are strutting in Afghanistan today, after their national team defeated neighboring Pakistan, 3-0, in a friendly match sponsored by FIFA, soccer's governing body. Before Tuesday's match in Kabul, the two teams had not played each other in more than 30 years.
Afghan media relished the win, with the Pajhwok news agency declaring, "Afghanistan lash Pakistan in historic soccer duel."
Members of the U.S. men's soccer team take a lap around the field after beating Panama 1-0 to capture the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Sunday in Chicago.
Credit Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images
At the beginning of 2013 — with only a year before soccer's crown jewel event, the World Cup in Brazil — all was not rosy with the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team. There was that 0-0 tie with Canada, and then a 2-1 loss to Honduras in a World Cup qualifier.