Soccer is at heart a populist game, which in a weird way may explain why it has never truly caught on in the U.S. It is populist in the sense that all you need is a patch of flat ground, a ball and any sort of goal posts, which is the reason it is so popular in Africa.
That makes the 2010 World Cup even more exciting. Save for Cameroon's loss to England in overtime the 1990 quarterfinals, no African team has ever advanced that far in a World Cup, but this year may be an exception. I hope so.
Photograph by The Associated Press