We’ve been doing our best to work up a healthy antipathy toward Algeria, whose national team we face tomorrow in a must-win World Cup match. As big fans of The Battle of Algiers and longtime observers of the country’s ruinous civil war, our hearts go out to the Algerian generations that have endured so much bloodshed. How can we credibly hate on a nation that has suffered to the Nth degree? (Also, they make some pretty decent wine.)
To get us in the sporting mood, then, we’ve dug deep into Algeria’s post-revolutionary history. As it turns out, the place was once a hotbed of Soviet-style anti-Americanism, under the successive far-left regimes of Ahmed Ben Bella and Houari Boumediene (above). Time labeled the nation “The Cuba of Africa”, and Algeria’s state-controlled media went to great lengths to brand America as something akin to The Great Satan:
One weekly newspaper showed a picture of beaming Chinese girls from a Chinese film next to a scene from an American film on life in a nudist colony. It commented:
“On one side, humanity in its beauty; on the other, a world of mediocity, vulgarity and stupidity.”
So when our men take the pitch tomorrow, do not think of the ensuing 90-plus minutes as a mere sporting contest. Think of it as our chance for revenge against a nation that once considered us a pack of decadent imperialist curs. If that thought doesn’t get you shouting “U-S-A!” at the top of your lungs every time Jozy Altidore touches the ball, nothing will.
Update American nudists of the early 1960s, thou art avenged.