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letters | following the bouncing ball

Sports page is no place to dismiss a team and its sport

A crowd in Boise watches the last minute of the World Cup game against Germany last week.

Kyle Green/The Idaho Statesman via AP

A crowd in Boise watches the last minute of the World Cup game against Germany last week.

As an avid reader of the Globe sports section, I was disgruntled to see recent columns by Dan Shaughnessy dismissing the US men’s national soccer team and the sport of soccer in general. I felt his opinions could not have been more off base.

Where Shaughnessy sees a team that barely squeaked past Ghana and blew it in the closing seconds to Portugal, I see a squad that survived the so-called Group of Death and was a mere few bounces away from advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup.

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Never before have I seen the sports section of a newspaper used as a device to criticize the very nature of a sport itself. Soccer is not my favorite sport. It’s not even my second-favorite. But I can recognize when something has taken a nation by the reins. Shaughnessy needed only to take a stroll to City Hall Plaza on Tuesday at 4 p.m., where thousands of fans had congregated to watch the U.S-Belgium match, to appreciate this.

Matthias Muendel

Chestnut Hill

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