JACK'S SMACK: U.S. vs. Belgium World Cup recap

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Our three-week fascination with soccer is now over for another four years.

I had to convince myself to buy in to this sport and it hasn't been easy. I'm beginning to look at it a little differently now because of the World Cup.

I was mesmerized watching USA and Belgium go at it for nearly three hours in that knock-out match. It’s the first soccer game I've watched in its entirety.

The performance by Tim Howard certainly got my attention and I couldn't leave my seat. He was brilliant covering up for some shoddy play from the American  defenders. Howard was under siege for three hours.

I see that the US coach Jurgen Klinnsmann is speaking his mind again. He told reporters today his players need to be held accountable when they play poorly. He also stated that we American's take losing too lightly.

And he's right. But for a lot of people, this is still a new experience.

Look, I hate losing, but I’ve never been more impressed watching a team in any sport pull together and play together the way our national team did in this world cup competition.

The talent on the U.S. squad was inferior. Belgium was clearly the better team. The Americans were the underdogs in all four matches in the tournament. They need to get better.

I still wonder how a country like Belgium, which is the size of the state of Maryland, can have so many skilled players on the same field.

We as a nation were sucked in-- we were pulled into this world soccer party because of patriotism. It was because of pride and love for the country.

I'm not sure what all this means to the casual fan, but it was the feel-good story of the year in soccer while it lasted.

That’s Jack’s Smack.

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