After watching Spain’s David Villa score his team’s 3rd goal today on a disputed penalty, my thoughts naturally turned to the uphill battle facing the U.S. against Italy on Saturday.

When a match can so easily turn on  a referee’s decision, why hasn’t U.S. Soccer made attempts to unduly influence the whiste-blowers? Such efforts would hardly be unheard of in the world of top-flight football (as the Azzuri know all too well), and certainly a nation with America’s vast wealth and military/intelligence resources should be well equipped to pull something off. It’s all well and good for George W. to ring up Bruce Arena and say “give ’em hell”, but what, Mr. President, are you doing to help our boys in Germany?

Seriously. Are you trying to tell me that a country capable of invading a soverign nation, a country that has already demonstrated it can maintain secret prisons on foreign soil, would have any trouble kidnapping a referee or 2? Bad enough that our primitive soccer skills have been exposed to the rest of the globe, but how can we be content knowing our torture techniques weren’t severe enough to get the job done?

At moments like this, I am ashamed to be an American.