America shocks the world Wednesday. But it's got nothing to do with Mark Sanford

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The United States national soccer team stunned the soccer-loving planet by upsetting the best team in the World, Spain, and ending Spain's amazing streak of 35 consecutive games without a loss, including 15 straight wins.

No matter how convulsed some here may be by Mark Sanford's tale of his distinctly foreign adventure, nothing will match the horror in Madrid, Barcelona and other capitals around the world. The U.S. beat Spain?! For sure, it was in a tournament in South Africa without any real consequences. It wasn't like we won at the World Cup, the once-every-four years of soccer.

But it was a big stage, nevertheless, and came after we were abysmal in defeats to Italy and Brazil, only luckily qualifying for this game by defeating Egypt as Italy was demolished by Brazil.

I wrote here that we were boys among men after those first two games. I now happily eat red, white and blue crow. We may not have a single player good enough to start for Spain's team but we actually performed as a team and, on this South African night, were better. I'm sorry Mark Sanford didn't have nearly as good a day.

 

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James Warren is the Chicago editor of the Daily Beast/Newsweek and an MSNBC analyst. He's former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune. More

James Warren is a former manager, editor and Washington bureau chief of The Chicago Tribune. An ink-stained wretch, he's labored at The Newark Star-Ledger, The Chicago Sun-Times, and the Tribune in a variety of positions, including financial reporter, legal affairs reporter-columnist, labor writer, media writer-columnist and features editor. The Washingtonian once tagged him one of the town's 50 most influential journalists (he thinks he was 46, the number worn by Andy Pettitte, a pitcher for his beloved New York Yankees). He's a political analyst for MSNBC. He was recently publisher and president of the Chicago Reader, and is now policy columnist for Business Week and twice-a-week Chicago columnist for The New York Times (you can find his handiwork on the paper's website and on new Chicago pages produced for Friday's and Sunday's Midwest print editions by the nonprofit Chicago News Cooperative, which he held to start). A native New Yorker, he's a happy resident of the wonderful, if ethically challenged, City of Chicago, where he lives just north of decaying Wrigley Field with his Pulitzer Prize-winning wife, Cornelia, and their sons, Blair and Eliot. Blair's t-ball team is, yes, the Yankees.

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