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Friday, June 18, 2010
Chambers: Soccer flops turn fans away


Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Kirk Chambers will share his World Cup thoughts with the AFC East blog throughout the tournament.

Kirk Chambers saw plenty of carnage last year.

The Bills finished the season with 21 players on injured reserve. Six of them played with Chambers on the offensive line. Right tackle Brad Butler blew out his knee. Rookie right guard Eric Wood suffered a broken leg reminiscent of Joe Theismann's.

So when Chambers watches soccer, a sport he otherwise loves, he understands how American football fans can be turned off by all the players theatrically thrashing on the pitch.

"As a football player, if I were to roll around on the ground and hold my knee when my I get my ankle clicked," Chambers said, "I think I'd lose a little respect in the business, where in soccer it's accepted, if not encouraged."

Chambers has a passion for soccer, but a few days into the World Cup, he sent me a text message to tell me we had to address flopping in our next blog item about the tournament.

"You think 'Oh, get up, you little ...' What's a word we can use on the blog? 'Get up you pansy,'" Chambers said. "I've seen guys writhing in pain with their hand over their face, and next thing you know their fingers are slit so they can look at the ref and see if it's working. It's just a joke at that point, right?"

Not a joke is the importance of Friday morning's game to the USA's chances of advancing to the second stage. The U.S. will play Slovenia.

Chambers predicts a 2-1 U.S. victory and a more legitimate result than the cheap draw it had with England last week. The U.S. tied on goalkeeper Robert Green's flub.

"In any sport, especially in a tournament like the World Cup, you need to have a little bit of luck on your side, too," Chambers said. "All of the teams that advance are going to get a lucky break. You take it when it happens.

"Would I have liked to see Jozy Altidore score on his run? That would have been a way cooler way to tie things up. But, hey, you take a shot outside the box and it rolls off the keepers' gloves, you take it."

You can follow the ESPNsoccernet Bracket Predictor that Chambers filled out. Also in his public league is Bills center Geoff Hangartner. You can see Hangertner's bracket, too.