Friday, October 16, 2009

Turkey 2, Armenia 0

So Armenia lost to Turkey on the soccer field, and no major violence broke out, which makes sense, since the Armenians were outnumbered in Turkey and would hardly be expected to riot. An interesting English-language report by an Armenian writer gives the full story from an Armenian point of view. Apparently the Turks didn't sell any tickets but only allowed invited guests to go, which allowed them to vet the fans beforehand: no crazy nationalist Turks allowed. It seems the Armenians were happy to leave without getting beaten up.

Meanwhile, we'll see where the diplomatic thaw between the two sides may lead. The president of Armenia made a first-ever visit to Turkish soil in advance of the game, which was a minor breakthrough, and could lead to further negotiations. The two sides will have plenty of side to chat together next summer, since both have been eliminated from the World Cup competition. Who will they cheer for? The U.S.?

Given the U.S. team's recent performance, clinching the top spot in its North American qualifying group, they may have plenty to cheer for. I'm still rooting for Bahrain to make it on November 14.

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