Mosconi Cup – Nearing The End

Saturday morning brought a gorgeous day to Malta. The sun perfectly balances the cool of the air, a nice yin and yang combo that invites leisurely walks along the shore. The surf has now calmed and the Mediterranean is as smooth as a teacup. The ships that constantly pass create the only waves. But there are lots of waves in the tournament room. Saturday saw the virtual destruction of the American hopes for victory. As the losses mounted so did the tension on the US team and he day gradually descended into bickering and even tantrums.

The American side just never gelled as a team this year. While the Europeans were always together as a team, moving as a single unit, the Americans were a band of individuals who went their own ways. Only rarely were two or more of them spotted together outside of the practice room. Every morning at breakfast the Euros sat together and lightened one another's spirits. The yanks sat at separate tables from one another and groused. Scapegoats are being sought. Everyone and everything is being blamed for the now critical 9-5 score-line. The pockets are too big. The crowd is too rude. The Euro's do not show the proper respect. Excuses all. Champions like these are expected to find ways to win, not reasons to lose.

The days of American domination of the Cup are over. The European players have, over the course of the last three years, proven themselves to be the new royalty of pool. They own all of the major championships in 2008 and, while the yanks like to say they will take on any of them, are no longer willing to occupy the back seat of the game. While the rest of the world learned this game from the Americans, we are now in a situation where the pupil has surpassed the teacher. It is time for bravado to be banished and a new discipline to rise or the Mosconi Cup could find itself overseas for a very long time to come.

There are only six matches left to be played. The American side must win them all to take the cup while the Euro's need only two. If the Americans cannot find a way to replace their emotion with determination then it could be a very early evening indeed.