soccerMany Americans are celebrating Team USA's improbable run in the World Cup, emerging from the so-called "Group of Death" to take on the fierce Belgians on July 1.

The men's national team thrilled with the nail-biter conquest of "America-killer" Ghana, which booted Team USA from the last two Cups.

Millions were denied rapture after the exquisite Christiano Ronaldo, with seconds left in extra time, made a perfect pass to earn heavy-favored Portugal a tie. The US held on for dear life against far-superior Germany, which at one point outshot America by 76 to seven, by losing only by one goal to advance to the next round because of point differentials.

Some dreary writers criticized Team USA for "backing into" the next round of play. The president of the US Soccer Assn. dismantled that line, saying if the win over Ghana was Game 3 rather than Game 1, Team USA would have won high praise for advancing into the playoffs. Case closed.

America celebrates soccer every four years for about two weeks, until our team is eliminated. Then we re-focus on baseball and the football pre-season.

Sadly, some conservative pundits are sickened by the enthusiasm for what they see as an attack by foreigners on American values.

Right-wing ideologue Ann Coulter yesterday authored a bitter screed against all things soccer. "If more 'Americans' are watching soccer today, it's only because of the demographic switch affected by Teddy Kennedy's 1965 immigration law," she ranted. "No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer." The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act ended discrimination against immigration of Africans and Asians to the US. Shame on you, Ann: those immigrants are as much of a US citizen as your blue blood is.

Coulter's rambling and biased attack on the soccer-crazed US citizens also had swipes at "soccer moms," the New York Times, teamwork, co-ed sports, Hillary Clinton, lack of fighting in soccer, Beyonce, metric system and not being able to use hands when playing soccer ("What sets man apart from the lesser beasts, besides a soul, is that we have opposable thumbs."). Geez, get a life!

Must Coulter and her ilk politicize everything under the sun? Must they always express scorn and vengeance?

Soccer is a game. It's a fleeting diversion or joy to Americans. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Advice to Ann, catch a couple of New York Met baseball games and you might begin to think soccer isn't too bad after all.

I'm wondering if I should replace my Mets shirt with a nifty Team USA shirt. It would be nirvana if the Amazin's back into the playoffs via a wild card this year.