USA were a heavy underdog going into the match against England yesterday afternoon (2:30 p.m. here in the Eastern time zone), so the final, a 1-1 tie, feels like a victory for the Stars-and-Stripes.
“KC,” “D” and I watched the game at Ed’s Tavern in Lakewood Ranch. The crowd was made up of mostly US fans, with a handful of England supporters sprinkled in for good measure. The English, complete with flags and face paint, were louder than I’d expected…until the last few minutes of the game, when the tie was pretty much a certainty.
According to the Telegraph:
After the hyperbole of the build-up, England were seemingly cruising at 1-0 through Steven Gerrard’s early goal when, in front of the nation, the world, Green let a routine shot from Clint Dempsey slip through him and into the net. As he scrambled back in hopeless despair he must have wanted to dig himself into the turf.
…This was far from a disaster for England, though. The United States are a compact, organised defensive unit with speed and guile going forward and the draw should not impede England’s progress. They really should have won, despite Green’s error, having 18 shots on goal and getting into promising positions only to hit a frustratingly poor final ball.
…if you needed any further evidence of how the Americans viewed this result, you only had to watch their team rushing to celebrate with their fans at the final whistle as if they had won.
That last bit is absolutely true — the US fans at Ed’s went wild at the tie. If you consider that England fans had been trash-talking for months (the word “hyperbole” used in the Telegraph piece is appropriate), a tie to the US team is unsatisfying for the English and very satisfying for the Americans.
There was a lot of “Rooney S**KS” going on at Ed’s yesterday. I didn’t know who Rooney was, but my post-match reading tells me he’s England’s “main man.” I know enough about soccer to know that the US did a good job covering him yesterday, and I also know enough to know that his team, Manchester United, are the Yankees of the soccer world. Frankly, this means he would s**k even if he were the greatest player ever.
Former US player Alexi Lalas wrote this for the Guardian:
The United States have an incredible opportunity to beat England. I’m not just waving the flag for my country here; Fabio Capello’s team think they are much better than they actually are and Bob Bradley’s side really are much better than most people seem to think.
Don’t get me wrong, England are still a very good team but they have a warped perception of how talented they are. They do inflate their worth – it’s something the English have a cultural history of doing. It’s all very interesting and part of how international business is done but it’s detrimental to your football team.
I don’t think the English are real happy about this. Here is a sampling of the comments reacting to this column (don’t blame me for any errors in spelling or grammar):
“I’ve read more insight pieces on the back of Penguin Bars.”
“Before I read this article I wanted England to stuff the USA, now I simply wish it even more.”
“I’ve been watching Lalas over here in the States on ESPN. He was a very good player, his record speaks for itself. However, as a pundit he is a complete moron. His face appears on my tv and I turn on the remote.
Like others in this thread, I hope England stuff the States today, if only to wipe the smile away from Alexei’s smug face.”
“Look up arrogance in the dictionary it says ‘see USA'”
“I’d compare Landon Donavan to the milky bar kid”
Touchy, aren’t we?
And now for the completely superficial, completely girlie side of me. I am enjoying ESPN’s coverage of this in large part because the aforementioned Alexi Lalas cleans up VERY nicely.
Slovenia, here we come!