Saturday, June 12, 2010

2010 World Cup: England v USA

Hate these Saturday nights. There you are sat watching Doctor Who wondering why you'll never get the chance to go time travelling with Amy Pond when suddenly you realise the neighbours are having a party.

What do you do? Ignore it, gatecrash it, call the police? Or just sit silently fuming, hoping they have a really bad night?

Or reflect on your inability to have had a party of your own for about 12 years while acquainting yourself with a bottle of Scotch?

I suppose you could always just raise your glass and wish them all the best before getting on with your life.

Just one of those decisions that we all sometimes have to make. A ramble which, strangely enough, brings me all the way around to this evening's game in the World Cup.

England v USA. USA v England. Do you think folk in Canada wear ABUS t-shirts?

I've got a little preview of the game below written by Annette Lyndon. This is a World Cup fixture with a sixty year history. There's already US politicians involved. There might even be a certain frisson of excitement added by the stushie over BP.

As Annette explains the game might also provide a boost for the campaign to get the World Cup back to the States in 2018 or 2022. Given their rabid media the stakes are probably even higher for England.

I asked on Twitter for a preview from England but none were forthcoming so Annette's got a free run.

Me? I just want to see a good game. I'll still be thinking about Amy Pond anyway.
Tonight the United States of America face off against England in the Group C FIFA World Cup opening round. The game against England will initiate a 3 game round robin qualifier with in a group with Algeria and Slovenia. Each team will be competing for a spot in the Round of 16. While the USA has never played Slovenia or Algeria, they do have a history with England – having beaten them 60 years ago in a 1-0 upset victory in 1950 Brazil. You can bet England will be looking to settle the score this year in South Africa.

However, the United States is led by Coach Bob Bradley, who is determined to focus all of his energy and attention on the team in order to give them the best possible chance at winning. A former athlete himself, he focuses and trains just as hard, if not harder, than a lot of active athletes. He leads by example. He believes he has the USA team prepared for battle against England and whatever else the games might bring their way. If they win, it will be because of the hard work he’s put into coaching his team. If they lose, he’ll blame nobody but himself.

2002 proved to be the best U.S. finish in a World Cup since the tournament's inception in 1930. In 2006 they were eliminated in the first round. This year they are confident in their ability to perform against the competition in their group. They have high expectations to reach the Round of 16. While England is ranked 8th in the world, the U.S. is ranked 14th while Slovenia ranks 25th and Algeria ranks 30th.

The World Cup win against England in 1950 may arguably have been the greatest American soccer victory ever. With no other win capturing such a place in history in 60 years, the argument reinforces the notion that soccer has never really been America's sport and popularity amongst Americans never really picked up speed. However, in recent years soccer has earned a much larger following in the States with the growing popularity of U.S. Major League Soccer.

Additionally, U.S. fans have a lot to look forward to this year in light of recent revelations.

Americans recently found out that the United States is being considered as the host country for the 2018 World Cup. The last time the World Cup was hosted on American soil (1994), the event was attended by a total of 3.6 million people – a record despite the game's expansion since then. It was the highest attended single-sporting event in U.S. history.

Further excitement comes to USA fans as President Clinton and his top counselor, Doug Band, have accepted invitations to join the Board of Directors of the USA Bid Committee in an attempt to bring the World Cup to the US in 2018 or 2022. Adding them to the committee should increase the chance that the U.S. has at winning the bid since Bill Clinton and Doug Band are known worldwide for their international philanthropic initiatives, through the Clinton Global Initiative, thus improving the relationship the U.S. has with over 170 foreign countries.

With this news, a new fire has been lit amongst soccer enthusiasts throughout the American nation. The sense of pride that Americans are showing towards their team has experienced a boost that will surely be exemplified on Saturday when millions of Americans raise their red, white and blue flags, put on their war paint, and tune in to watch the USA battle England hoping to repeat history, 60 years later.
Thanks once again to Annette. If pushed I've got to say I fancy England but, given slow starts are now an English tradition to rival warm beer, cricket on the green and fawning over the Top Gear trio, the USA will fancy their chances of shutting up shop at the back and nicking something up front. I'll be ensconced in the pub but will try to Tweet during the game @ScotFootBlog