US-England: What We’ve Been Waiting For

I think we can win. I think we can draw. I know we can lose. All three outcomes are possible and the tactics of the game have been poured over endlessly. In the end, this will come down not to who the managers chose to as their starting 11 but how those players preform, and how the managers adjust.

US fans know that there are two US teams. One team plays fearlessly… plays as as one, plays above its talent and demonstrates the no holds bar, the can’t hold us down aggression that we Americans often think of as inherent cultural traits. And the other team is one that can look overwhelmed by the situation, shows nerve in the face of a more celebrated opponent, and plays as if the game is new to our country. Sometimes both teams appear simultaneously in the same game – witness the Turkey friendly. So the key intangible is how the US will come to play mentally. Do we show up as if we have nothing to lose, or do we play scared?

We should play as if we have nothing to lose; after all we are expected to lose. We can lose 5-0 and still control our own destiny to qualify out of the group. Furthermore, I think there is less between the US and England than is made out to be. England is more talented, no doubt, but I don’t think there is as much between the players as we think. Gerrard and Lampard are amazing, but are too similar and get in each other’s way. Rooney is world class, but can we clog the midfield to deny him the ball, making him drop deep? On our side, can Donovan find space? Can Jozy turn John Terry as he did Juan Capdevilla against Spain? In the final analysis, this could be a game that turns on an individual piece of brilliance that makes all the tactical analysis irrelevant.

Overall, if the US is up for it, England will likely have to look a lot better than it has in their warm-up games to get a result. I am confident and hopeful for my Yanks. And as the ESPN ad so aptly concludes, the greater the challenge, the greater the glory.

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One Response

  1. Have been reading your publication for ten days or so and enjoy most of what you have had to say thus far. Good effort; keep it up. Your spell check does not pick up subtle differences, such as poured and pored over, as I have many times learned in my own writing, especially since after almost fifty years in the U. S. I still write in English rather than in American. Perhaps todays match will settle the merits of the the dialects as well as the football. And do it without resorting to any four letter words beyond “Love you Ref”. Beat England and enjoy the game.

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