Now that the United States team has qualified for the 2010 World Cup, the agonizing wait begins until the final draw is held on December 4, 2009. The draw will be beamed around the world, and we’ll finally be able to learn which countries will be grouped against each other next summer in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Of course, when the draw is finished, football supporters and journalists will be making quick decisions on which group is the group of death, and which world powers have the easier groups. We’ve been there, done that. But for me, the most interesting prospect is whether the United States will be grouped with England.
We’ll have a better idea of whether this may happen after Wednesday. If the United States wins the CONCACAF group ahead of Mexico, the USA will be seeded as the winner of the group and will be unlikely to face England in the first round group games (especially seeing since England has already won its qualifying group).
However there remains the slight possibility that even if the United States beats Costa Rica on Wednesday and qualifies in first place, that the USA may play England in the later stages of the 2010 World Cup tournament.
Of course, there are a lot of ifs surrounding that possibility, but the prospect of seeing the United States play England is mouthwatering for several reasons:
- Allegiances. It would throw up some tough questions for soccer fans living in the United States who have grown up with the Premier League week-in week-out and have a distaste for the home-grown Major League Soccer due to its lack of quality. I believe that many American will end up supporting both the United States and England. If they face each other, then it comes down to where you were born. If one of the two countries gets knocked out in an early round, then many US soccer fans will hope that England does well.
- TV ratings. A match-up between England and the United States of America would be a ratings dream come true. Here you have two countries — one with a massive population, and another with a large number of ex-pats and descendants who would be watching the match rooting for ol’ blighty. There would be so many storylines for this match and the hype would be amazing in the build-up to the match.
- David vs Goliath. Everyone loves to see an underdog beat a world power, but who is the actual underdog in this match? From a footballing perspective, it would be the US. But from a political perspective, it would be England. Either way, we all win.
- MLS snobs versus Euro snobs. Maybe finally the debate would be over, or would it just be amplified no matter who wins this match?
- Acceptance. For the vast majority of people in the United States who don’t follow soccer, they do know that England is one of the world powers in the sport. So many casual spectators would tune into the game expecting the United States to defeat a soccer powerhouse. If the United States could do that on the world’s stage, then I believe that soccer will finally have landed in America. And the sport would generate an incredible amount of new interest.
When you think about it, it’s about time that England plays the United States in the World Cup. In 2006, the USA got knocked out in the first round. In 2002, both England and the United States got knocked out in the quarter-finals (and wouldn’t have met each other anyway unless both made it to the final). In 1998, USA got knocked out in the first round. In 1994, England didn’t qualify. In 1990, USA got knocked out in the first round. And then, prior to that, the last time USA qualified for the World Cup was in 1950 when they famously beat England 1-0 in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history. In the 1934 and 1930 World Cups, the United States participated but England didn’t enter.
So, it’s only once that England have ever played the United States in a World Cup. Isn’t it about time they played again?
As far as which country I would support, it would be England. I was born and raised in Wales, so I always support the Welsh first but seeing since they’ve only qualified for the World Cup once ever, and that was before I was born, it’s doubtful they may ever qualify for the tournament again in my lifetime. My father is English and his side of the family are English. But as well as being a UK citizen, I’m also an American citizen. So my third country I root for (unless they’re playing England or Wales) is the United States.
Who would you want to win in the 2010 World Cup if the USA played England? Click the comments link below and let us know and tell us which country you’re from.