Heading into this World Cup, no team should be looking for any extra motivation. After all, this is the World Cup , where the world’s best will be gathered for one big battle royal to decide who takes home the title, World Champion! Never will these teams ever again experience the spectacle or pageantry that will be apart of starting June 11. The US enter the tournament with their most talented, experienced, and by their own admission, the most focused team they have ever had. This team has a rare opportunity that many teams don’t get, to exorcise some of the demons that have haunted them, to right some of the real and perceived wrongs that have been happened to them on the field. This tournament may very well turn into their very own revenge tour, and this time its personal.
The US are going to first and foremost be looking to get some form of points from this match, but make no mistake, many of these players will remember the poor showing this US team showed against England at Wembley in 2008. England players reported that some US players were shaking in the tunnel, an image that they no doubt want to erase from their own minds as well as the England players. Also there is a little revenge here on the English media. Once their favorite son, Beckham, made his choice to come to MLS, all you heard was how “Mickey Mouse” MLS was. A league that all the US players have gotten their start in and have strong emotional ties to. Taking any points off England, would be the akin to the US saying; “We’re here, we beat you, now shut it!”
Contingent on Advancing from the Group Stage(which they will)
In 2002 the US completely outplayed the Germans and had an obvious handball by Torsten Frings in the penalty area go uncalled. A likely round of 16 opponent, the US will be thinking of this and liking their chances, especially going against a German team missing captain Michael Ballack, starting keeper Rene Adler, plus three other players key players(Heiko Westerman, Simon Rolfes, and Christian Traesch).
Going into their last group game in 2006 many of the US fans and players felt that this was a team they should have and could have beaten to advance, and many of the players still feel that way today(an argument for another day). However you feel, there is no denying how soft the penalty German referee Markus Merk awarded Ghana, when Onyewu jostled with 5-foot-8 Razak Pimpong for a header at the edge of the penalty area. Its worth noting the Pimpong is on the Ghana diving team.
A dark horse for many fans, this is more of a revenge game for US fans rather than the player. After Giuseppe Rossi’s omission from the Italian team, US fans will be looking for their second pound of flesh in the form of defeating Neven Subotic, a player who played all his youth soccer in the US kit before switching allegiances.
Now it is going to take more than the US taking the pitch in revenge mode to make this World Cup a memorable one, but any added motivation can only help this already talented team.