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Why USA’s Algeria Win Was a Victory Against England

It’s incredible how one goal can make such a difference. With the game between Algeria and the United States still at nil-nil in the 90th minute Wednesday, the USA men’s national team was on the precipice of getting knocked out of the tournament. But the last-gasp winner by Landon Donovan changed everything in so many ways.

Donovan’s goal was so decisive that it meant that:

  1. The United States finished first in the group,
  2. England finished second,
  3. As a result, the United States finished above England so the bragging rights for Group C go to the USA, not England,
  4. Over the course of the three games, the United States scored four goals compared to England’s two,

And fifth, and most importantly of all, with the United States finishing in first place, they go into the easier route to the final than England. And this is a massive difference. When the United States plays Ghana on Saturday, a win will help them play either Uruguay or South Korea in the quarter-final. And if they can beat either team, they’ll be in the semi-final and may play – depending on how the teams do – Brazil or Spain, both of whom are definitely beatable based on how the US did against last summer in the Confederations Cup.

On England’s side in the bracket, they’ll need to overcome Germany. Next up, if they beat Mexico, would be Argentina. If they managed to beat Argentina, which would be a massive task, England would play possibly either Italy or Holland, two teams that are always very difficult to beat.

When the game was nil-nil against Algeria and hit the 90th minute mark, it was a strange situation. England was still leading 1-0 and were in the driving seat. However, an equalizer by Slovenia would have sent the United States and Slovenia through, so I’m sure many US fans were hoping for England to slip. At the same time, England fans seeing that the USA scoreline against Algeria was still 0-0 were licking their chops at the prospect of the United States getting knocked out of the tournament.

As it happened, Donovan’s goal changed everything. For me, it put the United States back on the soccer map. Not only because they finished the group above England but because they did it in such style and against such adversity. In two of the three games, the United States had to come back from being a goal down to tie the game. In both of England’s games where they scored, they scored first. So we haven’t seen evidence of how England does when they go a goal down. Plus, the United States were robbed of two genuine goals that should have been allowed. Even against such adversity, the United States raised their game and ended winning the group which is testament to the character of this team and country.

But most important of all, the United States gained the respect of the world. In their first game, the US got lucky against England. But in their second and third games, they raised their game and played in two of the most exciting games of this World Cup. The first one against Slovenia because of the comeback and the controversial ending when the goal was disallowed. And the second, the game against Algeria which was a tense one to watch, but featured an unbelievable ending that sent US soccer players (and fans) into raptures.

So, Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria wasn’t just a win against the North African team. It was, in a weird way, a win against England. A win that garnered more respect for the US team. A win that catapulted the United States over England and into a path that could advance the United States further into this tournament than England. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s still a long way to go yet.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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86 Responses to Why USA’s Algeria Win Was a Victory Against England

  1. Emanuel says:

    USA really had 6 goals but I will let it go

  2. Stevie the K says:

    great article though I disagree with the headline premise. Definitely a triumph for USA soccer — and while it makes the next rounds’ advance more of a possibility and more difficult for England, the ’3 lions’ squad dug their own hole. More of a semantic difference than anything – again, great article.

  3. Bgr says:

    Algeria is not sub-saharan

  4. jose says:

    project 2010. i never thought it would happen. wow.

  5. Jesse Chula says:

    Interesting article that I must wholeheartedly disagree with.

    As an American who supports England, (which I have been for over 15 yrs) I’ve had a pretty annoying tournament thus far with different casual US soccer fans coming out of the wood work, friends, family members and co workers approaching me as if evil England and the US are some sort of historical football rival who’ve hated each other for the last 60 years.

    (I mean it’s great that the WC has sparked the interest of so many fans that wouldn’t normally give a toss about football, but I’m pretty close to just forgetting the whole thing. The days of Soccer and the Premier League in America being this nice little niche sport that no one really cares about seems years away. Where has this rabid US support and love for soccer been for all these years?)

    Of course any respectable soccer fan knows that this just isn’t true. The teams played in 1950 and probably a few friendlies between then. They played 1 time in the group stage in a pretty woeful game by both sides that resulted in a draw and ESPN and US Soccer fans act as if the Revolutionary War has again been rekindled. (see under the overly dramatic promo produced by ESPN featuring narration by Martin Sheen yesterday)

    One of my major complaints with US Soccer fans is that they seem to be breathing a sigh of relief because of the fact they’ve drawn Ghana instead of some other world power such as Germany, Spain or Argentina.

    The fact of the matter US fans is that if you want to win the World Cup, which obviously you have no real ambitions of, or you wouldn’t be celebrating an easier draw, then you have to beat the best there is on the world’s stage regardless of when it is.

    If England loose to Germany on Sunday, then so be it. Germany will have been the better side. This isn’t about England, but you won’t hear Capello, the players or the England fans say anything about the draw. They’ve advanced and will play who they have to in order to progress. Such it is!

    US fans: You’re a great side who’ve showed some incredible moments during the Cup so far, act like you deserve to be here. Act like you can progress and beat a Germany or a Spain, because you can. Don’t thank your lucky stars that you have a so-called “easier road” to the final, because you’re only basing that on paper thoughts.

    Stop this obsession with England that is a totally different team than you for various reasons and a team that at this point isn’t some great world power that you feel the need to prove yourself to. In all honesty, Group C was pretty weak overall, England included.

    The US finished first in group C on the third tiebreaker. Not necessarily the dominant group stage performance that it’s being celebrated as. Yet Donovan’s scrappy, injury time tap in to seal qualification is being praised as one of the top 3 moments in American sports history.

    Seriously, all excitement aside, can we put this into a little perspective?

    US Soccer, you’ve been here before. Hell, you’ve been past this point in the World Cup before. Act like you deserve this because you do and please, get over this ridiculous England obsession.

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer says:

      As someone who has traveled extensively throughout Europe and also dealt within the US game with ex-pat and worse Americans affected by all things English influence, we weren’t ones who created this “rivalry.”

      English supporters both English by birth and American by birth have been negative influences on the development of the game in the USA. They constantly point out what we are doing is wrong because it is not done the way it is in England, they mock our development system and leagues because they aren’t structured the way they are in England and generally are negative about the way the sport is played here even though that is a bi-product of a different culture, different upbringings and a different climate.

      Simply put, to many people in the US if we take our inspiration from multiple successful football playing nations and not simply from England we are in the wrong. To many, if we develop a distinctly American style of play or indigenous form of the game we are “bastardizing the game.” Let me ask the American supporters of England, do you think Italy, Germany, Mexico, Australia, Brazil or Korea have bastardized the game based on style of play, FA structure or league structure? If the answer is “no” why do you hold your own country, a country you should love and want to develop in this sport to a completely different and totally unreasonable standard?

      Hopefully the results of Group C and the American triumph will change this isolated and negative train of thought. We can take the best England has to offer and build on that with influences from Mexico, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Germany, Holland, etc and build a strong base for football here at home.

      PS- on my travels throughout Europe, I have found Englishmen far more condescending on the whole than Italians, Germans or the French about the US attempting to play this sport. Their of course are exceptions to this, but the level of negativity about the US in football from England is FAR greater than that from Italy, Germany, France and Scotland per my experiences.

      • Gaz Hunt says:

        Kartik,

        For once, I somewhat agree with you.

        The US should be making it’s own identity and culture.

        But how is constantly comparing the US team to England and having a “we’re better” attitude helping? By doing these things, you’re putting a lot of emphasis on England and conceding that they are the “ideal”. As said before, it’s counter-productive and honestly gives us too much credit.

        As for the English people you met – I don’t know what to say. Sorry? Don’t hold it against everyone else?

        Equally, I know lots of Americans that slag off everything England has to offer just because it’s… well… English. You could be a little guilty of that listening to the Pod.

        • Kartik Krishnaiyer says:

          The issue is less with actual Englishmen/ex-pats here than with Americans who have chosen to support England and do not follow the domestic game or the national team because the setup is not like Englands. We all go where we are comfortable in life, and I understand that psychology. But because of the proliferation of English and Premier League influenced media in the US, we have a whole newer generation of football fans who have tuned out the domestic game, and constantly criticize the setup both in our country and in our hemisphere without knowing anything about it. They always resort to “that is not how it is done in England, where football is proper” type defense.

          I know Australia has similar problems. As an aside India is even worse in their anglophilia amongst football supporters. I am told yesterday, they showed lots of England highlights and discussed the game and said England finished 2nd in the group. They did not discuss the team or show clips from the 1st place finisher. So they aren’t covering the World Cup in that English speaking nation but simply covering England at the World Cup. So much of the American soccer supporters are the same way. Many lost interest in 98 and especially 06 after England’s elimination (because of time difference the 02 World Cup wasn’t as widely watched or covered even with the US run).

          This condescension among Americans watching and parroting English media here is similar to the attitudes of so many in England itself. The ex-pats here in the US tend to be better educated on the game except those who actually end up working in the sport and then force Anglicized tactics and style on players with the potential for better technical skill and flair.

      • What rivalry Kartik? There is no rivalry. Apart from a few English people like myself who visit blogs like this, most people do not give a shit about football in America, to be honest is is not yet worthy of rivalry the same as it would be for a Germany game or an Agentina game.
        People like you and the ‘Gaffer’ like to think there is a rivalry as you think it makes the U.S seem more important in the world game than it is but let’s face it, outside of this blog and the people who visit it, no one in England gives a shit about America as a football nation, the country doesn’t even get a mention in England normally and would not have got a mention this time if it wasn’t for the fact that the two teams were in the same group.

        Therefore your argument about English people creating this so called ‘rivalry’ is bullshit because the simple fact is, there isn’t a rivalry as far as the people in this country are concerned.

        • ovalball says:

          omg. Rakeback, I agree with 90% of your comment. Armageddon must be around the corner.

          Sports rivalries develop over many years. I certainly would not use that word in describing U.S. v England. Yes, the match and group play brought about a lot of chest thumping and verbal baiting, but that doesn’t make it a rivalry. Our countries have a long, mostly amicable, history together which increased interest in the match, but that’s it.

          As far as I am concerned I hope we both go through to meet up again in the the Cup……at which time we will just have to whip you. ;-)

          • Simon Burke says:

            Yeah both right, there is no rivalry other than this internet fabrication. No that England have Germany, we’ll focus on rivalry and if we win it… we’ll likely have our old friend Diego in a World Cup quarter final – thats another real rivalry.

            American fans have really defined their world cup by what England is doing in relation to them. At Arsenal we call those Spurs fans as thats what they do :) Small time fans.

            Up until this tournament I thought America had a real soccer identity and have argued for its existence but I am now not so sure.
            Hopefully though its developed new fans and America despite beating crap opposition (the same crap opposition we have beaten) has qualified in dramatic style with close calls and exciting games. Thats going to be America’s real legacy in this cup. I think its been perfect from the point of view of getting new fans to the game.

        • Tom says:

          I hope that England win and it helps you get over your anger issues for a little bit.

        • lee says:

          poker i regret the day i come on this site now i feel the need to come here a put dipshits like kartik in their place ,he always has a story about when an englishman has put the us down an then a frenchy or kraut etc comes to the rescue an says to kartik typical english an then they discuss mls together which i imagine krauts watch on a regular NOT!!! funny most germans an italians dont speak english in the same way scandinavians dutch etc do so its funny how they always come to kartiks aid the street or on a train etc

      • 2Tix4Chelsea says:

        Lets not forget the fact that the USWNT is the best in the world.

        The US women play soccer better than every other country in the world.

        Of course the women’s “game” is different than the “men’s,” but it is still The Beautiful Game.”

        If you take the best women’s team in the world and blend in a top-15 men’s team… I think our overall soccer program is better than England’s… perhaps best in the world.

    • Andrew says:

      Why this moment is so important, and is undeniably in the top three moments in american sports history:

      Landon Donovan is the emblem of an American. He is a professional, loyal, and above all hard working individual. This goal was a result of 90 minutes of hard work, or a lifetime of hard work depending on how you look at it. This team never gives up, and that goal is a metaphor for what this country means to all of us. The team has become an extension of what it means for us to be American. However drastically romanticized this conception of the goal is, it is the truth. Our culture loves storytelling, the hollywood idea of the people who never give up, and this team did just that. This goal, and the match against slovenia, is so important because in one moment these men proved that they are indeed worthy of representing our country and everything we stand for.

      So I would say that you are very wrong if you think that we are taking this out of perspective.

    • Gaz Hunt says:

      “I mean it’s great that the WC has sparked the interest of so many fans that wouldn’t normally give a toss about football, but I’m pretty close to just forgetting the whole thing. The days of Soccer and the Premier League in America being this nice little niche sport that no one really cares about seems years away. Where has this rabid US support and love for soccer been for all these years?”

      “US Soccer, you’ve been here before. Hell, you’ve been past this point in the World Cup before. Act like you deserve this because you do and please, get over this ridiculous England obsession.”

      Couldn’t have said it better myself, Jesse.

      On the first quote, I absolutely agree. Not much more to say there. If you’re talking lots of stuff now about the US squad, you better continue to support – not switch to the team of your “heritage” or England because you like the Premier League when they don’t do well in the future. Also, don’t slag the sport off in a few months.

      I’ve said this tons of times but here goes again. I understand why being better than England is so important due to lots of ex-pats, the Premier League, etc. However, this obsession with being “better” than England is unhealthy and unproductive. It takes the eye off the prize and honestly gives us too much credit. Why not create a “we’re better than” obsession with Argentina, Spain, Germany, or Brazil?!?

      • Kartik Krishnaiyer says:

        “we’re better than” obsession with Argentina, Spain, Germany, or Brazil?!?

        Because those football cultures and supporters have been less condescending about us than the English. Argentina and Brazil have respected us since the Copa in 1995 and while both have criticized us for some of the decisions made by our governing body and domestic leagues their press and fans have been far less hostile and dare I say threatened by the US being part of the global football world. As for Spain, they matter little, and are historically similar to England. Germany has been helpful to the development of the American game and the Bundesliga and German expertise have been a large inspiration to our own leagues and academy system.

        • Gaz Hunt says:

          Maybe you just don’t understand the English media?

          Or maybe you pay more attention to England than those other countries?

          I’m sure you can point to articles in the German, Argentine, or Spanish media that, understandably, have put expectation on their side to beat the US.

          The media is condescending and disrespectful to everyone and every country! It sells papers! Don’t take it personally or let it become an obsession!

          Is that it? Because they made fun of us!?!?

          • sergio lima says:

            Why don’t we stop this BS about Americans having a football league. THEY DON’T! Not a professional one. The union for the Americans playing in the MLS just released the salaries for each player playing in the league. I won’t talk about Europe here. Europe is a special place in terms of football and money spend on it. Let’s keep the discussion in the American continent. A huge amount of the players in the MLS will make in 2010 an annual salary of 40,000 dollars. The salaries considered top are in the 200K a year and a handful, maybe three are making more than one mil. Very well. In Brazil, the big names in the national league are paying their no-professional Junior players, up to 100k a year. But they can’t call it a salary, just help, once their are not professionals. Any entry level pro player is making 200k/ year and the starters are making over two million. Ronaldo is making ten million at the end of his career playing for Corinthians. The average salaries paid in US by the MLS can only be compared with the Brazilian third division, a championship that is not even televised by any network in Brazil. This idea that you can go on and win the world cup and because of that be recognized as a soccer power house is not a reality. The simple fact that the Americans are in front of the English team is the major prove that the world cup is increasing their distance from the real football. How can we compared the best, by far, the best football tournament in the world played in England with the MLS? And, don’t forget, is very well possible that the freaking cold Germans will knock the English team out on the next game and the Americans will be among the four best football teams in the world. REALLY? I mean REALLY? I am from Brazil and I live in the United States. I love the country and the people, but, I don’t see any good or any justice in the American team getting to the semis, in that same token, nor Ghana, South Korea or Uruguay. Americans don’t know how many palyers a fooball team has in the field. They can”t name one team on the MLS or even one player in the national team. I just watched that on the tv here. What show us that the second portion of the world cup should always be played like in the Tennis tournaments, the best ranked teams against the lowest ones. That way, we would never see England against Germany and Brazil against Spain already in the second round. FIFA should preserve the power houses as much as they can. Because really, who will watch all over the world a final USA against Paraguai? That is why people who really love football hate the world cup. They want to watch Man. United, Milan, Corinthians, Sao Paulo, BOCA, Chivas, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern, Olympic de Marselle, Flamengo, Benfica, Liverpool, Chelsea, Internazionalle de Milan, Paris Saint Germain, and many other teams. Nothing against the American team, they deserve everything they got it, but, for the good of the sport, Donovan could never score that goal yesterday. I know a lot of people will be mad because they mix sport and patriotism, I don’t. American TV networks pay to show the entire MLS season what the Brazilian network pay for two games when Corinthians or Flamengo are playing. Americans don’t like to watch football, they don’t support the sport so they should never be in the position they are right now.

          • Clampdown says:

            Wow, Sergio, what a ridiculous rant. You know at a time Brazil were considered a small country with no chance to win the World Cup, right? They were not seen as a power in the game until Pele. It all goes in cycles, and no nation will dominate this sport forever.

            “I don’t see any good or any justice in the American team getting to the semis, in that same token, nor Ghana, South Korea or Uruguay. Americans don’t know how many palyers a fooball team has in the field. They can”t name one team on the MLS or even one player in the national team.”

            Christ on a bike, get over yourself. Stop talking like you represent the world. A lot of people love the World Cup for this very reason. It’s fun to see smaller, up and coming nations do well and oust the traditional powers.

            BTW, I went to Red Bull Arena a couple of months ago and watched one of your storied clubs, Santos, get absolutely clobbered by an MLS team. Time to wake up, Sergio.

          • sergio lima says:

            NO, you did not. Santos came to United States with their second team. Their first team played on the very same day against Ituano by the Paulista league and they won 7×1. In fact, they end up winning the championship. By the way, I wrote a piece on a Brazilian paper about the lack of respect by the Santos president when they contract to send the first team and end up sending the second team. I believe Santos lost a great opportunity to make a big show in the biggest market for sports in the world. But, don’t even tried to compare the ridiculous MLS team, this amateur league with any Brazilian first division team, your American teams had never reached the teams world cup, always loosing to the Mexicans who had never made one champion of the world until today, go to FIFA.com and see how many world championships Brazilians and Argentinians already won. Cycles? Pele’? Did you ever hear about the world cup in 1950 when Brazil lost in the final? Do you know who was Zizinho? Who are you trying to full here? Brazilians made great participation long before winning any world cup. And the American team already made one great participation at home and from that day until today you could only produce this MLS. And I tell you more, I am glad that you are a football fan, but yesterday I heard on ESPN radio the guy saying the American people don’t want Football, the American media don’t want football. And he said that the only reason people are watching the games is because they have a reason not to go to work and because the games are in the morning when people’s favorite’s shows are not on. He is an American and a broadcaster, hate him. Listen man, I won’t mess with you when you talk American Football or even Basketball, I have no problem saying Americans are the best by far on those sports, but, don’t talk to me about football just because Donovan scored a lucky goal at 91 minutes against Algeria?!. I played Amateur for the Brazilian under 21 team, I played professionally for eight years and coached for 12 years. I know what the football power houses do in terms of football and after living in USA for nine years I now what you guys do. Please, be more humble about our game and allow me to be as arrogant as every American when the subject is any other sport you are better than me, this is my game, watch and learn.

          • Clampdown says:

            I’m sorry, Sergio. But you don’t get to decide what our country, or even your country, “deserves.” Your arrogance is truly astounding.

          • Kartik Krishnaiyer says:

            Clampdown-

            I love your spirit but that was Santos reserve team. I can honestly say MLS and USSF D2 teams are nowhere close to the top teams in Brazil. No shame in that though- top to bottom the Brazilian league is the most competitive in the world. But the euro/anglosnobs in the US would not known anything about that league or the setup in Brazil other than that it exists. For them, England or Spain must be copied exactly.

          • Clampdown says:

            Kartik,

            I know it was a second team. It was a wind up that got the response I expected.

            I really do object to the attitude, though, that winning matches at the World Cup is somehow reserved for a select few nations. What would be the point of playing the tournament if not for the surprises that make it so interesting?

            I would never say the MLS is remotely near domestic leagues elsewhere. I know better, as a season ticket holder for many years how far away our league is from competing even among second-tier leagues in the world.

          • Gaz Hunt says:

            Kartik,

            Don’t you feel that you are guilty of the same crime you accuse English people of by constantly putting down England and the teams / players? Do you somehow feel this evens things out?

            And again, I want you to answer: is that really the reason you (personally) have so much hatred towards England? “They made fun of us!”

    • David says:

      Usually agree with a lot of your posts Jesse, this isn’t one of them.

      In regards to your 2nd paragraph, why is it bad that the sport is catching on? Do you think that every English fan is as knowledgeable as you or others that post on this site? And being so knowledgeable, you should know that the sport is growing here, so of course “new fans” are going to exist. There hasn’t been rabid support because it hasn’t been known to many Americans as a whole. Call that sad and pathetic, but it’s the truth that the last WC was the first to have all 64 games aired live. Plus, ESPN has done a great job to make everyone aware and especially about the US (and having a group with England and two winnable opponents helps that got us out of the group stage).

      3rd paragraph, it may not be a big deal to English fans to play the US, but it’s a big deal to the US to play England. It’s not a US die hard fans most heated rival, but like many things in this sport, the politics and history of the two make for an interesting match. You also should know this. ESPN’s job is to make it a bigger deal than it is, and they obviously succeeded.

      Paragraphs 4-7, if you could play Ghana S Korea/Uruguay to get the finals instead of Germany Mexico/Argentina, would you switch? Of course to be the best you have to beat the best, but you need a bit of luck and fortune as well. Your arguments here truly baffle me because everyone tries to win their group to avoid a big round of 16 match up that you tend to try and save for the later stages of the tournament. Spain will try to win the group as will Brazil and I’m sure they both hope to not play each other until the final as “planned”. Going out in the semi’s or god willing the final is a lot better than the round of 16. If you’re Capello, you know damn well he wishes Rooney buried that chance that nicked off the post and they could be the group winners with the easier road. You may be okay with England losing to Germany in round of 16 Sunday, but the rest of England and this site who have been saying how this is the golden generation that will be one of the best wont agree with you.

      And for the record, no one’s saying the US was dominant, far from it actually. All the headlines and stories are how they needed a last minute winner to go from zero to hero/group winner just like that. Crazy game huh? Call the goal what you want, you’re jealousy and annoyance bleeds through in that 2nd to last point. And yes, the goal is one of the biggest in the history of this sport because we ensured passage to the next round, something that’s only happened twice before (and one was 80 years ago).

      I will agree on one thing, they’re job isn’t done yet, and to not go further would be a disappointment in the US team’s eyes. We’ve been given this “easier passage” and have some confidence now going into the knockout rounds. A shot at making the semi’s is very realistic, and while you snub the idea of us considering that an accomplishment because we “obviously have no real ambitions of” winning this thing, I think many nations that don’t have a WC in our cabinet would certainly consider it one.

    • Pakapala says:

      “This isn’t about England, but you won’t hear Capello, the players or the England fans say anything about the draw. They’ve advanced and will play who they have to in order to progress. Such it is!”
      by Jesse Chula

      Come on now! Just about every fan and pundit in England were saying how important it is for the team to finish 1st so they can avoid Germany. Let’s be honest now. Now that the dust have settled of course they have no choice but to face reality. But don’t pretend that leading up to yesterday there was no one in England talking about avoiding Germany.

    • Jesse, I think you should get over YOUR ridiculous England obsession.

      It is one thing to be an England supporter from outside England, but you are taking it to a scary place. You are referring to your fellow compatriots as “you” and “they.” What is wrong with you?

      I don’t know for sure, but are you English at all? Do you have a British bone in your body? Or are you just a fanatical Anglophile?

      I can’t even see British people supporting your views, it is borderline sick. It would be one thing if you lived in the UK now or had British parents or some link to England, but it doesn’t sound like you qualify for your hysterical England fandom other than watching EPL matches from your couch in the US.

      Start getting behind your country, because frankly, England just isn’t that good at the game they invented. And they will lose to Germany because they don’t have the mental fortitude to beat the best teams in the world. They couldn’t even beat the USA, the team you love to hate.

    • CR7 says:

      Jesse- Best damn post ever on EPLTALK.

    • Matt D says:

      I knew this article would piss off England fans. The only reason we’re talking about England is, well, because they were in our group and the favorite to finish 1st. If it were Germany instead we wouldn’t even mention England. I agree there’s no rivalry but finishing first over the preferred team feels damn good and we’re going to enjoy the moment while it lasts. Ghana will be a difficult team to beat, though, no matter what anyone says.

    • Mike says:

      New to the site. Interesting commentary. I think both the OP and Jesse’s remarks are, indeed, off the mark.

      To get your dander up because Americans aren’t “acting like they’ve been there” is ridiculous. Recall that matches from the 2002 WC in Japan & Korea were shown live during the overnight hours. Hardly the coverage that makes for a hearty audience. We Americans are passive by nature, focused on our everyday lives & routines. Soccer (football), for the most part, has only played a part when dropping off your kid at practice. So to bemoan a populace for failing to pay attention, get over yourself.

      Like it or not, the USA is trained to back winners and quickly dispose of or offer indifference to those who don’t. We win, we pay attention. (ESPN gets a ton of credit for this) Somehow, I can’t recall diehard hockey fans getting pissed off at the groundswell of interest during the 1980 Olympics, so I don’t get the guff now. It’s incidents like this that will see the game progress in the States – how is this bad?

      As an American attending matches in the UK, I regularly received interested inquiries as to how the game was growing in the States, hoping it would take hold, post-Beckham. No derision ever.

      And as far as the US having “no real ambitions of winning” the WC: seriously, where do you get this stuff? As a fan, hell, it’s not so much not having the ambition but rather simply having an expectation of not winning. Two different things entirely.

      Winning the Group was a victory for the US, plain and simple. That England came in second…well, it means they came in second. There is a perceived advantage of an easier path by coming in on top for everyone. It’s great that we drew against one of the top squads in the world. These are the guys we’ve wanted to impress, not any differently than beating the Canadians in hockey. (Beating them at their own game?) Saying it’s been an obsession it crazy. We’ll never even play ENG with any regularity to have a rivalry. Frankly, I’m happy with beating Mexico on a regular basis. They’re our true rivals.

      • McBride says:

        “Somehow, I can’t recall diehard hockey fans getting pissed off at the groundswell of interest during the 1980 Olympics, so I don’t get the guff now. It’s incidents like this that will see the game progress in the States – how is this bad?”

        Well-said, sir. The only thing worse than Americans who bash soccer are American soccer fans who get grouchy when casual fans show up to follow big matches/tournaments.

        I honestly think a small percentage of American soccer fans don’t want anybody else to join their secret little club. And if that secret little club involves spending Saturday and Sunday mornings watching televised games from Europe while not supporting the MLS, it’s even worse.

    • Tom Anderson says:

      Sour grapes much?

    • Clampdown says:

      I find a few things very odd about this post: first, referring to Americans as you, as you are an American. Second, you really do seem to resent that casual fans of the sport in this country are becoming more interested. Why? Because they are supporting their national team rather than somebody else’s? For someone like me, who has been following the sport since I went to Cosmos games a kid in the late 1970s, I’m loving that people are finally paying attention. And just imagine, I was able to embrace my national team even though I liked Beckenbauer as a kid.

      Also, this:

      “One of my major complaints with US Soccer fans is that they seem to be breathing a sigh of relief because of the fact they’ve drawn Ghana instead of some other world power such as Germany, Spain or Argentina.”

      Um, yeah. No duh, Jesse. That’s the point of winning the group. You could bet the English would rather be facing Ghana than Germany. You’re being willfully ignorant if you think otherwise.

      • I would rather face Germany but I like the idea of us giving them a good kicking, 5-1 style just like we did in their own back yard.
        I would rather us face a power as England do not play well against teams that the public think they should beat easily, this would have been the case against Ghana.

    • Patrick says:

      I’m sorry, but I disagree with you on many fronts

      Yes, the US has been here and past this point before. But if you can’t get excited in the fashion they won the game, with all implications taken into account, than you can’t get excited for the world cup period. I’m not attacking your love of the game or anything, I just think you’re discrediting the world cup as “just another tourney”. The world cup is something very special in the soccer world, and all wins should be celebrated. With teams like France and Italy biteing the bullet and possibly Spain. I believe it shows how the gap between the lower ranked teams and the upper tier teams (germanys, englands, spains, italys, etc) is getting smaller. When taking all things into account all teams should be celebrating their advance from the group stages for a short time than get right back to work.
      Donovans goal in my opinon is only held in such high reguard because of the expectations he’s had over the past 4-8 years. 4 years ago he was supposed to be a big US soccer star and the US team bombed out of Germany in a truely sad fashion. With the game winner taken away agains Slovenia and an early goal taken away from Algeria, I’m sure most US fans were getting bad flashback of a possible falling from the group stages again. It being such a great goal was a culmination of many factors. This goal is the type of stuff Donovan was supposed to be doing 4-8 years ago. I believe the goal and all this “celebration” that made them not “act like they deserve this” was due in part by a big sigh of relief.
      I understand where you’re trying to go with the “you gotta beat the best teams to win”, “you should want to face germany and Argentina”. But the fact is world rankings, past world cups, and past glories don’t factor into the present. The teams that have made it past the group stages have gotten this far for a reason. In the end, when the finals roll around it isn’t going to matter who you’ve played, its going to matter how you played. No one’s going to look back and go “yeah they won, but they only had to go against Ghana, Uruguay, etc…”. Discrediting teams like Ghana, Uruguay, Slovackia, Paraguay, Switzerland, and Chille are how these “top teir teams” have gotten themselves into a lot of trouble early this cup.
      With all due respect, in the nicest possible way, I think you trying to discredit the US not only because “they should be their” but also because of the ‘fair weather fans’ is a bit pompus and arrogant.

    • McBride says:

      ” . . .so many fans that wouldn’t normally give a toss about football . . . ”

      Says the guy from Kentucky.

      Freakin’ poser.

    • TCAP says:

      Gee, it would surely be a disappointment for England to “loose” against Germany.

  6. I was one of people who were hoping they would go out. It’s not that i have anything against the U.S as such, I just question whether the U.S doing well is good for the game as a whole. We all know that Americans are very arrogant, all I ever see on forums is Americans trying to say they don’t like this and they don’t like that about the game, football should change this, football should change that. We don’t like games ending in a draw, they should make the goals bigger so there are more goals.
    When I see such things it really gets on my tits as I think to my self, who the hell do you think you are to say what the world should do with this game, you have no history in the game and you are not a football power. The game as worked well the way it is for over a hundred years and certainly does not need the unput of some country that is new to the game, not a football power, and where the sport is about 4th or 5th in order of popularity.
    Until I see Americans respecting the game for what it is, I will continue to root against them.

    • Pakapala says:

      “I was one of people who were hoping they would go out. It’s not that i have anything against the U.S as such, I just question whether the U.S doing well is good for the game as a whole. We all know that Americans are very arrogant…”
      by Poker Rakeback

      Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Sure Americans have a reputation of being arrogant; I guess they get it from the forefathers of the country! You should be proud that the apple has not fallen far from the tree.

    • David says:

      Do you try to be a dick or does it just happen?

      Everyone likes to complain about the sport. In the Premier League they’ve argued back and forth about replay, goal line technology, the 39th game and other ways to make the game more interesting, fair and profitable for years. Don’t bring your American bias shit in here and act like we’re the devil in the world of football. You may love England and love the sport, but you’re living up to that condescending arrogance that you hate in Americans so to speak.

      I think you might be the most moronic person to post here judging by your blind and extreme views on Americans.

      Whether you like it or not, we will continue to make the WC and will play this game and invade your league with more and more players (maybe even a coach someday) and we will try our best not to “offend” the game that we’re lucky enough to be a part of according to you. Why this is the World Cup and the world participates is so hard for you to understand, I don’t know.

      • Goal-line technology to get big decisions right is one thing, asking for the goals to made bigger is so more goals can be scored is another. Don’t even try to compare the two.

        • David says:

          I’m not. But you also glanced over every other point that I made. Come this August big ref blunders will occur and everyone on that side of the pond will be screaming for better technology not just for the goal line, but for offside and god knows what else. I also never said I was a proponent of bigger goals. Stop watching PTI and listen to real fans please.

          • That’s not true, human error is part of the game and provides good points to discussion. The only thing that people want in this country in the goal line technology.
            Plus as a country that bought the game and its rules to the world, we have a little bit more of a right to a say than you lot.

          • David says:

            See, you’re already back on the superiority headcase that you have a “right” to do what you want. I’m sorry. What a trump card.

          • Kevin says:

            “as a country that bought the game and its rules to the world, we have a little bit more of a right to a say than you lot.”

            I’m sorry, you didn’t create anything. Maybe someone distantly genetically related to you did, but you and no one else currently alive did. Following your logic, scientists should have consulted Thomas Edison’s descendants before the introduction of compact fluorescent light bulbs.

    • George says:

      Poker, stop posting. You’ve been wrong about a million times so far this world cup and have been shitting on the US, then they finish above England and you give them no credit. Stop embarrassing me as an Englishmen.

      • F**k You dickhead, I’ll say what I like and if you don’t like it, f**k Off

        • Tom Anderson says:

          classy lot this

        • American Patriot of 1776 says:

          Well here’s my opinion about you:

          You are a f*cking bastard. I am soo glad that the United States finished above England since it will give you ample opportunity to continue being BITTER about it.

          I personally believe that you were denied entry in the USA recently, and that’s why you hate the United States.

          • ‘I personally believe that you were denied entry in the USA recently, and that’s why you hate the United States.’

            Maybe because you’re an arrogant prick who’s thick as shit. Someone who thinks that no one could dislike America or have anything against it unless they had been refused entry into it.

            Well done, you are now top of my idiot list and on this site, that takes some doing.

          • Jason says:

            hahaha poker, silly englishman

          • American Patriot of 1776 says:

            That’s right. Continue your bitterness…I am enjoying it.

            OH and don’t worry, I am glad you think I am an arrogant prick, because the feeling is mutual. You are an English c*nt and I am giving you the same amount of sh*t as you give other people on this site…so until then go f*ck yourself and get the f*ck off of this site.

            Cause remember that you hate all things American, and since the web address doesn’t end in co.uk, then that should be incentive for you to leave quietly.

            As for being on top of the idiot list: look in the mirror first.

      • Jason says:

        Thank you George, it’s very nice to hear this from an Englishmen. Many times I fear that what Poker says is viewed as normal for English. Having spent time in England as an American I know the English to be wonderfully fun and gracious people. I know personally that the Spurs community has welcomed me in greatly on the message boards and when I took in a match at the lane.

        When I read Pokers posts it makes me want to cheer against England, however, posts like yours bring me back to reality and will have me rooting for England and the States to advance.

        Cheers,
        Jason

        • Patrick says:

          I’d hope that most intelligent American fans of the sport realize that guys like him are attached to every sports team around the world. We have morons here in america that try to justify their bias hatred for a certain team by bringing in empty facts and stats just like he does. It’s nice seeing people like yourself calling out the ignorant and hypocritical, unsilent minority like a gentleman pointing out not all supporters are this way.
          Personally I have quite a few friends living over in England that I keep contact with, enjoy having friendly banter with, and played soccer with. So I know all English don’t come off arrogant and entitled. It’s an unfair stereotype
          The sad thing about sports (and this one inparticular) is the unsilent minority are often seen as the face of the game. Nationalism, banter, and heavy support of your beloved team are all great things but when you do it to a fault it just becomes ugly and drives more people away from this beautiful game.

          Best of luck in the round of 16 Jason

  7. Gaz Hunt says:

    “Over the course of the three games, the United States scored four goals compared to England’s two”

    What you fail to mention is that the US also let in three goals. England managed to only let in one goal in three games.

    Equally convincing arguments can be made as to what is better: scoring goals or not letting in goals. I personally will take the latter – though I admit to being a little biased.

    It is a “victory against England” due to finishing higher up in the table (due to the, understandable, emphasis on goals scored as the tie-decider) but this tendency of the US to let in goals and hope for a counter-attack may bite them in the backside later on.

    All said, though – Good job to the US. They did really well and have a much preferable route to the final.

  8. Andy says:

    easy on the crowing. One less dodgy error by West Ham’s finest and you’d be on the plane home in a very less than impressive third place. You drew against Slovenia, SCRAPED home against Algeria, and were gifted a point against England.

    Now we ain’t firing, but that was your cup final. I suspect as bad as they might be, Ghana is going to be as big a test for you as Germany is for us.

    • Pakapala says:

      If we’re going to go on what could have been:
      1 less miss from Fulham’s hero and Altidore, plus 2 more goals from proper refereeing and we would still end up first place despite losing to England 0-1. How is that for what if?

      Fact of the matter is there’s no denying the US deserved their first place finish in this group based on what we’ve seen in all 4 teams performances.

      • Gaz Hunt says:

        You’re absolutely right. Using, “If we had whatever, then we would have whatever” is lame for both sides to use.

        The US did well – they deserve it.

        But don’t forget the last minute goals you needed because you let Slovenia get two goals in one half.

        Don’t forget two games in which goals were conceded within the first few minutes.

        Based on the four team performances, I’d say there is an argument for and against three of the four being at the top.

        • Pakapala says:

          Sure the US went down early in 2 games, but rather than put their tails between their legs, the players fought back and got back into the first 2 games, and completely dominated the 3rd game.

          Meanwhile England, despite never falling behind in any game, played 2 of the 3 games with their tails between their legs. What would happen if they go down a goal? They’ll run off the pitch in panic?

          • Gaz Hunt says:

            I know, I know. But don’t you want your team to have a nice 1-0 or 2-0 instead of getting scored on and having to rally back? One of these times it won’t happen as much as they “deserve” to win.

            I’m not taking anything away from the US but you can point to three of the four teams and make an argument for them being the “best” in the group.

            I do disagree that going down a goal would scare the English. England is certainly capable of showing some fight. In the past, this has actually has been our weakness – too much fight not enough level-headed, pragmatic play. This side is much more defensive-minded and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

  9. brn442 says:

    Honestly, I don’t have a problem with England facing her demons now. England’s goal is to win the world cup not to put “semi-finalist” on her CV. Failing the acid tests of Argentina and Germany will or should hurt a lot less than the failing against the likes of Ghana and Uruguay.

  10. lewis says:

    i don’t agree with anything the gaffer says regarding this article.. im English and i am interested in the development of football in america, but to have sum idiot called the ‘gaffer’ give england national team so much stick is just unbearable.. mate u r welsh , u have no decent football teams and the mere fact tht u are welsh tipifies the fact that u hate the english… stop going on about this being a victory for america . we both qualified for the round of 16, not just america!!… ur going n about america having the easier draw and calling it a victory, this just further explains ur scared approach to this world cup. America are running scared of the big teams like brazil-spain-germany.. Our boys will go out thier on sunday and make us proud win or lose, they will go out their with their heads held high and fight on against the biggest and best.. yes we drew against each other in the first game but u only scored because our goalie f**kd up…… England will march into bleomfontein with the cross of saint george firmly planted on our backs and rule brittania ringing in our ears..this is support, true loyalty ….. unlike ur ex president clinton , who so ‘admirably’ compared the match to a war…… WHAT A F**KING IDIOT … GO AND SCREW UR AIDE U DAFT YANK

  11. wozza says:

    “England fans seeing that the USA scoreline against Algeria was still 0-0 were licking their chops at the prospect of the United States getting knocked out of the tournament.”

    Utter bollocks. We only have significant footballing rivalries with Germany and Argentina. Couldn’t give a crap whether or not the US goes through.

    Gaffer, once again you seem to be intentionally provoking some kind of troll war. What’s with this desire portray the English as anti-American? I think your opinions on football must be discounted to a large extent after your embarrassing/comedic 7 ways to change the world cup article.

    If I were you I’d leave the article writing to less small-minded contributors and stick to the un-boxing/opening of magazine videos.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Wozza, no cheap shots necessary. I’m not trying to attract trolls. Just trying to stimulate conversation based on a heated rivalry (on the Internet, at least) between England and the United States.

      As for the 7 ideas of how to improve the World Cup, you may not agree with my ideas, but I’m entitled to my opinion.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • brn442 says:

        Wozza, you figured that one out all by yourself? That – the Gaffer actually would write a provocative tag line to get more eyeballs on his site? Genius you are?

      • wozza says:

        Still not sure where this “heated rivalry” is. As a former Welshman, you must surely realise that English fans have approximately zero footballing rivalry with the States. It’s ALL about Germany & the Argies.

        You are, of course, entitled to your opinion (and your blog).

  12. Nikolai Vasiliev says:

    As a transplant to America, I can say firsthand that the “arrogant” reputation is definitely FALSE. Sure, every culture has it’s arrogant asses–America, England, France, whomever. That’s just the way the world works.

    And if you really want to get technical, insulting Americans’ knowledge of football and down talking Americans is actually the very definition of arrogance. I’m always amused by people who use are arrogant while calling others arrogant. A strange bit of irony ;-)

    Where I grew up, we were taught that America was the great evil capitalist regime… pure EVIL. But when I look back in retrospect, I know it was just jealousy. America is the strongest militarily, economically, etc, etc.

    And the one thing America has not been dominate in is football. So I understand it gives people a sense of pride to be able to beat the dominate beast of America at least in one area…

    With that being said, let’s not forget that America winning it all is NOT bad for the sport–quite the contrary it is VERY good for the sport. I came from a country where hockey and football were what mattered, and I came here to the States to find that only a handful of people care about it.

    Aside from my personal pleasure that I have people to talk to about matches here in the states–the bigger benefit is to the game as a whole. America is the big market that every company in the world wants to get into. America has money–the more money invested in the game, the better quality the players, stadiums, TV coverage, etc, etc. The list goes on and on…

    Furthermore, yes, Americans do not understand the game… and when Americans who are excited about the World Cup talk to me about it, I do not insult their intelligence, as I am VERY happy to give them my knowledge. I want them to love the sport like I do! The more Americans who have a reason to celebrate, the more of them will become interested…. football is the greatest sport in the world, and I for one am ELATED that America has been slowly coming around. Heck, even sport talk radio in the States is talking about football!! I never though I would see that day! :-)

    • Tim says:

      You speak too logically to be commenting on the Intrawebz

    • UpTheBlues says:

      I pretty much agree…except for one thing.
      Sport talk radio may be talking about football now, but once the US is out or the World Cup is over it’s going to stop talking about it.

    • Matt D says:

      Wow thumbs up Nikolai for providing the classiest comment on this. I’m American and admit that this country has a long way to go before the majority of the population really understands and loves the game. But as a fan I love every single opportunity to spread the love of the game and get as many people as excited in hopes that it will improve the game of soccer as a whole in this country.

  13. Nikolai Vasiliev says:

    I agree completely, and I find it disheartening to know that is the case… none-the-less, one must crawl before he can walk, so I will take the recent events for what they are: POSITIVE.

    The more America goes out and competes, wins, and give Americans a reason to celebrate, the closer to relevance football will become in America… of course it will always be called “soccer”, LOL, but they can call it kickball for all I care as long as they take interest. :-)

  14. Jason says:

    Pretty heated stuff on here isnt there. I would like to see if there is a Scotsman or an Irsihman on here who can give a veiwpoint.

  15. Annamaria says:

    The biggest reason for all the England vs USA talk is because both teams were in the same group. I’m sure that had they been in different groups you wouldn’t have had half as many posts about the “rivalry”. As far as I’m concerned the only rivalry that exists for the USA is the one with Mexico. It may not campare with the England-Germany rivalry but it is getting close to it.

    • Matt D says:

      I mostly agree but the funny thing is I’ve heard about and know Mexicans living in the US who also root for the USA in the World Cup (as long as it’s not Mexico vs USA). There is a rivalry but it is a strange one. I myself, as an American would probably root for Mexico if they progressed further than the US.

  16. a_b_doo_b says:

    Why is this hype created about so called US and ENG rivalry. There is no rivalry whatsoever. If you want to see rivalry, go watch inter alia ALGERIA vs Egypt. INDIA vs PAKISTAN ( in cricket). I am very disappointed with GAFFER to throw this shit around. Nobody (at least a serious soccer fan) gives a shit about US soccer team. If an England fan takes this rivalry (if there is any) seriously, he is simply berating ENGLAND team which is much much better team than US, though this may not hold true in current scenario. A rivalry is worth considering only when teams are at the same level or there is a small gulf in quality which in this case a very huge or some historical reason.
    another thing……
    “……….depending on how the teams do – Brazil or Spain, both of whom are definitely beatable based on how the US did against last summer in the Confederations Cup.”

    Cant disagree any more. Just shocked to read this on such a reputed blog. I am afraid next you come up with a possibility or should i say certainty that US wins the world cup,soccer that is.

  17. Nonsense says:

    Traffic and comments up…mission accomplished.

  18. Jesse Chula says:

    For the record, I have nothing against the USMNT and in fact do support them second to England. I want them to succeed and I want football to succeed on every level in this country.

    I found England at a younger age than when I viewed US Soccer and thus relate to them on a more personal level. My love for the English national team paved a pretty clear path for my love of English club football and has been a fairly big part of my life. (Yet I have no hate or ill feelings for US Soccer or soccer in this country in general – I don’t actually ever remember saying that).

    For this fact, I owe a great deal of loyalty to England and will always support them regardless of how good they are, and let’s face it, they’re unlikely to win a major tournament anytime soon. If this bothers you and you’re from America, then I’m sorry, but I’m unlikely to shift loyalties in the middle of a tournament just to appease you.

    As I’ve written on this site before, I love my country and appreciate all the opportunities it’s given me. There are some truely great things about the US that I’ll always keep at the forefront of my life and ideals, but let’s not forget (and I’ll say it again) THIS IS JUST FOOTBALL!

    This is sport we’re talking about, the beautiful game, soccer, futbol, whatever you want to call it. These are normal human beings picked to chase a ball because they are fast or they can kick hard. At the end of the day, this isn’t war, or famine or healthcare or politics, it’s just a bit of fun in the end, isn’t it?

    I’m just one man with an opinion.

    • David says:

      You’re correct that you have an opinion. But when you voice one like you did earlier that’s controversial and grossly inaccurate, accusing, biased and unfair, prepare to be judged and criticized back for it.

      Like I said earlier, I’ve read your posts here and enjoyed them, but no need to shit where you sleep man.

    • McBride says:

      “but let’s not forget (and I’ll say it again) THIS IS JUST FOOTBALL!”

      While you are correct, the fact you use this as defense for being an England supporter shows why you simply don’t get it.

      This is the World Cup. And the World Cup isn’t the biggest sporting event on the planet because the quality of play is the highest (that would be Champion’s League, EPL, etc.), it is the biggest sporting event because it unites citizens to pull for their nation.

      Every sport is just a sport. But why it means something every four years is that you get together with your family, friends and neighbors to support the country where you are from.

      Just because the English national team is what got you interested in the sport doesn’t mean you are English. The reason English fans die a thousand deaths with every loss on penalties is because it is their country, not because they “relate to the team on a personal level.”

      Wearing a jersey or copying colloquialisms doesn’t change where you are from or who you are.

      You are trying to intellectualize something that is very simple. You are America. This is America’s team. Therefore it is your team.

  19. jleau says:

    By the comments one would think Chula wrote the article. His comments show that he’s more than just a bad writer, he’s a whiney bad writer. Both of those rants are so stupid it’s indescribale.

    Gaffer-Brazil and Spain are beatable; what are you smoking?

    There is no USA/England rivalry, we just don’t play enough. Our rivalry is Mexico without doubt.

    Every other country disrepects our soccer, that’s what happens when a country barely cares about a sport. By the looks of things, that’s slowly changing. I think that’s good for the game, we’re a huge country and we should care more. I would say the same for India and China, hell those 3 countries account for almost 3 billion people. It’s good for the game if those folks are engaged.

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