Tag: United States of America

The United States Of America And The 2010 World Cup

It was a small point that was rather overlooked in the hysteria that followed England’s 1-0 win against Slovenia in their final group match on Wednesday afternoon but, in the cold light of day and with the complete schedule for the second round of the competition now available for all to see, finishing second in their group has come at a heavy cost for England. Should they somehow scramble through against Germany tomorrow, they are likely to face Argentina in the quarter-finals, and should they manage to win that as well (and we’re stretching the bounds of credibility here), Spain could their be their semi-final opposition. What, though, of the group winners, the United States of America? Just as England’s potential path to the final seems insurmountable, Landon Donovan’s goal in stoppage time at the end of their final group match against Algeria has opened up a draw that makes a place in the semi-finals of the competition a definite possibility. They play a Ghana team which is the youngest in the tournament and hasn’t scored a goal from open play in their three matches so far this evening, and the winners of that match will play South Korea or Uruguay in the quarter-finals. They could, of course, be out of the competition by tonight – if this tournament has proved nothing else, it has proved that no-one can...

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World Cup 2010: The United States Of America 1-0 Algeria

This match isn’t, as Gary Lineker insists twice, just for “you Americans and Algerians.” England’s struggles to date have turned this into a tight group where three teams need a win, so the natural choice for the neutral is surely the match with two of them. Such are the vagaries of the group that both sides are likely to still need the win right to the end, which could only help the entertainment value. They do. And it does. The BBC’s red button is very much the second team. We don’t get an on-screen clock until the 35th minute. Steve Bower is the newest commentator, and his inexperience isn’t, yet, offset by the throaty excitement he’s offered to moments of drama, mostly involving New Zealand, thus far. And co-commentator Martin Keown offers the considered perspective he showed every time Ruud Van Nistlerooy missed a penalty. And until today, every time a player does two things right in the same half, Keown tell us “Premiership managers will be looking at him” – even Nigerian keeper Victor Enyeama who, as Keown was gently reminded, played in the 2002 finals. We have to wait until 2.56 for the red button coverage to begin, which means we get another volley of Brian Blessed shouting “Cry God for Fabio, England and St. George” with a truly American sense of irony. For a while, Bowers...

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World Cup 2010: Slovenia 2-2 United States of America

I’ve seen both of these nations in major competitions. As you may have noticed from the Slovenia-Algeria report, I saw the Slovenians at Euro 2000. The USA however, were one of the teams playing at my first live World Cup match in 2006 – their opponents were Italy, in what was one of the games of the tournament. And that was the point at which my view on American’s playing football changed. It was all down to the fans who travelled to Germany. On the upside, they were very enthusiastic about the game, and (unlike the perception from the more ignorant sections of our media – i.e. most of it) were very knowledgeable about the game, as you would expect people who’ve flown thousands of miles for as little as one game to be. On the downside, everyone American I spoke to at the World Cup in 2006 was involved in the game. They played at various levels, they were referees, they were involved in coaching, they worked in administration for an MLS club. It may not sound like a downside, but during the season, if every football fan is involved in the game at one level or another, you wonder where the fans are coming from. There’s a confidence about the MLS, maybe even overconfidence in the League – I’ve known MLS watchers claim the quality is similar...

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World Cup 2010: England 1-1 USA

Okay, let’s get it out the way first up: Robert Green. He had only one save to make in that first half, when Clint Dempsey hit – or in truth barely half-hit – a low shot from maybe 28 yards out after forty minutes in. It was a routine save, Green seemed to get his body behind it, got both hands to it, and yet somehow it squirmed over the line for the USA’s equaliser.

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World Cup Tales: Colombia 1986 – The World Cup That Never Was

The upcoming World Cup will the first to take place in the entire continent of Africa but there are several countries that have already held the tournament more that once, such as Italy, France and Germany. The first team to earn the honour of hosting the World Cup finals twice, however, was Mexico and the story of how this came to pass is as much a story of the politics of FIFA as it is of the qualities of Mexico when it comes to hosting the finals of the tournament. The truth of the matter is that the hosts of the 1986 World Cup finals should have been Colombia. Then, as now, the decision made over who to award the World Cup was made many years before the actual tournament took place. In the case of the 1986 tournament, the decision was taking during a tumultuous year for FIFA – 1974, the year that Joao Havelange replaced Stanley Rous as the president of FIFA. Havelange campaigned on the principle of an expanded role within the game for the Asian and African confederations and Rous, who had in 1963 campaigned for Apartheid South Africa to be allowed to play in the World Cup, was an easy picking for him. Havelange would go on to reward those that had supported him by expanding the tournament, it was too late for him...

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