Losing to USA would be unbearable, even though there shouldn't be any shame in it as they're quite highly ranked.
I just hope England go through the tournament without displaying the fear of losing that's been our downfall in recent years. Let's go out and play positive, fast tempo but skillful football - we have the players to do it. I also think it should be an advantage to us for once that the climate in SA in June should be relatively cool.
One thing that's always stuck me as odd about USA soccer, is they don't seem to have ever produced a single world class player. I don't deny that they have some very good players, but I've never seen any really great ones. To my knowledge they have never produced anyone in the class of the current crop of top English players like Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Ferdinand, Terry, Ashley Cole. I know soccer isn't their biggest sport, but considering the size of their population and the apparent popularity of the sport within schools, plus the fact that they have many players now in the top leagues in Europe, I'm surprised by this. Out of 300 million people, you'd think there must be at least 1 or 2 little maestros. Anybody disagree with that observation or have an explanation for it?
Reyna's pretty good, although admittedly the best American players i can think of are both goalkeeprs (Howard and Friedel). The reason there are so few might just be because American kids don't spend enough time playing football. That's what we used to spend pretty much every summer doing all the time as kids, and in this sort of environment talent is going to get notice and encouraged. I'm guessing it's less common there.
I agree they have a few good goalkeepers who might well be better than the current English goalkeepers. But, hey, goalkeepers aren't real players! They can learn that trade playing basketball.
It would be interesting if it's true that in order to become a really top level player you have to play a lot in your free-time in the street or the park as a kid. Obviously it must help, but is it a pre-requisite? I'd be interested to hear how much American kids play soccer both in and out of school.
Soccer is more popular here than most people realize; it's just that it's underdeveloped at the professional level.
Thanks, that's interesting. I did have the impression that it was very popular in schools, and has been for some time. That's why I'm surprised that few if any really great individuals have not yet emerged. Even if the professional system is undeveloped over there, you'd think the big clubs over here would have spotted them.
Maybe it's got something to do with the young age soccer players are signed up by professional clubs in Britain (and, I believe, in the rest of Europe) compared to the college system you have for sports development. Very few British players have traditionally had a college education. In fact, most will finish formal education and become full-time professionals at around 16 (having already been in the junior teams of professional clubs). If they're not challenging for a first team place before they're 20 they either transfer to a smaller club or leave the professional game altogether. I suppose the intensive training and development they get during their teens with professional clubs could be the difference.
Straggler writes: Is it right that a sports star earns tens of millions whilst even the most productive and necessary members of public society earn 100s or even 1000s of times less?
Huntard replies: No.
It anoys me that sports stars - and especially footballers - get criticised so much for what they earn, when you hardly ever hear any criticism of film stars and pop stars who earn just as much.
I think it's a class thing - nobody likes to see those uncouth, uneducated working class lads making loads of money, they should know their place, but it's alright for arty-farty middle class actors to do so.
I agree with you, they shouldn't earn as much either.
That's not really what I meant. I'm not really bothered by how much any of them earn. It annoys me the ways athletes, and footballers (soccer players) in particular, are patronised by the public and the media. They are required to be dumb, simple, morally perfect individuals, whereas for some reason that doesn't apply to artistic entertainers. I just find that irritating.
It doesn't bother me that some footballers or film stars earn millions, and their employers may earn hundreds of millions, and yet a doctor doesn't get paid as much. What do most doctors earn in the West - 100K+ a year? Probably a lot more in USA. What have they got to worry about? They probably earn a lot more and have a lot more job security than the majority of professional athletes and actors. How many sports cars can you drive? How many fat lunches can you eat?
Bluejay says: I feel the same way about most sports. Association football especially, I think. In the English Premier league, for example, it seems like there are only ever about 5 teams that have a shot at the top (and they're the same ones every year), and maybe 8 that are always playing to avoid relegation. The other half are generally able to tactfully avoid all the drama that makes the sport interesting.
Caffeine says: Whilst annoying, the Premier League isn't the worst in the world. It's dominated by four teams (and this year one of those is currently sitting precariously in 6th place), while there are a depressing number of national leagues dominated by just two. Since the start of the Scottish Premiership in 1998, Rangers and Celtic have finished either first or second every year except 2006, when Hearts came second.
I agree with a lot of what you say but, while it's true that certain teams are generally more successful than others, I think it is something of an illusion that they always dominate. Things do change and no one team always dominates. For example, looking at the English premier league and old first division, Manchester Utd (the largest football club in the world) had to wait 26 years from winning the league in 1967 to winning again in 1993. But Liverpool, who dominated the league in the 70s and 80s, winning 11 times in that period, have not won in the last 20 years! Who's to say Man Utd won't go through another long lean spell in the near future?
One of the big criticisms in recent years has been, as you say, 4 teams dominating the league, and nobody else able to get anywhere near them. But during the 90s the criticism was that it was just 2 teams, Man Utd and Arsenal, that dominated. 4 was a big improvement on that. This season only 3 teams have been within shot of the title, but you have 4 or 5 teams fighting for 4th place, and giving the top 3 teams a hard time when they play them. I think it's quite exciting at the moment. It would only take a marginal improvement to make any of them serious challengers for the top.
I recall in the early 90s when AC Milan had a very strong team and dominated the Italian league and European competitions a lot of people said they were so strong nobody would ever get near them. They said they had enough good players to field separate teams in the domestic and European leagues and dominate them. Although they obviously remain a strong team, that level of dominance did not last.
For some reason my first attempt to reply your message wasn't sent.(?)
I take back all my earlier optimism. Without a vast improvement in performance, there is no possibility of England winning the World Cup. If we'd been playing like that against a team that was any good, we'd have been hammered.
Don't get too downhearted. The result and performance was par for the course for an opening game for England. We nearly always start with a draw. And in the last World Cup, Italy played poorly and drew 1-1 with USA, but then went on to gradually improve and win the cup! I don't believe in omens, but we can still be positive!
Hopefully Barry will be fit for the next game which means we can put out a more ambitious attacking formation. I'd like to see Joe Cole play on the left and Gerrard further forward, just behind Rooney. That ought to give us a lot more creativity and movement.
I'll just be happy to not see Shaun Wright-Phillips on the pitch.
I agree. He's similar to Walcott, except too old to have any potential to improve.
One player I really like for England is Glen Johnson. He always plays without fear. Even if he makes errors he doesn't try and hide or lose confidence. He just goes out and plays his normal game. I hope the rest of the team go on to do the same.
You run up and down the field with the ball going willy-nilly all over the place for 90 damn minutes and end up with an aggregate score of 0. Nothing. Nada.
Can you really not see the beauty in a 0-0 result? After months of pre-tournament hype, concerns over injuries to key players, weeks of intensive training at altitude, players and fans travelling halfway around the world; how tedious would it be if all that ended in something as crass as watching some goals being scored, rather than a glorious sense of deflation?
I note that Uruguay made 3 goals on South Africa. SA apparently played the game well as they did not score any goals. Uruguay erred in scoring. Three times. Is there a penalty in ranking for having violated the rules? Are they eliminated from the competition?
It sounds like you're beginning to take an interest in the tournament after all!
I'll let you know how I think the rules should be interpreted after England's next match tomorrow.