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England’s “Just playin’ the Yanks”

So, I flip on the TV and see the four-letter network’s coverage of the World Cup draw and they’re going over the Group that the U.S. is in and commenting on who they should be able to beat and blah, blah, blah.  The U.S. drew into a group into England, Slovenia and Algeria where they should be able to get out, but it won’t be alot of fun.

Well, then they have Alexi Lalas on there talking about Soccer (a sport he seems to know nothing about) and saying that if they can’t beat Slovenia or Algeria then they don’t deserve to advance.  Is it just me or did Alexi Lalas do NOTHING on the U.S. Soccer Team except have red hair and a disgustingly unkempt gotee?  (Just checking…)

So, then Bob Ley brings up a quote from the English side saying “We’re just playin’ the Yanks” and Alexi Lalas says (trying to be manyl and authoritative) “Well, I won’t be on the field, but….”

Like you could do something about it Alexi Lalas!  Seriously?  If Landon Donovan said that I could handle it.  Hell, if Mia Hamm and or Julie Foudy said that I could believe it.  No wonder we constantly have to have this debate in the U.S. where people wonder “How come Soccer can’t breakthrough?”  Because of things like this.  Alexi Lalas has no credibility and everybody knows it.  It would be much easier to have Tommy Smythe(or Mia Hamm or Julie Foudy or me) on there talking about this because at least we know he knows what he’s talking about.  It’s just plain annoying.

Now, to the actual statement:  I’m sure everyone is going to take offense to the English downplaying the skill of the Americans by acting like it will be a scrimmage and not a real match, but let’s keep it real.

The U.S. hasn’t done anything since it upset England in 1950.  1950!!!  That’s it.  Nothing monumental happened and we haven’t really had an overflow of great American Soccer players flowing out onto the scene.  The English have David Beckham, they played Soccer basically before everyone else on Earth (at least they’ve won a World Cup and played well in others), and they have a fan base that EXPECTS them to win.  Wouldn’t you be confident in playing an opponent whose country doesn’t care as much as yours, a country who has no REAL soccer tradition, and whose most memorable Soccer moments came from the Women’s National Team (who I have contended for years could beat the Men’s team anytime)?

Now, do I think the English SHOULD be flapping their gums?  No.  They haven’t won the Cup since 1966 (Steve Spurrier won the Heisman that same year, but at least they’ve won one) and recently they haven’t lived up to expectations, but the expectations are there.  At the end of the day are you going with the World’s first Soccer team or a red goatee?  Are you going with a history of success and a World Cup victory or with no history at all?

That’s what I thought…you can’t deny that the English have the upperhand here.  Just let them enjoy it.  Besides, maybe the U.S. team can make us think about more than a red goatee when we think U.S. Soccer this time around…