Respect is earned, not simply handed to you. However, sometimes results are handed to you. Or rather mishandled to you. So the saying goes, "England Expects," as they rightfully should because they are undoubtedly a global power. This result is unacceptable for them, but it really won't matter. The Three Lions will truly have no problem qualifying for the knockout stages, and, in truth, they played very well against a resilient, and (usually) organized US side.
As I embarked early this morning to the House of Blues in Boston, who were showing the World Cup on a gigantic screen with 1,000 avid soccer fans, including players from the New England Revolution and the Boston Breakers, I thought there was set to be a riot. After all, US Soccer looked like it was set for a terrible welcoming to the World Cup when Steven Gerrard scored just five minutes after kick-off. That goal brought the Breakers' England internationals Kelly Smith and Alex Scott to their feet, and rightfully so, however, Revolution & USA capped keeper Matt Reis sunk into his seat. It certainly looked like England manager Fabio Capello got it spot on once again. But the unpredictability of the beautiful game makes for unspeakable drama, which is exactly what happened next.
Most of the British press will rightfully focus on Robert Green's absurdly awful mistake to let Clint Dempsey's calm 25-yard strike crawl into the back of the net. Unfortunately, that means they will spend little time giving credit to Bob Bradley's defiant squad. However, an exception to this trend is that the BBC has recognized the fact that the US deserved a "hard-earned point" because "England ran out of ideas as they tired." This result meant more, logistically, to the United States, who now know almost certainly that one win against Slovenia or Algeria will bring them into the knockout stages. In fact, this result was so similar to the United States' 1-1 draw against Italy in 2006, when they were gifted an own-goal thanks to Cristian Zaccardo. This time, however, fortune falls on the Americans as they are able to face Algeria and Slovenia instead of Ghana and Czech Republic, which were then ranked #2 in the world.
For England, Algeria is next. For the US, Slovenia is the next challenge. Slovenia are very similar to the US, as they are a team, without superstars, that works together and get results. The Eastern Europeans are very technical, but tend to wilt away when facing more physical opponents, so you can bet that Bob Bradley will continue to utilize the likes of Jozy Altidore, Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Michael Bradley, and Carlos Bocanegra. Will the US get their win on June 18th? Well, they certainly won't be the underdog this time around.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story had an unauthenticated photograph. It has been removed.)
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