Why The World Cup Draw Is Good (for me)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

The U.S has a tough first game, but it shouldn't matter too much.


USA vs England is my nightmare!



The U.S. team will kick off its Word Cup quest on Saturday, June 12th at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa.  The opponent that day is England!  This match-up makes everyone happy.  FIFA, soccer's world governing body, likes it because it's a clash of two high-profile titans.  England likes it because our soccer fans seem to think we've entered their level, and should be able to take them down, they'd like nothing more than to crush the colonies.  The U.S. likes it because, we've got a point to to prove (see above.)

I like it because there is no loser!   Here's my dilemma.  I'm a USA fan, obviously, we all are.   In any contest, sport, comparison, war etc, I will always pull for the U.S. of A.  However........I spent some time in England as a child.  That's where I learned to love the beautiful game.  It has the league I still follow closely, the players I admire the most.   In any match-up with any team I will always pull for England....unless it's against the U.S.  That's the problem for me.  I really, really, really like both teams. 

Here's the great part.  England and the U.S. are both in group C after that draw on Friday (carried on live TV in 200 countries by the way).  They do play each other, then they each play Algeria and Slovenia, the other two teams in group C. The top two teams in each of the 8 groups of 4 will advance to the round of 16.  Algeria and Slovenia both did very well to make it to the World Cup tournament, but there are very few followers of the game (outside of Algeria and Slovenia) who expect anyone other than England and the U.S. to advance out of the group. 

That means on June 12th it doesn't really matter who wins or who loses when the Americans battle the British. (I say British for style, it's really just the English...for soccer purposes the British Isles are divided into teams by country...England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland..England is the only one of them that qualified...thanks to the infamous Henry handball that killed Ireland)  Both teams will be able to pick up enough points in their other two group games to advance, even if they lose the opener.  A win is good, but a loss isn't bad, so as a fan I'm off the hook!

The way the draw is set up, when both England and the U.S. advance to the second round, they'll be OK for a while...but here's the rub (to paraphrase an Englishman).  There is a chance if they both do well and keep winning that the U.S. and England could play each other in the semi's or even in the final!!!!  And if that happens......

USA vs England is my nightmare!

We'll talk again soon.




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