Thursday, 25 June 2009

Victory over Spain wasted on the Yanks

It's arguably the greatest victory for the USA since the 1950 World Cup.

Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey gave the US a 2-0 victory over Spain in the Confederations Cup.

Back in the day, the Yanks recorded a famous 1-0 win over England, starring Billy Wright, Tom Finney and Stan Mortensen.

Putting this into context, the Spaniards are European champions having won 15 straight matches and undefeated since November 2006. Both are world records.

And they were at close to full strength: Fernando Torres partnered David Villa up front together with a star-spangled lineup featuring the cream of the Premier League and Barcelona.

The US, who reached the semis thanks to a dramatic six-goal swing in the last round of the group stage, seemingly used that as a confidence fillip.

Imagine if England had just beaten Spain; not just in the scoreline, but in the manner of the Americans win. Their discipline, organisation, workrate and belief has echoes of the Greeks sensational victory at Euro 2004.
This morning's tabloids would be larging it. The Sun'ld dig up eighties nearly-men and get ten-word quotes from each like, "We can definitely end 44 years of hurt in South Africa!", then pop 'em in a highlighted box in the middle of the page.
Do you remember when we beat Argentina 3-2 in Geneva ahead of the last World Cup? Two late Michael Owen goals turned the game on its head. The press talked of our Golden Generation: Terry, Ferdinand, Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard; not forgetting the blend of more senior players like Owen and Beckham. The hacks were hysterical!

They're not doing that in the Miami Herald or the Archbold Buckeye this morning, I can tell you!

The magnitude of the American victory is totally wasted on their sporting public.
The USA are perennial World Cup qualifiers - but not even their Latino emigres can trigger a football culture, with baseball, basketball and football so embedded in their collective consciences.
The Americans truly arrived on the world football stage with this win. And though the scoreline in raw print is an eye-raiser, they utterly deserved it.
Shame it won't move them, like it's moved me.

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