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Sunday kickaround

Let's begin with colleague Liz Clarke's wonderful piece on vuvuzelas and the culture of South African soccer, a story that ran on the front page of the main news section and was accompanied by spectacular photographs.

A sampling of English media reaction to the U.S. team's 3-1 victory over Australia on Saturday.....

Guardian: "The three goals for the victors will have counted for less than the realisation that the USA lacked resilience and organisation. There will have to be much improvement if they are to be in shape for the encounter with Fabio Capello and his men."

Daily Mail: "England spy David Beckham was in the stands to watch Los Angeles Galaxy team-mate Edson Buddle send out a strong warning to Fabio Capello....."

beckhaminsa.jpg

Daily Telegraph: "For all Clint Dempsey's bright forays down the left and Edson Buddle's eye for goal, the Americans' real danger emanates from the quick feet and clever mind of Donovan."

Add Netherlands midfielder Arjen Robben to the list of injured marquee players. He strained a hamstring during a 6-1 victory over Hungary and might miss the World Cup. "He felt a sharp pain -- that can't be good," Coach Bert van Marwijk said.

By Steve Goff  |  June 6, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , England , Netherlands , South Africa , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: Arjen Robben, England, South Africa, U.S. national soccer team, World Cup, vuvuzelas  
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Next: Jozy Altidore update from U.S. World Cup camp

Comments

I hate those horns.

Posted by: nairbsod | June 6, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Hard to believe Edu, Torres, and Holden didn't get even a sniff of the field yesterday. Is BB trying some sneaky strategy with Capello?

Posted by: FrancoNiell | June 6, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Hard to believe Edu, Torres, and Holden didn't get even a sniff of the field yesterday. Is BB trying some sneaky strategy with Capello?

Posted by: FrancoNiell | June 6, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

The English take is interesting.

Buddle's 1st goal "quickly taken and merciless" - true that

"the pleasing discovery that the penalty box belonging to the United States is the land of the free header" -- unfortunately there's some truth to that

"the relentless, strangled-cat shrieking of the vuvuzelas" -- there's huge truth in that. I noticed that the ESPN crew appears to be using special microphones so their voices can be heard above that monstrous cacophony

Comical how the Brits ascribe Buddle's current form to his instruction from Beckham

Posted by: OWNTF | June 6, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The basic message of the Guardian:

"The US has many attacking talents in form, but England has nothing to fear because we're rubber and you're glue, surely the world cup is ours this time around, and we've got a queen, so there!"

It just sounds childish. If he'd talked about the play of individuals, like Clark or Demerit's occasional struggles, it would have made sense. But let's face it. We have to beat this team to not be the team they describe.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 6, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I remember vendors selling those damn horns outside the Citrus Bowl back in 1994 for the World Cup. So, I do not know when they were invented or introduced in South Africa.

Posted by: soccerglue | June 6, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

A highly trained, well supplied group against a poorly organized, rag-tag bunch of ruffians?

I think I've seen this before . . .

THE EPISTLE TO THE TROOPS IN BOSTON.

By my faith, but I think ye're all makers of bulls,
With your brains in your breeches, your --- in your skulls,
Get home with your muskets, and put up your swords,
And look in your books for the meaning of words.
You see now, my honies, how much your mistaken,
For Concord by discord can never be beaten..

Posted by: delantero | June 6, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Then there was this from a U.S. writer (withholding name)

""Yet Buddle and Findley were simply the final pieces of an attack that looked downright breathtaking at times going forward. Donovan and Clint Dempsey were both on their games and continually tormented the Australian defense.""

Breathtaking? Tormented?

Posted by: delantero | June 6, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

England are simply using their Jedi mind trick to will their team forward. "Your defense is bad, our offense good. Score many goals on you we will, score none on us. We have bragging rights to being best team on planet, you are worthless gum on bottom of my shoe."

Whatever, the game is played 11 vs 11, we can surprise and we can win.

Posted by: elfelixg | June 6, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Piss on England.

Posted by: DadRyan | June 6, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Let the English say what they want. Like we say State side, "Talk is cheap." We are a few days away from go-time. We'll see, won't we?

We have nothing to lose and they have all the pressure.

Posted by: Kosh2 | June 6, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh when the Yanks!

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 6, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

On the BBC site, a short article on Michael Bradley produced about 500 condescending comments from English fans. That, along with the guardian article, really makes me hope we can beat England. I mean, these English fans are worse than cowboys fans.

Posted by: empsg59 | June 6, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I am really hoping that suprise was the strategy too. There was no reason for Clark to be out there unless that was his one last chance to do something good.

I suppose we don't NEED to beat England. Like everyone says the other two matches are the really important ones. But beating England will just be soooo delicious. And it will crush them under an avalanche of woe and negative media.

Posted by: fedssocr | June 6, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Trust me, the annoyance of the vuvuzela sound will seem tame when compared to the shrieking from the likes of Chad and Kornheiser about how annoying the vuvuzela sounds.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 6, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Nice, Delantero.

Brit media is in full-on, build-up-expectations mode. Won't be a pretty sight when they turn on Capello & Co. when England inevitably fail.

Meantime, at this point we have to concede that we're better off leaving Onyewu on the bench, no?

Posted by: joepublic1 | June 6, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Stampede at North Korea-Nigeria friendly

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100606/ap_on_sp_so_ne/soc_wcup_fans_stampede

[World Cup security was not in place at the match because it was a friendly, but one policeman blamed FIFA for the trouble. "FIFA made the tickets free and now look," said the policeman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. "FIFA wanted them free."]

Posted by: emanon13 | June 6, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I thought McCarra's first sentence was a little over the top, but what followed was pretty accurate. He's one of the better football writers in the English media. And I don't think that the media over there have been overly condescending or dismissive of the US chances. They consider us to be the second best team in the group, with the speed and fitness to take out good sides - not to be overlooked. That's still fair. I wish that I could argue that we have a well cultured, dominant squad that should be favored on Saturday, but that's just not the case. We're still an athletic, counter-attacking team against the world heavyweights - but we have a good chance nonetheless. Until we have top level defenders who can play at the elite club level, we won't be regarded as favorites to advance well into the tournament.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 6, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

My mom is English (lived their 8 years) so I have quite a few relatives and friends over their. Bottom line, for the most part, they have no clue about American players or MLS for that matter unless they play in England. The stereotypical comments made are quite humerous, to say the least, and no basis in fact...trust me the ones who understand where we are in football are sweating bullets because they are honest enough to realize England is nowhere near as good as the media portrays them...and we are much better than many realize...

Should be fun to watch and a loss is not the end of the world for us as we can go forth with wins in the other matches...to England its a pride thing and would sting their ego and physche for quite sometime....I'ds love to see that...:)

Posted by: Shark21 | June 6, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Hey you guys - where's that endless American optimism? Australia has beaten England twice I and that was the last time they played them - and - you just beat Australia 3-1 remember? Also - now you know what happens to Australia and Australian cricket when their media (yes the media is biased mostly) and oh the people when cricket is discussed re both teams (i.e. England and Australia) even though Australia is number 1 in the most important area i.e. test cricket also they top the 50/50 style of cricket - sadly England just won the 20/20 style of cricket against Australia which most real cricket lovers like me dismiss. Rather, much rather watch baseball and do.

Posted by: bullaburra11 | June 6, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

BECKHAM!

Posted by: biga116 | June 6, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"Bottom line, for the most part, they have no clue about American players or MLS for that matter unless they play in England. The stereotypical comments made are quite humerous, to say the least, and no basis in fact.."

The rise of the Internet over the past two decades has allowed for plenty of interesting revelations about the world. But one of the most interesting -- and most jarring -- has been learning that the average Englishman is pretty moronic and myopic when it comes to football matters.

They really don't know a lot about the game beyond the island's borders. They make really simplistic judgments about players, including their own. They can't really talk tactics.

It's kind of weird, frankly. And the more astute British football pundits will admit it. I even recall a piece by an English writer earlier this year, where he straight-up admitted that American soccer sites (and their fans) are far better with tactical stuff and game analysis.

(I'll go try to find the link... pretty sure I bookmarked it on one of these browsers.)

Posted by: ChristopherMc | June 6, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

even though Australia is number 1 in the most important area i.e. test cricket also they top the 50/50 style of cricket - sadly England just won the 20/20 style of cricket against Australia which most real cricket lovers like me dismiss. Rather, much rather watch baseball and do.

Posted by: bullaburra11 | June 6, 2010 11:54 AM

Actually, both India and South Africa are ahead of the Aussies in the test rankings at the moment...

http://www.cricinfo.com/rankings/content/current/page/211271.html

And England hold The Ashes, so it's not exactly the best time for Australian cricket.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 6, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

England has the EPL so why should they care about MLS? Do we care about professional basketball in Spain because Gasol plays in the NBA? No. Or Germany because Dirk plays in the NBA? No.

There are many soccer fans in the US who don't care about MLS either. I'm not one of them, but I understand why.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 6, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"England has the EPL so why should they care about MLS?"

They don't have to care about. They don't have to pay attention to it.

What they SHOULD care about is making sweeping, declarative statements about something they don't pay attention to.

Posted by: ChristopherMc | June 6, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

What they SHOULD care about is making sweeping, declarative statements about something they don't pay attention to.
Posted by: ChristopherMc
===========

Yeah. That never happens in the USA. When we say cricket is boring, we do so only after having watched many games at both the county and international level, where team score 300+ runs per inning.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 6, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

BECKHAM!
Posted by: biga116
===========

Here's a guy who refreshes the page just to have another drink.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 6, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah. That never happens in the USA. When we say cricket is boring, we do so only after having watched many games at both the county and international level, where team score 300+ runs per inning."

Who said that doesn't happen in the USA?

Posted by: ChristopherMc | June 6, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

To Kev29: Re cricket and tests et al - guess I was thinking about the last decade or so where we dominated - now a whole new team pretty much is still up there (for your benefit) with 3 at tests - 1 at ODI and 3 at the awful 20/20. All that with a very young and not quite yet seasoned team. The ashes were won by England by a nose and I guess like the last time they did that when they turn up here they will be thrashed again 5 nil. Don't think Australia has a cricket problem really - do you? p.s. where does Old Blighty stand in these sacred rankings? 5 and 6 I think - even winning the 20/20 World whatever hasn't given them much of a boost.

Posted by: bullaburra11 | June 6, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"the average Englishman is pretty moronic and myopic when it comes to football matters."

You're right. It happens all the time.

The average Englishman does not equal the average Englishman who posts comments on the internet.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 6, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"You're right. It happens all the time."

I mean, do you have an actual rebuttal to what I've specifically written, or are you just going to spend the rest of the thread doing all this pointless tu quoque-ing?

You came close with the whole "average Englishman not equaling the average Internet-posting Englishman" thing, though it's not a very convincing argument. I'm not sure why millions of Englishmen posting online aren't a fair statistical representation of England's millions of Englishmen.

Posted by: ChristopherMc | June 6, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"You're right. It happens all the time."

I mean, do you have an actual rebuttal to what I've specifically written, or are you just going to spend the rest of the thread doing all this pointless tu quoque-ing?
----

When your 'argument' is that the other guy is a moron, tu quoque rebuts it. Leaving aside it's a pointless ad hominem to begin with, it's inherently a relative claim. You're saying that the English press is *especially* 'moronic' or 'myopic.'

Posted by: stancollins | June 6, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"When your 'argument' is that the other guy is a moron, tu quoque rebuts it."

Except that wasn't my argument, at least not the extent of it.

In fact, I wasn't even making an "argument" so much as merely presenting an observation: that English fans seem a lot less attuned to the nuances of the game and breadth of the world sport than I'd have figured. With the Internet -- a real-time window into the rest of the world -- the scales fell off my eyes, basically.

So asking for a "rebuttal" was probably the wrong way to phrase it. More like "relevant response," I guess.

And I wasn't talking about the press, by the way, but rather about the typical English folks I see or encounter in various coming-and-goings. There's just a real simplistic approach to game and player analysis, which stands in notable contrast to the stuff you often see at many American soccer gathering spots, like this very blog.

That could simply be the law of averages on display: Perhaps the typical English football fan is similar to, say, the typical American baseball fan. Since everybody follows the game, everybody "knows something"; it's just not exactly cutting-edge stuff across the board. Whereas American soccer fans are, by definition, a more self-selected, trainspotting-ish lot.

Posted by: ChristopherMc | June 6, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Everyone just needs to calm down. Whenever I get fired up, I think, "What would Beckham do?" Then I drink.

Posted by: biga116 | June 6, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

We didn't need to beat Portugal in 2002, either. Turned out, good thing we did.

Posted by: Alsatian1 | June 6, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

We didn't need to beat Portugal in 2002, either. Turned out, good thing we did.
________________________________________

+1

Posted by: universityandpark | June 6, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

ChristopherMc: You were commenting on the English knowledge of soccer. Actually you were making the argument that they were morons in this subject and did not know the game beyond their borders. OWNTF asked why they should and drew a parallel to the NBA. You rebutted that they should care about making sweeping generalizations.

Not to make a sweeping generalization, but everyone on the internet makes sweeping generalizations. So why should the English be singled out?

If you read the comments on the Post's politics blogs, you'll find a lot of vitriolic, repetitive, looney tunes. Many of these commenters are ignorant of politics beyond our shores, except that Obama was born in Kenya, Indonesia, or the Kremlin. They are not representative of all Americans.

Your thesis was that American fans know more about soccer than our moronic, myopic English counterparts. Here's the difference. Unlike the English, we are starved for top flight soccer and have fed that hunger at the buffet of Euro soccer. If we had top flight, American soccer for the last 50 years, we wouldn't follow the Euro leagues as closely (see NBA argument) and we'd probably be myopic morons.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 6, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

It should be noted that Kevin McCarra of the Guardian is as close as you can get to a neutral observer of the US: he's Scottish and genuinely doesn't care about the English national team. (If anything, he's probably secretly rooting for the US.) His perception that the US lacked defensive organization against Australia is spot on.

Posted by: amoffett1 | June 6, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

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