- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On December 14, 2009
- 0 Comments
- 2010 World Cup, Algeria, England, Geoff Reid, Group C, Slovenia, World Cup 2010
As the dust has started to settle the last two weeks, the build up will get ever more intense between now and June when the world’s biggest sporting event kicks off in Soccer City, Johannesburg. While much analyzing of all the groups and match-ups will take place to the point where it may drive all of us insane the next few months and much will change between now and then, we can all at least give our first reactions to the draw itself.
There’s only one group to start with of course, and that is group C that consists of England, USA, Slovenia and Algeria.
So where do we begin with this group? Certainly England look at it as a very kind draw with the usual English media hype already starting to think they’ll win the tournament but this is a regular occurrence with every tournament they enter. I can say with absolute certainty that the average English football fan, not all, but the majority of them don’t watch any other football outside of the British Isles or the Premiership for that matter and yet still have the delusional idea that they know everything about football and since the game was invented in England they’re the best. We’ve already seen examples of this with fans and media alike describing this group as pretty much a cake walk. Fabio Capello will not be telling his players the same thing.
Moving on to this side of the ocean, the American reaction was very similar in that it was a kind draw, at least compared to the previous five tournaments. While I wouldn’t go that far, it could have been a heck of a lot worse as well. It’s important that US fans and media alike don’t get carried away like the folks in England are because it could be the start of a massive downfall. All 32 countries at the tournament are there because they deserve to be, apart from maybe France.
The difference this time is the excuse of getting drawn into the “group of death” cannot be and won’t be used. There is no reason to think why the Americans can’t get out of this group and reach the knockout phase if Bob Bradley scouts the opponents well, has a good game plan in place and players execute to perfection. Of course things don’t always turn out the way you want them to, but the players won’t need any extra motivation to play in something they’ve dreamed about since they were little kids.
The next two teams in this group is fairly unknown to a lot of us in Slovenia and Algeria. What we do know is Slovenia knocked out a Guus Hiddink led Russia in the European playoffs which was a shocker so they are very capable beating very good teams. Algeria also knocked out the defending African champions in Egypt, the same Egyptian squad that the US beat 3-0 in the Confederations Cup, but also the same squad that beat the Italians 1-0 and gave the Brazilians a scare in the groups opening game losing 4-3. By no means or stretch of the imagination will this group be as predictable as it seems on paper.
What will be amazing about this tournament is that it’s in Africa for the very first time, and i’ve always had the opinion that the World Cup has always been better when a European nation hasn’t hosted it. 2006 was a very boring and predictable tournament that I was disappointed in, while in 2002 was very entertaining with the last eight teams that included South Korea, Senegal, USA, and Turkey, four non traditional powers compared to your usual players Brazil, England, Germany and Spain. Some argue that when it gets to the knockout rounds you’d rather want to see the big boys competing to be the best in the world. I see it completely different in that in my mind, the world cup is all about seeing the lesser nations prevail and stand up and be counted amongst the big boys. That mentality is what has made the FA Cup so special since it’s inception and I believe the world cup should have the same mentality.
As we have seen the banter has already started between both sides of the Atlantic and can only expect things to pick up the next six months. This group is one that tears me up inside because I support both national teams having personal connections with both. I can say with full confidence that come June 12th, I will be fully behind Bradley’s boys for several reasons. Having lived in England for over 14 years (most of my life), the old stereotyping of Americans having no idea how to play the game is very real and it don’t need someone like myself to prove that point because we’ve already seen numerous examples of it so far. It’s something that has always got under my skin for many years now and it’s time it stopped. Of course if the Americans were to defeat England and win the group it wouldn’t change any opinions over there, heck if the Americans won the world cup I doubt it would change. This should be enough motivation by itself for the players, plus if I were Bradley, I would most definitely add in references to 1776 and the forefathers of this great land in my team talk.
Editor’s Note: Geoff Reid appears here at WVHooligan each week covering different topics that are going on in the world of soccer. Feel free to leave Geoff your thoughts below on this piece.