England, We Meet Again
With no DCU game this weekend, we can put some more focus on the newly minted World Cup participants.. USA, Baby.
Part of me is conflicted. Do we celebrate qualifying for the World Cup? I mean, not qualifying for the World Cup out of the teams in CONCACAF would be a horrific nightmare hell scenario. But hey, it happened! That non-qualification is still shocking to me just thinking about it.
As it became clearer that we were not going to lose 5-0 to Costa Rica.. I was undoubtedly happy, but not as excited as I thought I would be. After all, this is exactly what should be expected. You could even argue that the USMNT underperformed in the World Cup Qualifying cycle. Seeing the hosts on TV bring out Champagne and raise their “qualified” scarves was cool and all… but part of me was thinking, “this is a bit weird”.
Maybe I’m just cynical.. but I don’t know, something about celebrating a 2-0 loss just didn’t feel right. The fact that we still have never won in Costa Rica during World Cup Qualifying is absolutely baffling, too. How is that possible?
Regardless, we’re in. We’re all happy. And the World Cup is going to be awesome. Especially now that we know the groups. And oh my god, is Group B AMAZING!?
Like a lot of USMNT fans, that 2010 World Cup game against England was a defining moment in our fandom. Many Americans look at English as the Gold Standard (I’m more of an SPFL type of guy).. so getting to play against them is always going to be a huge draw. American’s love underdogs… and here we are definitely underdogs. There is something so sweet about knocking England Football down a peg; I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s because they are the top dogs. Maybe it’s because they are arrogant. Maybe it’s something else. But whatever it is, it seems that literally EVERYBODY loves to hate England Football. They’re kind of like the Patriots of Yankees, except they don’t win. A strange phenomena.
I think if you’re an England fan, you have to be a bit nervous. I’m not sure if they could’ve drew a group of teams and/or countries that hated them more. Admittedly, we don’t actually hate them – but you know that will be our biggest game and it will be intense. Wales or Scotland, though. Wales or Scotland legitimately hate England. Either one of those games will be difficult for England. If you remember, Scotland and England drew 0-0 during the Euros.
So can the USMNT get out of this group?
Yes, definitely. I think we can even win the group. Each game will be a dogfight, though.. which is why I love this group so much. Every game is going to be an absolutely brawl. Just look at the teams. USA, Iran, and Wales/Scotland are very physical – I would expect highly intense physical games there. Then you have the cultural and geopolitical factors in each game….....
Now, I haven’t mentioned Ukraine… because who knows what will happen with that. If they make it through that’ll be an amazing story in itself. Part of me wants them to go through just because of their situation.. but the other part of me is craving what could be if England, Wales/Scotland, and USA are in the same group. I think Scotland in particular would really spice things up.
With an all-time lack of self-awareness, English media are once again declaring themselves victors before even playing a match. Do they not learn? Whatever, just makes it that much sweeter when they trip up.
I cannot wait for the watch parties. Lets go!