The British Early Sunset, the American Belated Sunrise

June 24, 2014

Winston Churchill was fond of reiterating that the sun never sets on the British Empire. The decolonization movement after World War II was instrumental in dismantling the British Empire. In recent decades, Britain has been unsuccessful in establishing itself as a world power in soccer. Its Premier League is considered one of the better leagues in the age of global soccer but the England national team has not fared well in the European Cup or the World Cup in recent decades. Britain playing at home won the World Cup in 1966. Since then Britain has been plagued by a trophy drought.

In Brazil 2014, England was knocked out of the group stage. Italy beat them 2-1 and Uruguay also beat them 2-1. England went to the World Cup with a nucleus of young talented players like Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jordan Henderson and some seasoned hands like Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard.

But Roy Hodgson’s team lacked chemistry. The two central defenders, Cahill and Jagielka played poorly. Gerrard is too old to start as a defensive mid-fielder and Jordan Henderson is far from being a world class player. Rooney started the first game on the wing and the second playing behind the center-forward. Even though Rooney scored in the second game, his star-like qualities on the world stage are, indeed, lacking.

Roy Hodgson is really quite a novice as a manager and that will be the end of his stint as manager of the English team.

England has a few talented young players like Barkley, Lallana, and Oxlade-Chamberlain but England needs a mid-field general and a playmaker. In time, Sterling will evolve into the latter but football teams need a player with a high work rate in mid-field of the Patrick Vieira make-up. England has made an early exit but they have a nucleus to build on to improve their chances of re-emerging as a world fever in soccer.

The United States

The United States team is ranked thirteen in the world by FIFA rankings. Under Jurgen Klinsman in World Cup 2014, the United States team without Landon Donovan has shown that it can compete with the best in the world.

Klinsman’s men were seconds from qualifying for the second round as they led Ronaldo’s mighty Portugal 2-1 going into extra time.

This was a better showing than they displayed against Ghana even though the United States won the game 2-1. Against Portugal, they possessed the ball, showed great composure and created chances.

Jermaine Jones’ goal to tie up the score was simply world class. The skipper, Clint Demsey, delivered the killer goal but Ronaldo who was disappointing the whole game at the last second delivered a peach of a cross to allow Portugal to eke out a tie.

To determine which two teams will go forward, the United States will face-off against Germany and Portugal will battle Ghana. All the United States needs is a draw to advance to the next stage of the competition.

The United States as a soccer force has arrived in the highly competitive sport of world soccer. The excitement of World Cup 2014 in Brazil has triggered a soccer explosion in America. The years of marginalizing soccer in sports media or imbeciles making the case that soccer is not an American sport has come to a screeching halt. What America needs to do now and in the future is to produce the American Peles of the world. The sun has risen on American soccer.
World Cup Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks

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