Tuesday, June 15, 2010

USA vs England in London June 12th

So the first big game of the World Cup that i wanted in fact HAD to watch was the USA v England game that was held June 12th. I was in jolly London to watch the game, the number of American fans was well less than you could count on your hand. Watched the game with probably 400 drunken English fans at the Montague Pyke Pub near Leister Square. From my week stay in the UK (Edinburgh Scotland and London) the most consistent thing between the cities was that the beer was utter crap. Even drinking imported beers such as Stella, it seemed not as good as when had in Belgium or even the East Village in Manhattan. I only found one UK beer that i found which was an Inns & Gunn from Scotland.

Ok back to the game, I was not at all worried that the USA went down in the 4th minute, it was a lovely piece of skill by new Captain of England Steven Gerrard, it was a horrible piece of defending by Riccardo Clark, but he has not been one of my favorite midfielders for the USA, and one Gerrard was past him it was up to Tim Howard to do something. While Howard might have stopped Gerrard in a few Mersyside Derbys in this game Gerrad got the best of him.
I thought the USA looked decent in the first half with a couple of decent chances. Clint Dempsey had a header that was stopped at the post, and Altidore had a free header that he missed wide. Landon Donovan was basically invisible the whole game. The eventual goal that Clint Dempsey scored while not a lovely piece of skill on his part like the Europa League chip over Juventus that saved Fulham, the goal did fit Dempsey motto of "Just Do Shit". With a ball that the keepers don't seem to enjoy stopping no problem with taking a 25 yard blast. In fact i've always screamed why American players dont try more long range shots. Yes it was a total howler from Robert Green. The sort of blunder than can ruin a guys confidence for years to follow and i'd be shocked to see him in goal for a dnother England Game.
The 2nd half had stretches where it was dominated by the English. In fact there was about one 5 minute stretch that had me incensed. Riccardo Clark i believe had a horrible first touch to give up an easy turnover. At that point England simply held the ball for minutes, had a few shots on net and earned at least one corner. While nothing came of it, the USA simply has to control possession more and not make blunders like that.

My heartbreaking moment of the 2nd half was when Jozy Altidore beat old ass Jamie Carragher like a rented mule around the outside, cut into the 18 yard box and blasted a shot. Green got his hand on it and then it went off the post. I wanted that goal!!!! While Jozy made a great effort, i think there is something about proven goal scoring assassins like Drogba, Torres, Eto'o, Messi that they simply dont miss chances like that.. I seriously thought we should have had that goal, and a 2-1 victory for me would have turned the 7 quid i bet on the game into 70 quid!!!!
Timmy Howard had to easily be our man of the match he stopped 6 shots in the 2nd half, while a few were great saves, at the same time Emile Heskey had an open shot and put it RIGHT INTO HIS CHEST, you gotta aim for the corners.

At the end of the game i was a grumpy miserable louse, i had not been drinking beer during the game as i was too nervous and really felt a 2-1 victory should have been ours. My friends were trying to cheer me up, but it was only after i started reading facebook posting from English fans and their utter self loathing/hatred for the team, the nation, etc that i finally felt it was a "victory" for the USA team. One point is always better than zero points in your first match.

As I write this i'm speeding thru the Netherlands on the way to Amsterdam for the early Netherlands vs Denmark game. Should be a great scene as for a 1:30pm kickoff time, there are already 4 or 5 Dutch fans all decked out in Orange ready to pre-game.
Glad that in the next couple of days we will get the first games from the Netherlands, Italy, Brazil, Portugal all the so called contenders, we will see if any of them can destroy a team 4-0 like the Germands did.

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