Blogs & Opinion


Feeling the heat

USA excel in the pressure cooker, says Alex

Features Posted 25th June 2010 view comments

There are no better stories on Wall Street than the kid who had nothing fighting his way to the top and making his fortune.

Serena and Venus Williams make the imagination come alive because their tennis was played in the bad areas of Los Angeles, not the prim and proper country clubs and tennis academies that most professional tennis players found themselves playing in as youngsters.

USA: Celebrate qualification in style

USA: Celebrate qualification in style

And Americans love the drama, too. Whether it's Michael Jordan firing in the last-second shot in the NBA Finals in Utah in 1998 to a driver winning in the last lap of Daytona 500 to a baseball hitter thumping a game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth (heck, even Brandi Chastain taking off her top after scoring the winning penalty in the USA women's victory in the 1999 World Cup was a sporting highlight), the American viewing public never seems satisfied with a comfortable win.

"USA supporters must be emotionally exhausted - and they haven't even played their second round game yet!"

Alex Ferguson
Quotes of the week

They want the biggest heart attack possible, please. And this year's World Cup has given American fans just that. They must be emotionally exhausted - and they haven't even played their second round game yet!

And while the names Jay DeMerit, Jozy Altidore and Landon Donovan don't roll off the tongue when you're talking about members of a potential World Cup winning team, if you were looking back to the 1980s, you probably didn't think that an American ice hockey team would have a prayer of conquering the mighty Russians, either.

It's not that the USA was ever a horrible team on paper. They've beaten Spain, are ranked in the Top 20 in the world, they have an excellent goalkeeper in Tim Howard, and most of their starting XI play in the top divisions of European Football.

But it was just that they weren't meant to be as good as the world superpowers. Heck, one of the players will even play the 2010/11 season for free (defender Oguchi Onyewu for AC Milan), because he injured his knee and was out of the 2009/10 year of battle.

Self-belief

But frankly, we'd swap all of the pomp and circumstance of our 'better-on-paper' teams for what the USA has in abundance - and what we haven't seen a lot of from 2006 finalists France or Italy this tournament - self-belief.

This US team will keep coming back at you, even when you think you've got a game won. They were comprehensively outplayed by England, yet managed to scrape out a 1-1 draw. Sure, most of that was thanks to the appalling goalkeeping of Rob Green, but where would they have been without the amazing goalkeeping of Tim Howard?

Then there was the USA-Slovenia game. Overjoyed, I told an American fan that his team was losing 2-0 to the Slovenians, but then had to watch on, in disbelief and admiration, as the Americans picked themselves up and went on to draw even at 2-2.

And by the end of the game, the streets of New York should have been in celebration after Maurice Edu's goal went in, but the goal was disallowed. Why, exactly? I'm still scratching my head about it!

In the Algeria game on Wednesday, the USA were favourites. Algeria hadn't scored all tournament long, and despite some horrible finishing by Altidore and plain bad luck, it was 0-0 in the 92nd minute.

And now? The USA finds themselves as favourites to beat Ghana on Saturday night, and America is ready to explode if they do just that.

Anyone fancy a bet on them not doing it? I don't!

Comments (2)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Mark Crawford says...

Think alex is right,but I think they will get put out next round,

Posted 14:29 25th June 2010

Mickey Haugh says...

Well said. Although "comprehensive" may have been a bit shall we say "generous" to the English side in the first game. The USA showed desire and heart through out the group stage. Something VERY MUCH lacking in many of the European, "if I show up, I should win" nationals.

Posted 14:02 25th June 2010

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Gary Neville

Nev: Consistency key for Danny

Gary Neville says Arsene Wenger can turn Danny Welbeck into a great striker, as he did with Thierry Henry....

Graeme Souness

Souness: 'Liverpool lightweight'

Graeme Souness says Liverpool’s defeat in Basel proves that the current side is a shadow of their former selves....

Peter Beagrie

Beagrie: Vardy deserves cap

An England call-up would be rich reward for all of Jamie Vardy's hard work, says Peter Beagrie....

Latest News RSS feeds

Gerrard blasts 'soft' Liverpool

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard accused his side of being "soft all over the pitch" in their 1-0 defeat at FC Basel.

Wenger hails electric Welbeck

Arsene Wenger says hat-trick hero Danny Welbeck showed the "instinct of a goalscorer" in Arsenal's win over Galatasaray.

Welbeck fires Arsenal to win

Danny Welbeck's hat-trick helped 10-man Arsenal ease to a 4-1 Champions League win over Galatasaray at the Emirates.

Liverpool slump to Basel defeat

Liverpool paid the price for a disjointed performance as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to FC Basel in the Champions League.

Nev: Consistency key for Danny

Gary Neville says Arsene Wenger can turn Danny Welbeck into a great striker, as he did with Thierry Henry.

Features

Midfield master

Midfield master

Match-winner Nemanja Matic is now an integral part of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea team, says Roberto di Matteo.

Manuel Pellegrini is still struggling to bring the best out of Manchester City after Champions League draw with Roma

Manuel Pellegrini is still struggling to bring the best out of Manchester City after Champions League draw with Roma

"I am absolutely sure that Manchester City will eventually win the Champions League," said Manuel Pellegrini before City's 1-1 draw with Roma. The key word being 'eventually'. On this evidence, City's date with destiny still lies far in the future.

Champions League: Andre Villas Boas has made a strong start to his time in charge of Zenit St Petersburg

Champions League: Andre Villas Boas has made a strong start to his time in charge of Zenit St Petersburg

“If we win all nine matches, Zenit will be champions.” The words of Andre Villas Boas upon being named Zenit St Petersburg manager in March seemed wildly optimistic given the circumstances.