Wednesday, June 09, 2010

anxious and confident... waiting for the world cup

With less than two days to go before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa gets rolling, it's probably safe to say that I'm not the only football fan out there anxiously surfing the net reading blog posts, news stories, and tweets regarding the tournament.  Also, I'm glued to the television watching old World Cup matches on ESPN Classic... trying to manage to get some work done in the process as well.  Though honestly, it's been more of the former than the latter.

Of course, once the tournament ends in a month, I'll be relieved, exhausted, and anxious to forget about loyalties to country for a welcome return to league play.  As Lisa posted last week, despite my anxiousness for it to begin and my sometimes unfortunate romance of the game and the tournament... the World Cup is rarely pleasurable, hardly comforting in the manner that being hopelessly in love should be.  It's agony, pain, and masochism of the highest order.  What that says about my personality... well, I'll leave it at that.

But unlike previous years, I actually have confident, though cautious, optimism for the US team.  Still not a fan of the lumbering defensive-minded hybrid of catenaccio that coach Bob Bradley favors, but we look fit, solid, and confident.  Not overly-confident, mind you, like Ingerland, bloody Ingerland.  Confident in a good way.  So I have high hopes that we'll beat England on Saturday.  The World Cup rarely goes as predicted, though, so take my wish-fulfillment with plentiful salt, lime, and the tequila of your choice.

The last time we played England (I believe) was on May 28, 2008 at Wembley in London.  Two of us had just returned from three months in Spain and had plans to go see the game live... but we ended up watching the match at a pub down from our B&B instead... in a room full of English supporters.  We were roundly humiliated, as was the American team who lost 2-0 against a slovenly English squad. 

Last year's US appearance at the Confederations Cup in South Africa was a big improvement and I found myself falling for our scrappy Yanks in a way that I've never felt before.  Not only did the US look like they could beat Brazil in the final, the guys seemed to feel it as well.  This wasn't a fluke, this was the fulfillment of years of promise.  The US lost the final 3-2, but it was a line in the sand for me.  We weren't going back, we weren't going to return to the dark days of the 2006 World Cup embarrassment. 

We've done well in the big tournament before.  The 2002 World Cup for instance.  But our brutal assault at the feet of the Czechs in 2006 left some long-lasting bruises on many fans and will hopefully remain merely an aberration in the overall history of the national team.  Probably not, I know, but I'm trying to be optimistic these days.  Hopeful.

I know we can beat England.  They don't have any fear... but that's just a sad reminder of their arrogance, naivete, and penchant for self-delusion.  Crazy island dwellers, you know.  I don't for a second think we can win the whole thing, but I do know we can take down Ingerland.  And that's all that matters at this point.  One game at a time....


lisa said...

You said it. For the first time, maybe ever, I'm interested in the U.S. team. My heart, of course, belongs to Spain and Argentina, but I'm open to falling in love with the Americans.

As for the English, they'll have to do something very bloody marvellous to win me back. Not just marvelous, but heart-warming, too. Something that results in the world being a better place. Want to lay odds on that happening?

derek said...

I mean, for the good of the tournament, I hope Rooney has a great World Cup. But not on Saturday. Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, and all the rest... I couldn't care less about. But I sort of like Rooney's bangers and mash style.