Refuting claim of U.S. superiority
Let me start by saying that Kyle Franko's article "Real futbol is better than American football" was terrific. Well, except the end of it — when he commented about the "British" soccer team and its fans. Before I progress, I would like to say that Franko has more soccer — from here on out referred to as "football" — knowledge than most people I know. He could easily talk and write about football as well as some of my fellow Englishmen. But, as an Englishman I feel compelled to make a few pointers and correct a couple of mistakes. To begin with, I want to make a little historical side note: "Britain" never won the World Cup in '66. England did. And a little geopolitical note: Britain is a unitary state. England is one of four countries in Britain, along with Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. England and Britain are two different things. When it comes to football, if you say "Britain" in reference to any of these four countries while in the U.K., you would have had a bottle smashed over your head before you realized your mistake. Now I'm sure that in the author's eyes it would be very "cool" for the U.S. to beat England in the World Cup, but I really don't see it happening. The U.S. has failed to beat England since '93 and England has outscored them 35-8 in all encounters. England has also only lost twice in the last two years under Fabio Capello, to France and Spain away. The U.S. lost to Mexico 5-0 in New Jersey just a few months ago. Quite frankly, when it comes to football, the English national team is different gravy. The fact is, England's second — even some third string — players would immediately command the place in any club over the vast majority of USA's first team. England has at least seven of the greatest positional players in the world of football. I challenge the author or anyone else to find a better center back pairing than John Terry and Rio Ferdinand or a better central midfielder pairing than Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. And don't even get me started on Wayne Rooney. If Franko can find me a team on Earth that would not benefit from having any one of these players in their squad, I will happily wear the Stars and Stripes come next summer and leave the Three Lions in the closet. The fans of any national side that boasted such world class players as those above would definitely be confident in their nation's chances come World Cup time. Nevertheless, the author was correct when he said that England usually shoots itself in the foot when it comes to major competitions. For the fact is, every year England hasn't played to its best. But then why do we Englishmen always tell you "how great" we are? Well, it's quite simple: It's because we are great. Not just as a team, but as a footballing nation. Now we never say that we are going to win the World Cup; we merely say that we have a very good chance of doing so. And that's because we always do. As I said before, we have an incredible team. We also have a great record despite not playing to our full potential. England is one of the most consistent World Cup performers since its establishment. They are also the 4th top nation in the world on average since 1970. Where is the U.S.? They are 48th, behind Iraq (45th) and Iran (29th). But, as a means to move on, I can agree on at least some things Franko said. You can show up for a World Cup match but you will not "witness one of the world's supreme sporting events;" you will be witnessing the world's supreme sporting events. The 2006 Super Bowl had 91 million viewers. The 2006 World Cup final alone had near 700 million watchers worldwide. Here I will reiterate one of the author's points: real football is better than American football. To conclude, while Franko may be dreaming of how "cool" it would be for the U.S. to beat England in the World Cup come next summer, I will be legitimately cheering on my home nation just as I always have — with a quiet confidence. The year 2010 is England's greatest chance, our greatest chance in 44 years. Jo'burg here we come. Note to the author: Next time, leave the "British" comments aside. Stephen Beeston is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in English.