The United States sit joint top of the Group of Death after two games, England are at the exact opposite of that spectrum, with zero points and a nation that seems so used to failure that fans have just accepted the humiliation rather than ask questions. It is at this point that we have to consider that the US - a country that is routinely derided for having the temerity to call the Beautiful Game "soccer" - is right now a bigger power in world football than the nation who invented it.
STOP THE STEREOTYPES
But first you have to get the misconceptions out of the way. The Americans are absolutely loving the World Cup right now, with thousands upon thousands of fans cramming into fan parks to scream “I believe that we will win” in unison.
Between 12-15,000 supporters decked out in the famous red, white and blue descended on Grant Park in Chicago last night, ESPN confirmed that the Portugal clash was the most watched match in US history with over 24 million viewers, and right now there are more American supporters in Brazil than any other nation bar the hosts, and it’s not even close.
TIMES ARE CHANGING
As Bob Dylan sang, the times they are a-changing, and for the USA that change has seen them become a better side than Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions. If Cristiano Ronaldo’s cross had been the slightest bit over-hit, Jurgen Klinsmann’s side would have qualified to the second round before Germany - the second best team in International football. England on the other hand face the ignominy of a dead rubber with Costa Rica.
England sit on zero points, the other teams in the tournament that can boast that mark are such luminary footballing nations as Honduras, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cameroon and Australia. Maybe it’s time to stop looking down on those silly people from across the Atlantic that say stuff like “PK” and “Upper 90” and actually take note of how they approach tournament football, it seems to be working.
EVOLVE OR STAGNATE
Football runs in cycles, 4-2-3-1, False 9’s, Tiki Taka etc will come and go but being strong defensively - how ever boring it may be - will always be critical to advancing in World Cups. Klinsmann knows this and sets his team out to be strong without the ball as well as having the personnel that can take advantage of transitional play on the counter with quick full backs and midfielders that can join in on the attack. England's downfall was the States' strength and it comes as no surprise as to which team is still in the competition.
The US may not even progress out of Group G, but whatever happens they have passed expectations by a mile and their success is no flash in the pan. Since reaching the Quarter Finals in Japan/Korea 2002 the team have been on an upwards growth with Major League Soccer expanding, youth academies improving and a manager with job security making necessary changes.
Right now the US are better than England and right now they look certain to carry that on into Russia in 2018.
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