Did the World Cup just get bigger?

Okay, okay so it is only four weeks, every four years and I am going there and talking about football….again. And there is so much to say now, especially after USA’s Oscar winning footballing award for outstanding and overzealous celebrations, for winning their group. Perhaps only in America will players thank the Lord, God, Jesus, the Bible and ‘all the thousands of fans that made this possible’. Only an American would start crying in front of millions for just qualifying to the knockout stages. Only In America would a former president give an interview praising the sterling efforts of his boys, (did Clinton perhaps confuse the vuvuzelas for gunfire and Bloemfontein for the Gulf??)

Only in America!

But a friend of mine, and a female one at that, pointed out something that was obvious to her, a fully fledged and boldly stated football hater, but not to any of my other so called professional footballing mates.

‘This is the start, mark my words’ she began. ‘Can you imagine what it would be like if the USA won the bloody thing?’ She went on to state that she gave the USA, eight more years to be fully fledged World contenders; for the game of football to take on an entirely different face; and for wages akin to Pro football stars and NBA megastars becoming commonplace. She foresaw a time in the not too distant future where top European players would fight to play on American soil and she foresaw an even scarier vision of what the new Wag would be like. (She also spoke about them living in houses as large as the borough of Hackney but by then it may have just been the drink talking!).

But after all of the celebrations, and the super speech given by Mr Donovan, it suddenly dawned on me that a bigger statement had been made. You see, football’s home is England. It is our national sport, the one thing we have which we know we created. Now we may not be the best at it but our Premiership is arguably the toughest division throughout all of the World’s leagues and we have always garnered a bit of respect for this fact, and for winning the world cup in 1966, (yes I mentioned it…sorry!), but now with the USA beating us at our own game, I am sure the victory is all the sweeter.

Now we can no longer claim to be better than the USA. They can beat us at football whereas we would always struggle to beat them at Basketball, American Football, Hockey or Baseball. A big thing happened on Wed 23rd June 2010, and the secret meaning behind all of the celebrations was not lost on me. America can lose their next game and not lose any of the respect that they have rightly earned. If England loses, we lose a whole lot more.

Now there is a valid and understandable reason why the USA should be better than poor old blighty and the reason is purely a question of size. The USA is a continent, cunningly classed as a country. America’s pool of sportsmen is the equivalent of a British team consisting of players from the whole of Europe (and probably parts of the Far East too.) An England team is possibly the equivalent of an American team consisting of players picked only from Kansas. How good a team could you really create with that genetic bundle to choose from?

So the scales of justice unfairly favour the bigger man. By continually getting better and better, the American public will begin to get behind this fledgling sport. Once this happens, the money men will move in and then anything becomes possible. Before long the beautiful game will be officially known as Soccer and the ‘real’ footie fans will be relegated to the minor leagues and pub teams of Great Britain. Bleak!

But why does America want a piece of the pie anyway? Is it for anything other than money? Does pride come into play at all? Money is the motivating factor that makes any greased wheel turn around quicker creating spoils greater than anything we can possibly imagine. We may think the Russians have money, wait til Nike and the like get a bite of this cookie!

If I sound bitter it is only because I know the end is inevitable. David Beckhams’ ‘relocation’ to sunnier, shinier and smilier climes was only the beginning, there will be others.

‘If you build it they will come’

Never a truer word has been said for never a truer moment

Right now though, the World Cup is still on, there are many more games to play and anything can truly happen. And when the winner is announced and the celebrations begin just take a moment to see who finishes where. Those teams we tend to forget about who may come out in the knockout stages having far surpassed how far they expected to go.

These are the teams to be watching out for and one of them will be the USA.


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