World Cup Diary

USA v England

By - Jun 13th, 2010 01:30 am
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Watching from the very crowded Transfer Cafe

It’s better to be lucky than good.

That was certainly true for the U.S. National Team in their opening match of World Cup 2010 against the heavily favored Three Lions of England. I’m much happier to be writing a “good news/good news” entry for Sunday, June 12 than the “good news/bad news” blog I was planning on.

The first bit of good news is, of course, the result. Winning one point from the group favorite in the opening match is huge for the U.S. Team. A win against either of the U.S. remaining opponents will likely put them through to the next round. Perhaps more important is the second bit of good news — the confidence of the U.S. team is now sky high. You could see that confidence build after the U.S. goal to the point that there were sizable chunks of the game in which the “boys in blue” were dominant on the field. Before that point, I was amazed to see a U.S team that was being beaten both in strength and in speed.

One goal changes everything. In a tournament that is all about stamina and confidence, this draw will act as a major boost to the U.S effort.

A couple of random observations on the game and the day:

– Did Wayne Rooney play? Oh yeah, I think I saw him touch the ball once or twice.

– Tim Howard was the difference-maker, but for me Steve Cherundolo was the man of the match.

– Johnny “D” makes a good point that we need to see more of Torres and less of Ricardo Clark. His possession and poise could be key.

– I LIKE South Korea A LOT. Perhaps even to win their group. Their speed could cause serious problems for the slow-footed Argentine back line.

And while the vuvuzelas were projecting their awful sounds in Rustenburg (note to self : get ear plugs for trip!), Milwaukee too was energized with soccer fever and national pride. The streets were teaming with soccer fans — you could barely drive through the East Side without seeing a long line of jerseys scurrying to the nearest big screen. There were reports of 100 people crowding the Transfer Café to view the match. Even though half of them were my family members, it’s still impressive! I also took the time to call my friend Mike Eitel, owner of the Nomad World Pub and he described the scene as “absolutely ridiculous…definitely the biggest day in Nomad history!”

For a soccer match?? How great is that?!

More surprising for me were the great lengths I had to go to so as not to learn the game outcome. My son’s graduation ceremony was at the same time as the game and I planned to watch the replay with him afterward. So it required driving to and from downtown avoiding the radio, Brady Street, North Avenue, phone calls, texts and any other communication. Almost thought I was sunk when we drove past the German Beer Hall on Old World 3rd and there were people lined out the door with the broadcast blaring into the street.

Who would’ve thunk it? In Milwaukee for the World Cup!

Categories: Life & Leisure, Sports

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