What do Shaun Murray, Glenn Hoddle, Paul Gascoigne, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Luke Pike and now Jack Wilshere have in common? They were built up by the English media as being the next Pele or Diego Maradona. Can Wilshere play well against a few teams better than Wales before he is anointed as the next Messiah of English football?
The Welsh public, loyal British citizens roundly booed God Save the Queen, the national anthem of Great Britain and the English football team when it was played before Saturday’s game. The English fans flooded the radio call in shows to vent their moral indignation at the terrible slight committed by their Welsh cousins. The same English fans who routinely boo every national anthem, home and away and who have wreaked havoc everywhere the English national team has played. I guess the land of Shakespeare no longer does irony.
The fans in attendance at the game were a mixture of US fans, Argentina fans, neutral soccer fans and some there for the event, but all there to see the little maestro in the orange boots. Therefore, it was disappointing to hear some around me boo him, accuse him of being a diver, a cheater and demanding the American players to “get stuck into him.” Most of the comments were made by fans of a particular nationality. I guess they are still bitter that a previous denizen of Argentina’s #10 shirt sent them packing from the second Mexico World Cup.
The number of fans that were in Giants Stadium on Saturday night was very impressive by any professional sport standards. The fact that almost 80,000 attended a friendly soccer game has been missed by some in the US media who still cling to the notion that America does not like the sport. A black mark in particular to New York’s, WFAN radio station and Connecticut’s, Hartford Courant. According to them, the “sporting world” was watching the University of Connecticut beat the University of Arizona in basketball’s NCAA tournament and both gave scant coverage to the US game. The editors at both outlets continue to have their heads buried in the sand.
After the latest round of European Championship qualifiers the group leaders have a familiar look about them. France, Holland, Germany, Spain and Italy lead their respective groups. The new power base in European football looks very much like the old power base. Throw in the likes of Portugal, Russia, Greece, Croatia and the Czech Republic who should also qualify and the Euro 2012 finals will be very competitive.
Question of the week: What big name MLS player was signed on a huge contract to score goals, but does not score them in practice let alone in games?