Ever since the World Cup draw was released on Friday, American soccer fans have been salivating at the chance to nip the uppity English in Group C.
England, ranked ninth in FIFA’s world rankings, is home to arguably the world’s most competitive domestic league and boasts a bevy of top flight talent. But for a nation that hasn’t won a major competitive trophy since the 1966 World Cup, you’d think a little bit of humility would be nice.
Not the English. They think they’re the best and that there’s no way in hell the soccer-delinquent Americans can match up with The Three Lions.
Hey England: F You Buddy.
And in a seemingly innocuous attempt at one-upsmanship, the U.S. might have already beaten the English in South Africa before the first ball is even kicked in this summer’s World Cup.
Part of a successful World Cup trip is ensuring you have an ideal place to train during the (hopefully) five-week-long tournament. Having already competed in South Africa in last summer’s Confederations Cup, the U.S. delegation knows the lay of the land and the best spot to set up a base camp.
The Americans like the 82-room, five-star accommodations of the Royal Bafokeng sports complex, which is roughly 50 miles from Johannesburg, and the site of the U.S.’ World Cup opener versus England.
Funny thing, the Brits like the complex too.
England tried to secure the site for $1.63 million. However, England’s coach Fabio Capello visited the site a week ago, and while he loves the facility as a whole, he has concerns about the grass on the practice fields.
“Speaking in Cape Town on Friday, Capello said Bafokeng remained his No. 1 choice. He said: ‘The facility is fantastic but the pitches are not good, they are a problem. They say they are going to be all right, but they need some work.’”
A crappy field shouldn’t be a deterrent for the American contingent, many of whom play on the awful playing surfaces of MLS (namely Toronto, Houston and New York’s fields). And then there was the parking lot painted green the U.S. had to play on against Costa Rica in qualifying.
While the English dilly-dally, the Americans, in pure American fashion, are ready to pounce.
From English newspaper, The Mirror:
“And now we are in danger of being gazumped by the Yanks, who are also said to be keen on the venue.”
For those not in the know, to gazump someone is to refuse to formalize a property sale agreement at the last minute in order to accept a higher offer. So in actuality, the South Africans would be gazumping the British, not the U.S. Typical English, they invent the language, yet don’t know how to use it.
“Bafokeng spokesman Martin Bekker told The Mirror the base – which also offers valuable altitude training at 1,500m above seal level – was a ‘very attractive option’ to other nations in England’s group, especially the USA, for whom money is no object.”
Even in these harsh economic times, that actually might be true. U.S. Soccer actually does have some money. They spent $130 million on The Home Depot Center soccer complex and the federation is headquartered in a French Chateau-style mansion in Chicago. U.S. Soccer’s official Web site even boasts that the six-block area around the Prairie Avenue mansion used to be home to 20 millionaires.
Hooray for American opulence.
Though I’m not convinced that even if the Americans stay in the plush resort-like complex and the English stay in District 9, that the result on June 12 will be any different.
So I’ll take this little victory. Outspend baby, it’s the American way!