Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On Her Majesty's Royal Football Team

(Pat Burgwinkle)

Before Ben has a chance to post a celebratory "I'm glad England didn't qualify post", I feel I need to express my sympathy for English soccer fans.

I watched the game with two English friends of mine and to see them go through the ups and downs of that Croatia game made me both sad and jealous. Sad because I saw in their faces how much they wanted this team to qualify. These are people who genuinely care whether or not their national team wins. They cursed the Wembley crowd for not getting behind the team when they were down and they lived and died with each England push towards the goal.

I was jealous because I wish there was this kind of passion for the US national team. I know that it exists in a minority of Americans but there is something about a whole nation throwing their support and hope behind a team that I find extremely inspiring. Scotland was the best example of this in these Euro qualifiers but I saw the same the passion from England fans throughout the qualifying stages.

That having been said, England played like crap against Croatia and were not deserving of qualification or the support I witnessed throughout these Euro qualifiers from my friends and other England fans. Peter Crouch was the only England player who showed up at Wembley Wednesday night. The rest looked as though they didn't care whether they were in Austria-Switzerland next summer or on vacation. Honorable mention goes to David Beckham for setting up Crouch's goal. Maybe the MLS hasn't ruined his match fitness. I suppose we'll never know though, seeing as England will be scheduling friendlies next June.