RECIFE, Brazil— So you’re a die-hard England fan who made his way to Brazil fully intent on enjoying a deep World Cup run because you had faith in your team, and apparently aren’t a big fan of history. Your team has already boarded the plane home and here you are, stuck in World Cup paradise, only you no longer have a team to root for.
We have just the solution for you.
Want a team that speaks your language? Check. Want a team with some players who play in the English Premier League? Check. Want a team playing an all-important match against a team you hate? Check.
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Yes lads, you’ve guessed it, it is time to start rooting for the United States.
I know it might sound like a nightmare scenario, but the reality is American soccer has so many English influences that it would only be right if we returned the favor by giving UK fans a team they can support, and one that can actually win matches at the World Cup.
In America, most of our announcers (and an inordinate number of our youth soccer coaches) have British accents, and many of our club supporters sing songs that sound just like the ones you hear back home. American fans can’t get enough of the English Premier League, and there’s a good chance you have probably spent some time vacationing in the States.
So why not put away the Three Lions and root for the Stars and Stripes?
After all, 238 years is probably long enough a period of time to get over the whole Revolutionary War thing, and there was the whole helping England out during World War II, so why not adopt a team that, in reality, is pretty easy to root for.
Want a player who can deliver goals even with a broken nose, and one who happened to hone his skills playing at Fulham and Tottenham? Then you’ll love wearing a Clint Dempsey jersey. Want a goalkeeper who can make big saves and avoid Robert Green-like blunders, who has also spent the past dozen years playing in the Northwest of England? Then maybe we can interest you in a Tim Howard jersey.
Want a team that actually gives its all and plays like a team rather than a collection of uninterested millionaires? Or a team that has made a habit of exceeding World Cup expectations rather than falling short of them?
If so, then there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t trade in your Steven Gerrard England jersey for a Michael Bradley USA jersey.
If that doesn’t convince you to trade in “God Save the Queen” for “The Star-Spangled Banner” then consider who the U.S. will play on Thursday. The Americans face Germany in a Group G finale that could see the Americans eliminate the Germans in the group stage. Do you really want the Germans to make another deep World Cup run, to remind you of how much better they are than you? Don’t you remember the 1990 World Cup and how painful it was to watch West Germany beat your Paul Gascgoine-led Three Lions in the semifinals in penalties?
Think about Gazza’s tears and how you felt when Chris Waddle missed that last penalty, and how much you hated the Germans that day. England isn’t around to exact that revenge, so why not root for the team that could end Germany’s World Cup early? And yes, I know U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann played on that West German team, but at least he didn’t score in that semifinal or take a penalty, right?
Let's face it, you aren't going to root for any of the other European teams, and you don't know that much about the other teams in the mix. Costa Rica is a compelling story, but after it ended England's World Cup with a 0-0 draw it's probably not easy to consider rooting for them. Colombia is fun to watch, as is Chile, but there's the whole language barrier. Same goes for Uruguay, and that's not even considering Luis Suarez's penchant for biting.
Sure, you could do what many other tourists have done and just buy a Brazil jersey and root for the home team, but it just might be fun to root for a team that speaks your language and sings songs that you can understand and learn. And above all, root for a team that has provided plenty of thrills at this World Cup, and just might provide some more.
Sing it with me old chap. ‘I Believe That We Will Win!’
See, it sounds good, even with a British accent.