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Will the US deliver yet another soccer punch?

PANAJI: The coach described his own team as sheep ready to be slaughtered.

This was a bunch of hastily assembled part timers that passed off as the US football team at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. Their opponents in a group match were England – the inventors of the modern game who donned the mantle “Kings of Football” in the run-up to the event.

An imposing Record of 23 wins and three draws in 30 matches leading to the World Cup saw England a 3-1 bookmakers favourite before the match. The Americans with a goal record of 2-45 over seven huge losses were a pathetic 500-1. It’s now a bizarre piece of history that the “rag-tag” outfit that comprised school teachers, a hearse driver, postmen and dish washers among others, pulled off a 1-0 win over a side backed to go all the way in the World Cup and made nonsense of an English newspaper’s suggestion that the US should be given a three goal start in the match.

The goal scorer was one Joe Gaetjens, a Haitian, and one of three foreigners in the line-up who qualified to play on the basis of a commitment to become US citizens.

Almost 70 years after that “aberration” at the Estadio Independencia Belo Horizonte as die-hard English fans may have liked to call it, the teams meet again, this time half-way around the world, in an Under-17 World Cup quarterfinal at the Nehru Stadium at Fatorda in Goa on Saturday. There’ll be no postulation this time. If anything, the US could well start marginal favourites if momentum is a factor.

After all, England scraped past Japan in the round of 16 via the tiebreaker while the Americans surged into the last eight with a 5-0 rout over Paraguay, three of those goals coming from Tim Weah, son of the legendary Liberian George.

A lot has happened since that ambush on June 29, 1950.

The US are now major players in the world, ranked No. 27 on the Fifa charts and having featured in seven senior World Cups in a row (1990-2014) and 16 out of 17 U-17 World Cups, although failure to qualify for Russia 2018 has left the country’s football distraught.

And for the record, the US drew 1-1 with England in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the first meeting after the 1950 shocker.

The current US squad boasts of goalkeeper CJ dos Santos who plays for Portuguese giants Benfica, defender Sergino Dest who does duty for Ajax Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Josh Sargent who has assisted the US U-20 team at the World Cup in South Korea earlier this year. Much of US football’s growth accrues from the Major League Soccer where German legend Juergen Klinsmann, whose son Jonathan played in goal for the US at the U-20 World Cup, has been an influence.

Source : timesofindia



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Will the US deliver yet another soccer punch?

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