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How Good is the USA?
WSJ.com, October 15th, 2013 1:05PM
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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014

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The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the U.S. men's national team, asking some well-known observers of soccer to opine about the team’s chances of doing well at next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

According toIan Darke, the veteran British commentator who calls games for the U.S. on ESPN, the Concacaf region is hardly the walk in the park that most Europeans believe it to be, but the fact that the U.S. has done well in World Cup qualifying shouldn’t lead fans to believe that the World Cup is coming to the States anytime soon. "Are the U.S. a top side among the elite in the world? No they are not," Darke says. "But this World Cup will be about whether the U.S. can look like they are significantly bridging the gap."

Warren Barton, a former England international and British commentator for Fox Sports, said that Europe noticed a cultural change when U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann dropped Landon Donovan after he decided to go on his sabbatical. "There's no divine right for the shirt anymore," Barton said. "That's a very European mentality."

Former England international Gary Mabutt adds: "Some of the teams in Concacaf haven't reached the higher standards, but these one-off games in soccer can be very tough." As for how far the USA can go next summer, Mabutt says, "Usually, what group you get drawn into decides whether you go through."

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5 comments
  1. cisco martinez
    commented on: October 15, 2013 at 5:20 p.m.
    The US national team like most teams that have made the World Cup has its ups and downs. 1990 and 1994 was a learning experience, 1998 was a major dissappointment, 2002 was historic, 2006 an upset, and 2010 left a lot to be desired. I think once the groups are established, it is more telling to look at their potential meeting in and out of group to determine their success.
  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: October 15, 2013 at 5:20 p.m.
    I loved the quote -"There's no divine right for the shirt any more". I am coonvinced that JK's long term impact will be felt more off the pitch than on -- more professional outlook on the part of players, more open selection of players, and more technical requirements for ALL positions.
  1. roger longman
    commented on: October 15, 2013 at 8:08 p.m.
    The US is a very good side. I am from England and, consider the US to be well worth their ranking at number 13, 2 places higher than England. The World Cup is a bit of a 'bag o' tell', in which some highly rated teams, will lose to those ranked below them. Having said that, England have just displayed a very decent showing, against a good Polish side.
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: October 15, 2013 at 8:50 p.m.
    Too hard to tell what the USMNT will do once they get to Brazil, but I would love for at least 1 CONCACAF team to make it through to the semis--that's how respect is earned. The goal for the region should be 2 teams in the quarters, preferably beating some of these more highly touted UEFA and CONMEBOL teams in the process.
  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: October 16, 2013 at 7:25 a.m.
    It's silly to use other sports as an analogy, as in the WSJ article. College football and basketball teams usually have the entire team available for every game over a long season. Have we even once seen a true starting XI?

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