Can Team USA go far in 2014 World Cup?

It’s been quite a run for the US national soccer team. The gang defeated Mexico in Columbus in September behind goals by Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan, giving them their seventh consecutive World Cup berth. Then the drama got even more interesting when the US team came from behind to defeat Panama, which then kept arch-rival Mexico’s World Cup chances alive. The result was a huge wave of gratitude in the Mexican press, while Mexico did their part with a dramatic bicycle kick for the winning goal against Costa Rica.

We’ll see if Mexico ends up joining the World Cup field as they’ll play in World Cup playoff round against New Zealand. But now we can start thinking about whether the United States can make a real run in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. We all know there will be a ton of live World Cup betting both leading up to and during the World Cup as this is still the most popular sport in the world. But when it comes to national teams, you have to acknowledge that a ton of the betting will be emotional. People bet with their hearts. That’s just the nature of things and it’s even more pronounced in this tournament.

Also, in the early rounds things can be very unpredictable. Even if the finals often see the traditional powers matching up, there are plenty of shocking results along the way.

Many US fans are pleasantly surprised with the recent developments, as the Jurgen Klinsmann era didn’t get off to a smooth start. But once the team got in a groove with Klinsmann’s approach, they proceeded to dominate their region. The question remains however as to how this team can respond to facing the world powers in the World Cup. Klinsmann has noted that the Brazil tournament will be packed with quality teams but that much will hing on the upcoming World Cup draw on December 6th. Will the US end up in a tough “Group of Death” or will they slide into one of the easier groups? Once that happens, real analysis can begin as to how this particular US can match up against the round one opponents.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Jersey kid Giuseppe Rossi makes Italian national team

ESPNsoccernet has a great profile of Giuseppe Rossi, a soccer player who grew up in New Jersey who landed a spot on Italy’s National Team for the 2010 World Cup. Many fans of USA soccer refer to him as “the one that got away,” since he would be a huge asset to the American team.

All that was left from a U.S. perspective was to wait and see how Rossi’s Italian dream played out. He didn’t make a single misstep. In the summer of 2007, Rossi was called in to play for Italy’s U21 team at the European championship. In the summer of 2008, he was called in to play for Italy in the Olympics and ended up the leading scorer in that under-23 competition. By October, it was official. Named to the senior Italian team for a World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria, Giuseppe Rossi became a member of the Azzurri. He would never be allowed to play for the USA.

Whatever people might say about his patriotism, Rossi’s achievement can’t be overstated. Not only is he one of only two players on the Italian squad who weren’t born in Italy, but by playing for Villarreal, in Spain’s La Liga, he’s also one of only two players who don’t earn their living with an Italian club. (That could change soon, as it’s hotly rumored that Rossi is headed back to Serie A this summer.) He has broken into one of the most exclusive clubs in sports, against very serious odds. “Rossi is a little champion,” Italy manager Marcello Lippi said last summer. “He can play with his left foot or right foot. He can play anywhere on the front line, the way Lionel Messi plays for Barcelona.”

High praise, to be sure. But while a spot for Rossi on Italy’s 23-man World Cup roster seems likely, there are no guarantees. Plus, with talented strikers like Antonio Di Natale and Alberto Gilardino ahead of him on Lippi’s depth chart, any minutes he sees in South Africa will likely come off the bench. That might not have been the case had he chosen a different, safer path. Even before the car accident that severely injured U.S. striker Charlie Davies, a forward of Rossi’s quality would have been getting serious minutes for the U.S. “He’s a talented young player,” says Bradley, choosing his words carefully so as not to disparage any of the strikers in his player pool. But Arena can be more blunt. “He’s certainly good enough to play for the U.S.,” says the former coach. “I don’t think there’s any question about that.”

When asked to recall the goal that made him the player American fans love to hate, Rossi gets flustered. He grew up admiring Derek Jeter, and like the Yankees captain, Rossi is a perfectly polite interview who loathes talking about himself. “It was great to score, of course, but if I could have picked any team in the world to score against, the United States would have been my last choice,” he says. “I root hard for America — against anyone but Italy.”

Hopefully he makes the final roster. It will be another cool storyline in what could be a great World Cup. Most Americans will be focused on the early match between Team USA and England, but Rossi may provide some more drama is he gets some playing time.


Michael Jackson, David Beckham, the USA Men’s Soccer Team. How are these things related?

Most people in America, and especially Los Angeles (thanks to bus advertisements everywhere), know that David Beckham plays for the LA Galaxy. The only problem is that he kinda doesn’t. With all his English national team World Cup qualifiers and his loan to AC Milan, his MLS season is about as long as a cocktail weenie.

After the tragic death of Michael Jackson last week, David Beckham’s future in American soccer has been called into question. How could these two seemingly unrelated things be related? Well, SPORTSbyBROOKS has all the answers. Due to spatial constraints, let me give you a quick summation: AEG is a corporation operating concert venues/events worldwide, including all those canceled comeback concerts in England with Michael Jackson. Davd Beckham has been a flop since arriving in America, his potential for igniting interest in soccer in America has fizzled. He is now a financial drain on his team.

And, of course, the owners of the Los Angeles Galaxy that could really use the cash on this year’s balance sheet to offset losses in other parts of the business… AEG.

On top of it all, the best thing that could happen to the popularity of U.S. soccer is happening today in South Africa as the U.S. men’s national team takes on Brazil for the chance to hoist their first international soccer cup in modern history. AEG didn’t need to invest in David Beckham to raise soccer’s profile in America; they needed to invest in U.S. Soccer. (Or better insurance.)

Hell yeah. Despite our loss to Brazil in the final today. I can’t agree more with Brooks’ sentiment that we should look to America for American soccer. While we don’t have nearly the farm system of the global soccer powerhouses like Spain and Brazil, the infrastructure is certainly there, as well as the ability. Remember when American ice hockey was laughable when compared to the USSR? Neither do I, being born in ’82 and all. But I saw the movie. Well hey, where did that go?

Having been a fan of American soccer since the ’96 (update: my bad, 94) World Cup here, I’ve never been able to talk much about it with other people. This past week, once I told them what had happened with Spain, I’ve never felt as much interest and enthusiasm for an upcoming soccer match as this morning. Keep it up America (and the LA Galaxy’s real hero, Landon Donovan) and good luck next month when we play our southern rivals, Mexico.

And as long as we’re on the subject of Michael Jackson and USA soccer, you gotta check out this memorial jersey.

South Africa’s World Cup ambiance: Bees!!! I mean the vuvuzela.

While watching the biggest game in U.S. soccer history during a Lions Club party at Far Bar (they never let me down because they always let me in) I couldn’t help but wonder what the strange background noise was throughout the broadcast. At first I thought the nice grandma next to me had fainted into her Wasabi Fries, but thanks to Martin Rogers at Yahoo! Sports I now know (psst…you can hear for yourself in Rogers’ article), and dread its upcoming World Cup preponderance:

If you’re still not familiar with the term, the vuvuzela is the instrument that provides that horrendous droning, foghorn-like sound that has assaulted eardrums as a constant accompaniment to coverage of the World Cup warmup event. And you haven’t heard the last of it.

The vuvuzela is seen as an integral part of the soccer-watching experience in South Africa and FIFA has already given the green light to its use in next year’s World Cup finals. That could mean a month’s worth of mind-numbing horn blowing as the musical backdrop to the greatest tournament in soccer.

Something clearly needs to be done — but without offending the South African people or interfering with their proud traditions.

Agreed. Goodness gracious, is this the sound I’m going to have to listen to for the 20-some games I’ll watch next summer? I know it’s a different culture over there and we always need to be respectful of the traditions of others, but oh man, it’s like playing a match in a bee hive. I hope the droves of new viewers in America of the next World Cup aren’t turned away from the sport when they hear it for 3 hours.

USA leads Spain 2-0 in the second half

This would be a huge upset if the U.S. men can pull out a win in this semifinal match in the Confederations Cup. Spain has won a record 35-straight matches.

The match is in the middle of the second half and is being broadcast on ESPN. You can also see the MatchCast here.

Update: USA won, 2-0, and will move on to the final. And a correction on the Spain streak — they hadn’t lost in 35-straight matches. There were a few ties during that run.

Related Posts