Comments Posted By World Cup - USA v. Czech Republic at The Politburo Diktat
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[...] Rick Moran: “They looked like our ‘98 squad out there.”  A painfully accurate comparison. Original, pre-game post:This is it, the most important match in U.S. soccer history. As national team coach Bruce Arena put it, “No more excuses.”A little history here. The Americans qualified for the World Cup in 1990, for the first time in decades, and were thrashed (coincidentally by Italy and Czechoslovakia). We hosted the tournament in 1994, went 1-1-1 in the group stage, and thus squeaked through to the second round, where Brazil unceremoniously dumped us. In 1998, we qualified for the World Cup in France, and were bounced with three losses, scoring exactly one goal. In 2002, we had a good tournament, upsetting Portugal in the opener, and going through with another 1-1-1 record. We knocked out Mexico in the second round, and lost to Germany in the quarters.The question for the United States today is “Are we a real soccer power, able to play with strong European teams, or are we merely big fish in the small North American pond, barely able to keep up with Mexico, and beating up on tiny Central American countries, except, of course, in their unfriendly home cities?” In the past four World Cups, we have faced European teams nine times and achieved just one tie and one win. No one expects the USA to overcome heavy favorites like Brazil, Germany, or Italy (although Italy tends to start poorly in the group phase and an upset is not impossible).But if we are a “serious soccer nation,” then we must get results at least against the second tier of European teams, like the Czech Republic. [...]

Comment Posted By World Cup - USA v. Czech Republic at The Politburo Diktat On 12.06.2006 @ 14:54

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