England and the United States have had a contentious relationship since the days when America was just a snot-nosed colony. Conflict between the two nations, which remain divided by a common language, has famously flared up at Bunker Hill, Massachusetts, in the suburbs of Washington D.C. during the War of 1812, and at Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Brazil? Oh, yes: at the 1950 World Cup, the U.S. Mens National Team -- many of them hailing from St. Louis -- defeated powerhouse England 1-nil. England failed to qualify for the knock-out stages, and America gained a cherished moral victory (never mind that the U.S. failed to qualify for another World Cup until 40 years later). And now the two sides meet again, at 1:30 p.m. our time today in South Africa. Lets be realistic about our chances: The American teams defense is suspect at best (Gooch is hurt, Bocanegra looked old during the qualifier against Mexico, Bornstein is Bornstein), coach Bob Bradley has not shown any ability to change tactics on the fly, and England has been playing vigorous, unified football under Fabio Capello. That said, England stinks in the heat, all the pressure is on them, and the ball is round -- meaning, you never know which way things will go. The USA vs. England match will be broadcast live on a nine-foot-by-fifteen-foot screen at Old Post Office Plaza (Ninth and Locust streets; www.downtownstl.org), with pre-game activities, food and drink and general merriment from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free, and no outside glass bottles or coolers are allowed. For more venues that are showing individual (or all -- looking at you, Amsterdam Tavern) matches, visit here.
Sat., June 12, 2010