Without being one of England’s historic sporting rivals like Scotland or Germany, it’s a bit strange that there were some Americans pleased with England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008.
No one doubts that the Americans and the English have a somewhat tenuous history, but as far as recent politics go, things have generally been going the American way.
Sporting rivals are fairly non-existent as the mainstream American sports aren’t even played that heavily outside of the good old 50. But that seems to have taken a turn in the last couple of years as soccer gains in popularity, and Americans seek to both gain England’s approval and also become better competitors.
Usually its America’s lack of history and tradition that makes up the bread and butter of England’s arguments as to why American soccer is always “just so bad.” While America clearly doesn’t have the history that England does, that isn’t always an impediment. Much of the England style of play and coaching seems to be in a slump deeply rooted in a history that they can’t shape for the future. Americans really don’t have that problem, (minus the whole NASL debacle and so far so good in terms of the MLS), which provides less of a struggle as nearly everything Americans do in soccer is innovative and worth a chance (at least to Americans). England’s history just doesn’t allow for that novelty which creates scrutiny for whatever they do, and makes the expectations, especially those of American fans, much higher.
Yank fans continually suffer from shots taken because of the MLS (a.k.a the Mickey Mouse league), which can get tiring and cause some resentment. Yes, England birthed the world’s game, but lately the England national team seemed to limp from one major competition to another. While some Americans may take slow pleasure in the suffering that has struck the big brother of American soccer, many yanks began to feel that England was overrated. England may have failed to qualify for Euro 2008, but that failure has also put an end to the moral hazards that were impeding their growth. Now England might be more able to live up to the esteem that American soccer fans hold England to, a certain standard that England have been disappointing.
Maybe Americans just feel satisfied that, for once, they’re not on the spot as the only nation with a troubled soccer program. Maybe they just feel spite that the mighty England giants have fallen. While England might not have to worry about America producing any truly dangerous competition for a few more years, England’s failure has given Americans a strange sense of hope for their own league and national program. Americans are used to being on top, and suffering under England’s superiority in soccer seems to finally given way to some genuine animosity towards the English game.
Never mind these are the same people that root for English league teams, because there, it isn’t the country but the club on the pitch. American fans will continue to justify their disdain for the national team, but continue being fans of the league, despite that most of the English players are current figureheads for EPL clubs. But since its pretty well decided that those figurehead players don’t play up to form for the national squad, (a theory that Americans have the English to thank) Americans probably won’t see any problem with that.